Written evidence submitted by [a member of the public]

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

Response to the Education Select Committee’s call for evidence regarding (Elective) Home Education

This document addresses the following points as requested by the call for evidence:

Our role: We [names and place] have been home-educating since [date].

Evidence regarding “the role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education”

Here we wish to present evidence for two points:

Inspections should be of minimal frequency

Inspection should be of minimal frequency (once per year is ample) as in our experience it can be very stressful for the child, as the following incident indicates.

In [date], our annual visit by a FLESS inspector proved to be very stressful for our [age] son, despite our efforts to keep these visits low-key for our children. Our son behaved very uncharacteristically, and even shouted at the FLESS inspector (see the facsimile of the report below, with the inspector’s comment highlighted). When we spoke to our son afterwards about his behaviour, he told us that he was worried the inspector was going to send him back to school, which he didn’t want. He felt that his work was being judged. This highlights the stress that inspections can cause to children, hence the frequency of inspections should be kept to a minimum to avoid unnecessary stress to the children.

[report redacted]

Inspections should be minimally prescriptive

We have noticed that inspector's reports over the past few years have moved from descriptive (describing the range and quality of the education we provide) to prescriptive (tick-box lists). If an increasingly prescriptive approach to inspection is taken (especially in regard to specific subjects that are required to be studied), this will stifle the happy learning environment that home education provides for children, where the child's education can be tailored to their needs and strengths.

Below is an excerpt of a descriptive report from [year], followed by an excerpt of a prescriptive report from [year].


[report redacted]

Evidence regarding “the benefits children gain from home education”

In our experience, we have seen our children flourishing (both in terms of happiness and in terms of academic progress) whilst home educated, in ways they did not flourish whilst at school.

Our elder daughter [name] would regularly cry at school. When she was in [school year], she was selected to participate in a remedial group for pupils who required extra help with spelling. She was not at that time an independent reader. After a short time of then being educated at home, [name] started to read stories to her younger brother. In addition, she now enjoyed her maths, she said, and explained to me how when she had been at school, she used to make up the maths answers in order not to be kept in at break time with the naughty pupils. (She didn’t want to appear to be a naughty pupil). [name] went on to become an avid reader. She obtained GCSEs in [subjects] both with a grade B, and a 4 in her [subject] GCSE. She studied [subjects] A levels, passing them with grades C, B, and C, respectively, in [year].

Evidence regarding whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’

The main point to make here is that the regulatory requirements for elective home educators is very different from the regulatory requirements of the other home-education scenarios mentioned. A clear distinction must be maintained between elective and non-elective home education, and the two should not in any way be lumped together in any home-education inspection policy. In the one case, the parents have specifically chosen to educate their children at home and thus are evidently well-motivated to do so well, since it was their initiative and choice to do this. The same cannot necessarily be supposed of cases where the children have ended up in home-education by default. It is vital for there to be separate policies for inspecting non-elective home educators and inspecting elective home educators.

For elective home-educators, the current regulatory framework is fully sufficient to ensure the efficiency of the education being provided. Whether greater regulation is needed in the non-elective scenarios is a wholly separate question that should be considered independently from elective home education.



[name and address]


November 2020