Memorandum submitted by Christina Anne Eastwood
· Introduction: area of expertise
· When comparing English home education regulations with those of
other countries the
· The report used the proportion of home educated children known to social services as a measure of child abuse. The correct measure would be the proportion of children at risk.
· The balance of the committee was unrepresentative with only one member having any experience of home education.
· The report does not address the issue of funding sufficiently.
have educated our own children at home. After home education our son
went to a local school for sixth form where he achieved good A level results
and he is now happy working in industry. My daughter never went to school at
all and is now starting her second year as an undergraduate reading maths at
2. Evidence from the
The report mentions home education in
Europe and also in
3. The measure of child abuse
Evidence from LEAs shows that incidence of child abuse in the home educating community is half that in the community in general. This report is therefore proposing a gross misdirection of scarce resources. The report used the proportion of home educated children known to Social Services as its criteria for measuring abuse which is claimed was disproportionately high in some authorities. This figure, however, includes children reported by Education Welfare Officers, children with special needs and many others who are not necessary at risk. The report should have used the proportion of children classified as being at risk.
4. The balance of the committee
On the committee of experts only Professor James Conroy had any expertise in the area of home education. As the report was about home education this seems surprising and has not made for a balanced report.
Recommendation 28 states that a costing of the reports proposals should be carried out within three months (i.e. by 11th September.) This has not happened and the report itself does not contain enough detail to ascertain whether its proposals are affordable. The only attempt so far at assessing what the reports proposals would cost has come from Home Education Advisory Service which suggests that if implemented as they stand the report's proposals would cost £500 million.
That the government, rather than proceeding on a costly course of action based on a report that has not looked at all the international evidence and which has used incorrect statistical measures, puts measures in place to enable all LEAs to act in accordance with the Elective Home Education Guidelines (November 2007) which were produced after wide and thorough consultation.