BBC ‘Home Educators are angry at review’

Hi, I am Mel Crabb, I work for Eteach but I am also a mum of four teenagers / twenty-somethings. Having been through the school system as a parent and as a Governor I found the story reported by the BBC ‘Home Educators are angry at review’ ( somewhat frustrating. The story is in regard to the proposed review by the Government of how local authorities can make sure all children educated outside school receive the education they need and are secure and healthy.

Whilst I can understand the implied terms of this statement, i.e. they are not being educated and are not being well looked after, I find the anger expressed by Education Otherwise, the charity representing home educators as somewhat small-minded. The charity’s own website ( ) states two of their aims as:

• ‘reaffirm that parents have primary responsibility for their children’s education and that they have the right to exercise this responsibility by educating them out of school;

• establish the primary right of children to have full consideration given to their wishes and feelings about their education’

Perhaps it’s me but these indicate that the charity also want the same things the Government and indeed, society does – well-educated, happy and nurtured children. Whether they obtain this through schools or home education is irrelevant, the needs and future prospects of the child should come first. Future prospects include health and well-being but are, in no small part, related to the career which stretches ahead of them in whatever they choose to do. It therefore puzzles me when their ‘About HE’ page states ‘it is possible for exams to be taken if you wish’!

Whilst all the targeting and Ofsted focus on GCSE results and the pressures it puts on fully qualified teachers who are trained to educate others is cumbersome and sometimes over the top, what other measure is there to determine the success of the Home Education system compared to that of mainstream schooling. Happiness, parental responsibility and feelings all have a very big place in life but so does providing for yourself and any future family. How else do prospective employers ascertain the suitability of a candidate? Exams and qualifications should not be the be all and end all but they certainly give an indication not only of ability but also of effort and reliability. Many children struggle with exams but those who attend school regularly and try their very best tend to attain some qualifications – or am I being a dinosaur, let me know if you think I am!

6 thoughts on “BBC ‘Home Educators are angry at review’

  1. You say that GCSEs “should not be the be all and end all”. This is why home educators do not necessarily use them. There is much more information on the URL below but some home educators use the OU, some do only as many GCSEs at home as they need (usually 5) to get into college, some take up apprenticeships and others get into college or university on the strength of an interview and evidence of other things they have done. Not having GCSEs is not an indication that someone is uneducated. In fact, many employers and universities do not think that they “give an indication not only of ability but also of effort and reliability”.

    Not focussing on a school-mandated list of GCSEs allows home-educated young people to concentrate on the things they are interested in and on becoming rounded adults.

  2. As someone who was home educated, with no qualifications, I have never had problems finding work. I worked all the way up to retail area management. The only thing that prevented me progressing was being medically unfit to drive!
    I now home educate my own children while running a one-person busuness.
    Maybe if the abuse and bullying in schools, the continual testing and pressure and a huge improvement in standards of teaching took place. Less of us would take the step to educate at home. We do not all want our children to be clone zombies working for UKplc!

  3. Many Home Educated children are offered unconditional university places without even a gcse to their name. So yes, a dinosaur 😉

  4. Home-educators are angry firstly because this is the fourth home-education consultation in three years and secondly because the stated reason for the review is Baroness Morgan’s unsubstantiated accusation that “home-education could be used as a cover for abuse”.

    Were there any evidence that this latter were the case, one might consider it worthwhile. But there is none – not even anecdotal. On the contrary, many of us have withdrawn our children from school precisely to protect them from the abuse they experience there in the form of various types of bullying (I speak from personal experience as mother to a child who was physically attacked every day by a group of older children during his reception year at school whilst the teachers presumably either turned a blind eye or were too busy to cope).

    To target this disgusting and unsubstantiated accusation of abuse at our home-education community therefore has a nasty smell of prejudice, discrimination, and persecution which I cannot imagine any other minority group tolerating.

    Try substituting “black”, “Moslem”, or “gay” into the allegation and you will see how unacceptable it is.

  5. When I trained as a teacher in the 1990s, people *did* know other ways to judge education besides OFSTED tickboxes and Excel files listing GCSE results. Teachers have been benumbed by years if this nonsense, so that you can’t see the wood for the little little trees. How sad that teachers have so capitulated to the tickbox mentality that anything else seems not only unreasonable, but impossible.

    I am happy to keep our children unmolested by the Big Brother style of 21st-Century schools –and learning in the community


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