Home Education UK
Est. January 8th 2000
Welcome to Home Education UK
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Why Home Education
The right to home educate stems from the long standing right, and responsibility, of parents to determine the nature of the education of their own children. Without this responsibility children's education would become a state controlled monopoly in which a child's education would be subject to government policy.
We believe that the state has interests other than those of the child's and while many of those interests may be important and worthy of consideration, the final decision should remain with the child and family. We do not expect Doctors to make clinical decisions based upon the benefits each option has to society and neither should a child's future be a subject of government policy in that way.
If the state gains the power to grant or refuse parents the right to home educate their child, then the state would usurp an important parental responsibility.
We believe therefore that parents should retain the right to determine the nature and place of a child's education while the state should remain, as it now is, the parent of last resort, intervening only where it can show that the parents have violated the child's human right to a suitable education.
In 1834 the Lord Chancellor, Lord Brougham and Vaux, was asked "Do you consider that a compulsory education would be justified, either on principles of public utility or expediency?" to which he replied "I am decidedly of opinion that it is justifiable on neither; but, above all, I should regard anything of the kind as utterly destructive of the end it has in view. Suppose the people of England were taught to bear it, and to be forced to educate their children by means of penalties, education would be made absolutely hateful in their eyes, and would speedily cease to be endured. They who have argued in favour of such a scheme from the example of a military government, like that of Prussia, have betrayed, in my opinion, great ignorance of the nature of Englishmen." (Report of the Parliamentary Committee on the State of Education. 1834)
Link to Video of Joy Baker, home educating pioneer, dealing with a hostile interview in 1960 on the University of East Anglia Film Archive
The primacy of the family
This web site is a celebration of families as places of education and parenting. The law in the UK is quite clear, parents rightly remain responsible for the education of their offspring regardless of whether they are in school or out of it.
The state reserves the right to make enquiries should they have reason to believe that this responsibility is not being met and to offer an alternative educational environment to those who wish to use it.
Home Education - a human right
It is a basic understanding of this web site that young people are autonomous beings, owned neither by parents nor state. In law the right to an education is unique in that it is an obligatory right, it is a right that may neither be denied nor refused. Thus since a child does not have the right to refuse an education and there is no academic consensus on what constitutes an effective education, we believe that the state should remain flexible when defining what a 'suitable' education may look like.
Even though the law expresses the right to home educate as a parental right, it is my belief that in the same way that young people have the right to decide upon medical procedures; they should also have the right to be educated in a manner of their own choosing. This is not only right in principle but in practice too since intrinsically motivated learning will most readily "achieve that which it sets out to achieve". Ultimately, education cannot take place against a person's wishes.
Just how popular is it?
While there are no official figures on how many children are home educated in the UK my research suggests that there are around 80,000 (approximately 0.6%) UK children of compulsory educational age who are currently (2015) being home educated. This web site seeks to support those families and inform them of their legal rights and responsibilities.
If you want to know more start here with our FAQ