We must never forget the rights of the child in home education

My Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill will have its committee stage on the floor of the House next Friday 27th April. The core purpose of the bill is to create a register of children receiving elective home education and for the local authority to be able to assess the child’s educational achievement. Lord Solely write in Politics Home.

There are many reasons that parents home educate. Often it is a conscious and well thought out decision by parents and many of them do it extremely well and only light touch regulation is required. The local authority will be required to carry out an annual assessment of the child’s progress.

I am not and have never been opposed to home education. I think it is an important right for parents who choose to do it. But there are problem areas that need to be addressed and we must never forget the rights of the child.

Recent evidence suggests some children are being pushed into home educating because the school cannot cope with their underachievement or problematic behaviour. Others because they have special educational needs which the local authority have not properly addressed.

There are also a significant number of cases where the parents want to home educate but are having difficulties providing the child with a sufficient educational experience and sometimes return the child to school, which is disruptive for child and school alike. I have put down an amendment which will require the local authority to provide advice and information to such parents so that they can access other resources for the child.

I also believe society has a right and a duty to ensure a child is receiving the essentials of a good education – to be literate, numerate and able to write. There are obvious differences in skill levels for children, especially those with special educational needs. But I see no reason why regulations and assessment should not recognise different educational philosophies, as long as the child completes their education and is able to cope with the demands of modern society.

I have received a number of letters from people who were home educated, who say, ‘My parents meant well but I just find it too difficult to get a job or deal with my shyness because the education they gave me was too restrictive’. They are, understandably, reluctant to talk about their difficulties in public. That is one of the reasons I would like to see some serious research carried out into the possibilities and problems of home education.

Read the full article We must never forget the rights of the child in home education

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Learning, Local authorities and Parenting.


  1. R

    I was painfully shy when I left school, and remained painfully shy all through sixth form, college, professional training…! I’m still shy 30 years later! Schools are noisy, confusing, even frightening for some so a lot of parents end up in home education because they have been looking for more appropriate options for their more sensitive children. Lack of support, bullying, inflexibility are all good reasons to look askance at state provision (exacerbated by funding cuts and ideological policies that have been introduced since 2010). Shyness is quite likely to be the reason their parents opted to home educate in the first place.

  2. Jules

    Wow, for a moment there I thought you were using that info-graphic to high-light one of the many things wrong with our schools!

    I am an introvert and lack confidence when dealing with people and I can say without a doubt that school made the situation worse. It is only as an adult that I’ve learned effective co-oping mechanisms.

    Generally, local authorities are awful at providing support or useful information for home educating families. If local authorities really want to help, the best thing they can do is signpost new home educators towards existing parent networks, where they will usually find a thriving community, full of educational activities, social opportunities and spot on advice about all aspects of home education.

  3. Emma

    I thought that was a quote from a school child!
    I am an introvert and attended school until 16. I was bullied and the schools refused to do anything about it. I became more withdrawn and introverted and when I left school at 16 I had NO social skills at all!!
    I know I am not alone in this fact.

    Maybe whilst you focus on the rights of the home educated child you should also be focusing on the rights of the school educated child! Children’s mental health problems are on the rise, suicide in children is increasing because of pressures placed on children in schools and because of bullying!

    ALL children should have rights and if children are being sent to school you should be protecting their health, wellbeing and safety as well!

  4. Louise

    You really should be looking at why people are choosing to take children out of schools and perhaps look into the ridiculously outdated school system, the stress being placed on pupils with constant testing, the fact that the government is having to offer more money to people to get them into teaching as the already qualified teachers are so desperate to get out of it. Parents know what their children need and the majority of home educators are doing a better job of providing education and support to their children than any school can. Perhaps you’re expecting us all to give up home ed. Does the government have the amount of money available to fund school places for every home ed child to go back into the system? How are you planning to fund the extra monitoring we would receive when you are cutting school budgets constantly? We save the government a fortune and receive no funding for what we do. Please do try to speak to home educators rather than making assumptions if you’re looking at this from a safeguarding position then you need to turn your attention to the complete lack of safeguarding within schools.

  5. Mel

    Absolutely right all children have the right to a good education,so I assume you will address the schools that are seriously lacking in particular at protecting the mental health of children before you start pointing fingers at home educators.

    Can all the children failed by school start suing the state for failing them? Sounds like that should be an option.

    Schools look at children as numbers not individuals. You state how children are unseen and at risk of potential harm, yet there have been many teacher abuse there powers and they are very much in sight.

    Some children are naturally shy anyway. Some do not want to be in a class of 30, yet you consider this to be okay. There is no evidence that home education makes a child any more of an introvert than school.

    When you address the UK’s education system I’ll be willing to listen, but you are way beyond being able to do that. We could voice many one liners that you post here to get the public on side ‘I was pressured at school so I tried to take my own life’ ‘I was radicalised through school peers’ ‘ I left school with no GCSE ‘s’ ‘My teacher abused me’ these are all stories you hear and in fact 3 of these happened to people I know and in fact my young nephew was 10 when he tried to take his own life, but let’s not talk about that because that never happens in schools does it 😤

  6. Anna-marie Barker

    What a shockingly poor headline to accompany a shockingly poor bill – quote facts, tell us where you got the information from, tell us the numbers of home educated children that are trafficked/abused/don’t get jobs, then tell us the number of school children in the same position. Tell us why privately educated children, children signed up to expensive online schools or even academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum but you are insisting that HE parents do? Tell us your concerns backed by numbers, tell us where these numbers come from. Start using facts and figures, not sound bites and hearsay to change peoples lives.
    One Angry Mother
    P.s – your time would be better spent sorting out the state education system rather than changing the law on HE. Small classes and tailor made education shouldn’t only available to the well off.

  7. Anonymous

    You say a number of people have written to you but you never say what the number is. I’d be interested to hear please?

  8. JenniB

    You received ‘a number of comments’ does not sound like a reliable or verifiable piece of information. Nor does it seem likely that ‘a number’ of people all said exactly the same thing which is what you imply by using speech marks. But most importantly, it’s probably worth hearing in mind that shyness is not a personality trait restricted to those who are home educated – I believe it is fairly pervasive in our society.

  9. Janine Payne

    I sincerely hope your campaign for the rights of a child is going to include every child in school being asked whether they want to be there before you start talking to home ed kids, who are generally thrilled to be educated outside of the oppressive, stressful, damaging place the education system in our country has become Please consider the rights of the poor children in school with no escape. The parents of home ed children listen to their children so don’t worry, their rights are covered!

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