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.]


Dear Home Education Inquiry Team


I have just listened to Robert Halfon's interview on the today program and I am concerned by the negative view of home learning, introduced by Richard Watts' comments regarding the 'concerning number' of children 'missing out on' formal education.


Today, my [age] year old daughter 'missed out' on being hurried to school without finishing her book, to not be allowed to read the school library books she is interested in because they are above the reading level given by the computer. She 'missed out' on spending the majority of her day sat down indoors in a classroom of 30, all working on the same topics and lessons for set times with little time to play and none to explore her own interests.


This morning my daughter lay in bed reading for an hour before breakfast. Then we went to a local community garden project where she enjoyed learning about hedgehog habitats and we were shown how to plant roots and cuttings to bring home for our own garden. My daughter shared her vast knowledge of minibeasts with another family who showed us some seasonal vegetables they had planted. We learnt lots about plant anatomy, but more importantly, we connected with nature, and with each other. After, my daughter did some pokemon go, discovering some new landmarks in the area, then she played freely in the park with friends after they finished school. She compared pokemon stats with her big brother when we got home. I am very new to home educating my kids and I am sure there is room for improvement but....is she missing out?


Some alternative view points to those expressed on the today program would be that if over a million children are being home educated and 40 children a day are excluded, not to mention the many more needing support to access formal schooling, then current formal schooling is not meeting the needs of vast numbers of children….Schools, teachers and children are being set up to fail…. The current system is obsolete…. Homogenised, unquestioning minds will not meet the needs of the future workforce.


The sharp increase in home schooling in response to the current pandemic reflects the fact that it is parents who are primarily responsible for safeguarding their children and many of us are voting with our feet as our children are not being safeguarded by policy makers. Government enforced daily mass gatherings during this pandemic present a safeguarding catastrophe! Will the government be held accountable for the effects that bereavement, loss and long term disability will have on our children? Mass gatherings also do not encourage social support or socialisation and they are an outdated means of educating our children.


My own experience has been that my children have been denied access to remote lessons during the pandemic. And so I have had no choice but to look at alternatives. This has led me to question deeply the current system. As there are so many people in my position at the moment, the priority must be to look at ways of supporting alternatives to formal education, as a matter of urgency.

Support, as opposed to monitoring, should include ensuring access to outdoor resources where children can feel safe and free to learn with other children, based on their individual and collective interests. There is plenty of research to show that children learn and attain when the conditions are right, and that the emphasis on testing attainment has a negative effect on both children's attainment and their mental health.



The current priorities must be children's well-being. Not inspection regimes, the measurement of attainment levels or data. Children must not be inspected. Let children be free, and support parents who wish to home school to enable this.


Yours Sincerely




November 2020