Home Education Consultation Response

Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate?  Please let us know why you think that.

  • Yes

The same system that is in place for all children is sufficient. Social Services have powers they can use if there is suspicion of abuse.

Home educated children are not invisible, they are seen every day by neighbours, relatives, local shop keepers and other home educators. It is these people’s responsibility to raise concerns about any child, whether in school or not.

Do you think that home educated children are able to achieve the following five Every Child Matters outcomes? Please let us know why you think that.

2 a)

Be healthy

  • Yes

Home educated are as, if not more, likely to be healthy. They are likely to be more active, being able to move freely about, within their own homes and neighbourhoods, and parks, and not tied to a desk or classroom. Children are also able to choose the physical activities that suit them, rather than be forced to participate in activities that they don’t enjoy resulting in them avoiding physical activity.

Home education also means that children can go to the toilet, and eat or drink when they need to, rather than having to wait until some else says that they can.

Home educated children are also less subject to peer pressure, which supports them in making healthy choices.

Side note: Being healthy is not always achievable. We are all ill sometimes, and some people are going to be ill, because of genetic or environmental factors outside anyone’s control.

2 b)

Stay safe

  • Yes

Home educated children are in the care of the people that value and love them most, and who have chosen to take the route of home educating for their children’s benefit. This means that they are less vulnerable to abuse.

According to bullying UK – 70% of school children have been bullied, and half of these have been physically injured. Many children are home educated precisely because a home environment is safer than school – where they have been subjected to bullying and abuse.

One of my own reasons for home educating from the start, is that sending children to nursery and school before they are ready to make a natural break from their parents, destroys a child’s sense of security and destabilises family life.

Side note: We all need to take risks in life, being safe is not necessarily a desirable outcome – The new guidance promoting adventurous and challenging play experiences keeping children safe reflects this. Sometimes we take risks and get hurt, or make wrong decisions, but that is integral to living and learning.

2 c)

Enjoy and achieve

  • Yes

Home educated children get to learn in a more enjoyable, natural way. Each child and family approaches it differently and home education allows for that. If personalities involved need structure, then structure can be provided, and at the other end of the spectrum completely unstructured, autonomous learning can only be done in an environment where the child decides how and when to learn.

Children are not labelled as failures, as in school, if they are not ready to learn to read and write at a certain time, or learn in a certain way. They are not monitored and tested – which in itself labels children as failures, or less good at certain subjects. Lack of testing makes home educated children more likely to try new things without fear of failure holding them back. They are also not subject to peer pressure telling them that learning and being interested is uncool. This means that they carry with them an attitude and skills that enable them to enjoy and achieve throughout their lives.

Research suggests that informal learning is highly efficient and home educated children tend to be several years ahead of school children academically. They are also able to achieve much more outside artificially set academic straight jacket. They are free to spend time and enjoy academic learning, creative outlets, crafts, sports, music, cooking, gardening, social activities etc that are highly constrained in a school setting, but which give life long enjoyment. They can learn outside subject silos and so be more creative and original in their learning outcomes.

Side note: Every Child Matters covers this area particularly poorly, being focused on a outcomes that have nothing to do with a child enjoying life and achieving what they want. It is focused on the state’s ideas of achievement, which are in themselves limiting and likely to undermine enjoyment and achievement. This area in particular shows very poor understanding of human behaviour, child development, and how learning actually happens. All the target and indicators in this area of Every Child Matters are completely irrelevant, and are potentially damaging in themselves. How about instead of be ready for school – attend school if and when ready.

2 d)

Make a positive contribution.

  • Yes

Home educated children are far more able to make their own decisions, because they are not constrained by the limitations of a school setting.

They are actively participating in their community and environment from the day they are born or start home educating. They tend to know a wider range of children – of all ages, from their own neighbourhood and from the home educating community. They also meet more adults, and a wider variety of adults from day to day, rather than seeing the same teacher and children day in and day out.

Home educated children also learn social skills in a more positive way, originally under the guidance of a parent who understands them and can help them relate to other children.

As they get older they have far more opportunity to run groups and actively participate in their own communities, because they are not tied to a school building and organised by other people.

Side note: The problem here is who defines positive contribution, and to what. We all have different views on what is right and how to go about it.

2 e)

achieve economic well-being

  • Yes

Home educated children can move on further education, employment, training etc. They are self-motivated, and have a life long love of learning and achieving, often with greater practical skills because they have not been limited by school timetabling and other people’s ideas of what they should be learning.

Home educated children are at a financial disadvantage because home education usually requires a parent to be at home full time. For many this is indeed an issue, particularly in light of the proposed changes to benefits for lone parents.

