Home Education Inquiry (England) call for evidence

The UK government never seems to pay attention to the ‘evidence’ presented to them about the efficacy and validity of elective home education; indeed they haven’t even bothered to publish responses to their last attempt to undermine home education in England, which may have been too inconvenient to report. Moreover, updated guidance on home education was only published last April, following a consultation in 2018.  

But here we go again, aided and abetted by Westminster’s Education Committee. And once again (as with the ‘Children Not in School’ consultation) there seems to be an attempt to blur the legal boundary between elective home education (where parents assume full responsibility for their children’s compulsory education) and schooling-at-home (where children remain registered at schools to which parents have delegated responsibility).

Lockdown measures adopted by schools in response to the Covid-19 pandemic should in our view not be conflated with elective home education. As we have commented in previous posts, Lessons from lockdown: home schooling is not home education and More parents opt for home education post-lockdown, it is a recipe for confusion and misunderstanding.

No doubt the committee has been put up to it by the usual vested interests, allied rentseeking sorts and home-eduphobes who specialise in malicious falsehoods and smears rather than examining evidence and their own prejudices.

Disappointingly, the committee chair can’t even get the terminology right. Electively home educated children, who are being shoe-horned into this inquiry, are not ‘pupils’ by legal definition. Also, they are not necessarily ‘taught’ as home education (facilitating learning) does not equate to ‘home schooling’ (teaching). The latter term appears nowhere in education law or guidance in the UK and its usage is actively banned on some home education support groups including our own.

Covid-19 is just the latest excuse for ‘inquiring’ into how home educators can be ‘supported’ (preferably by compulsion), which is Newspeak for licensed, monitored and forced to replicate the failing school (warehousing) system. 

Where were the ‘support’ soundbites when thousands of home educated young people were denied access to exams as independent candidates and the system failed to include them in alternative assessment arrangements? In Ireland, one young man successfully challenged the “arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable and contrary to law” exclusion in court, but home educators in the UK were abandoned.

So it’s time to tell ’em (again!) to leave our kids alone, but we will frankly keel over if they pay the slightest bit of attention to real experts on home education.

England: Home Education Inquiry (closes 6 November 2020)



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