HOME EDUCATION CONSULTATION CLOSES NEXT MONDAY 2ND JULY
The Government has been holding a ‘call for evidence on home education’ – the consultation closes at 11.59pm on Monday 2nd July. The Government appears to favour introducing a mandatory register for parents who home educate.
This may sound reasonable but it undermines an incredibly important principle in English law – parents, not the state, are ultimately responsible for educating their children.
If a register were introduced it would effectively become a licensing scheme, where parents have to get permission from the state to home educate their children.
This is an important matter for all parents and for everyone who wants to protect the role of parents in our society. For many parents there could be certain circumstances where they might want to take their child out of school and educate them at home, at least on a temporary basis. It might be that a school has failed to tackle bullying or when a child develops a particular medical condition. Increasingly, it might be that what is happening during the school day is undermining the values of the home.
At the moment, the decision to educate at home is up to the parents. If a register were introduced this fundamental principle would be at risk.
Our current law is consistent with the principle that parents have the ultimate responsibility for raising children. Alongside this, the Government already has powers to take action if there is mistreatment, including where children are not actually being educated. But the new guidance threatens parental freedom and responsibility.
As parents, we may come to different conclusions about how to educate our children. Most parents choose the maintained/government-funded schools; some opt for an independent school, and a growing number of parents are now choosing home education. Parents are currently free to make this choice. We want it to stay that way. So we must act now!
Below, you will find information on how to make a submission to the Consultation.
Please respond by the end of Monday 2nd July.
Help ensure that the primary role of parents is protected!
Respond to the Consultation
As with most government consultations, the call for evidence form is long and seems quite daunting.
The first seven questions of the online form are about you and very quick to answer. These are optional. You do not have to provide personal information.
*** If you do not feel able to complete the entire form, you could just:
- answer one question – Question 26: “Are there any other comments you wish to make…?
- answer 3 questions – Question 8, Question 11, Question 26
- Go to the bottom of this page for important responses you could make
- Also go to this link for additional help with Question 26
Alternatively, if you are aiming to respond to most questions, there are some helpful guides available to help you formulate your answers:
- Your progress on the online form can be saved, so you do not have to fill out the form in one sitting.
- You can submit your response anonymously if you do not wish to be identified.
Go to the online response form now and begin your submission.
* Click here to get started: Government Consultation
We are grateful to a number of organisations whose wording we have adapted for this article, including HEByte and The European Academy of Christian Homeschooling (TEACH).
Information to help with Questions 8, 11 and 26
When making your responses online, please use your own words to write a sentence that expresses just one or two thoughts.
8. How effective are the current voluntary registration schemes run by some local authorities? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory registration of children educated at home, with duties on both local authorities and parents in this regard?
Please note – You can ignore the first part of this question unless you feel able to respond from your own experience.
The possible responses, below, address the idea of all parents having to register when they want to home educate their children
- a mandatory register would give the state unwarranted power over parents. Why should parents need to register with the state to teach their own children?
- there is no evidence that a mandatory register is necessary or would be effective.
- a mandatory register would be a worrying sign of increasing state interference in family life.
- the kind of parents the Government is concerned about wouldn’t register anyway.
- administering a mandatory register would be a waste of local authorities’ already limited resources.
- mandatory registration will just be the first step towards regulation and monitoring, which would be even more intrusive.
11. Would the sanction of issuing a school attendance order for parental non-compliance with registration be effective, or is there another sanction which would be more useful?
- Registration should not be mandatory, so there should be no sanction.
26. Are there any other comments you wish to make relating to the effectiveness of current arrangements for elective home education and potential changes?
- parents are responsible for the education of their children. Teachers in a state school are educating on behalf of parents, not the state.
- you could say that you are concerned home education gets wrongly associated with child abuse. Child abuse is a separate issue which authorities already have wide powers to deal with; it is not related to home education. In fact many parents home educate to protect their children from the abuse of bullying at school.
- some parents have to remove their children from state schools because, for example, they have special needs which are not being properly addressed or because they have been bullied. Registration with the same local authority which failed their child in school is the last thing they want.
- local authorities already have substantial power to intervene where they suspect home education is failing.
- parents are not accountable to the state for how they raise their children.
- the call for evidence admits that there is no evidence that home education increases risk of radicalisation.
- home education is being unfairly linked with unregistered or illegal schools, which are separate matters.