Home educated people’s communities are more sustainable, their family and community bonds are maintained, and haven’t been broken down by years in a arbitrary, single age group community.


Do you think that Government and local authorities have an obligation to ensure that all children in this country are able to achieve the five outcomes?  If you answered yes, how do you think Government should ensure this?.

  • No

The Government has chosen to promote these aims for children in their own work. They are not a checklist, and were never intended to be as made clear in section 10 the Children Act 2004 "promote co-operation in order to promote the five ambitions". Apart from anything else it is not possible to ensure every child achieves all these outcomes because of their very nature.

These are one set of possible objectives. Other objectives may be just as important, but will become sidelined if too much narrow emphasis is placed on these. One of the reasons I home educate is so that my children are able to determine their own outcomes, and meet them in their own way.

However well intentioned the overarching aims are, they are limited by unreasonable targets and indicators. The emphasis on one narrow set of criteria, particularly for achievement makes damaging assumptions. Educational targets are by their very nature damaging. Whether my child reads at 4 or 14, or gains particular qualifications at particular times, or not, is not important, what is important is that they are allowed to get on with living happy and fulfilled lives.


Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be?  If you answered no, why do you think that?

  • Not Sure

NO – I am home educating my children, not the local authority. The legal situation as right as it is.

Many people home educate precisely because the Local Authorities have failed to support them and their children in a school situation. It is wrong to allow officials who are part of the system that has for many families caused the problems in the first place to continue to intimidate and cause stress, however good their intentions.

YES – There are a number of changes needed to the way LAs operate at present.

Local Authorities generally offer no support for home educators.

All LA personnel in potential contact with home educators must understand the law, and abide by it. They need to understand that parents have responsibility, not them.

All LA personnel dealing with home education must be trained appropriately. Home Educators across the range from school-at-home to autonomous, should ALWAYS be involved in the training, appointment and annual review processes of LA staff with responsibilities relating to Home Education. They must have a good grounding in educational theory and have first hand experience of education outside the state system, including autonomous education. They must accept forms of evidence such as educational philosophies and only make visits if requested by home educators themselves.

Any support MUST come without strings, and all approaches to education must be given equal validity. Local Authorities should make all parents aware of the option of home educating, and help home educators access any parts of the state system that they WANT to, whether it be a free bus pass, exam centres, a room to meet in or through flexible schooling and resource sharing.

Once Local Authorities accept that home educators are not their responsibility, relations between the two may start to improve. LAs have a long way to go before many home educators will be prepared to have dealings.


Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be?  If you answered no, why do you think that?

  • Not Sure

NO – there is no current system of MONITORING, and this is a GOOD thing.

YES – LAs need to know that monitoring home education is not within their remit, and stop undermining the relationship between state and home educators.

You can’t monitor learning. It goes on inside a person’s head and so is unquantifiable.

As such the only person who can monitor learning is the person doing the learning. As a parent I can provide resources, encourage interest and help in many ways but the learning is my child’s.

It is my responsibility to help my child get an education, suitable to his age, ability and aptitude. Home education is personalised learning. It will never be the same for two different children, because we are all different people with different ages, abilities and aptitudes.

This is why a system with a national curriculum, learning objectives, targets, assessments etc can only fail to provide a suitable education for children. It may be able to deliver a good enough education, but never really suitable.

Local authorities have no understanding in education outside a national curriculum based school setting. With such personalised learning, it can be said that there is no one other than the child qualified to monitor it. The narrow focus of state education means that the Government and Local Authorities don’t have experience or understanding of other educational approaches, be it other curriculums such as Steiner, or autonomous education.

A system that says children must learn to read at such a young age, is highly damaging to many, because the suitable age to learn varies immensely – from 4 to 14.

What I would like is for local authorities to understand the law on home education, offer real support where it is required, and otherwise to leave home educating parents alone to get on with raising and educating our children, as is *our* duty under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

The question itself shows a failure to understand learning, and as such I would not accept the person asking it as being qualified in any way to have an input into the educational provision for my children. This is one of the fundamental reason for the poor relationships between LAs and home educators.


Some people have expressed concern that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude or other forms of child neglect. What do you think Government should do to ensure this does not happen?


Existing legislation is sufficient – just use it.

Don’t make child protection any more difficult by wasting time and resources on home educating families where there are no concerns, when there isn’t the time and resources to deal with children at risk. More children will end up hurt.

It is more important to improve the functioning and reputation of child protection, so that neighbours and family feel more able to report concerns about any child.

Home education doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Our children, being out of school during school hours are highly visible. We have family, neighbours and friends like everyone else, and it is these people’s responsibility, as with all children, to act if they have concerns.