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Closed petition Do not impose any new requirements on parents who are home educating

The Education Committee has recently recommended introducing a statutory home educated register, and greater assessment of home educated children. These recommendations are in contrast to the views of many parents who home educate.

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Ministers have said they are committed to a registration system for children who are not in school, despite not having published responses to a 2019 consultation on children not in school.
We believe there is no evidential basis for increased requirements for home education, for registration, assessment or testing. If introduced, these recommendations could stigmatise and even destroy the very essence of home education: it is not school. We, the undersigned, call upon the Government not to introduce any such measures.

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 27 March 2023

Watch the petition 'Do not impose any new requirements on parents who are home educating' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 20 August 2021

The Government remains committed to a registration system for Children Not in School (CNIS). Further details will be set out in the Government’s upcoming response to its CNIS consultation.

Read the response in full

The Education Select Committee is a Parliamentary Committee, independent of Government and its recommendations are not Government policy. Government acknowledges the recently published House of Commons Education Committee report on ‘Strengthening Home Education’ (published on 26 July) and is currently considering its response to the Committee’s recommendations, which we will provide to the Committee in due course. The Department will always consider the views of stakeholders alongside a broad range of evidence when developing elective home education policy.

We fully support the right of parents to educate their children at home and most who do so educate their children very well, sometimes in challenging circumstances. However, while many home educated children will be receiving a very good education by dedicated parents, who deserve support, there will be others who are deemed to be ‘home educated’ but, in reality, most or entirely all of their education is through attendance at unsuitable settings, such as illegal unregistered independent schools. There is also likely to be a number of children for whom the education being provided is unsuitable, because their parents cannot educate them effectively at home or the child is simply not being educated.

With the interests of these vulnerable children in mind, we therefore in April 2019 launched a consultation on proposals to introduce local authority registers of children not attending registered independent or state-funded schools, and support for home-educating families (should they want it). This closed on 24 June 2019.

The Government’s intention with these proposals has always been to ensure that they do not impede those families who are genuinely, and through choice, educating their children at home. The consultation, unlike the Education Select Committee’s report, did not feature any proposals for local authorities to have explicit monitoring or inspection powers. With increasing numbers of children now being educated outside school there is, however, a greater need for local authorities to be able to identify these children, in order to assure themselves about the education being provided; and to offer support to those home educating parents that would like it.

We remain committed to a registration system for children not in school. A registration system will help local authorities undertake their existing duties, as well as help safeguard all children who are in scope. Further details on this, as well as on proposals for supporting home-educating families, will be in the Government’s response to the children not in school consultation, which we will publish in the coming months.

Department for Education

Government announces planned new education laws

As part of the Queen's Speech on Tuesday 10th May, the Government announced planned reforms to education, including for children being educated at home. These include plans to establish compulsory registers for children not in school, and placing a duty on local authorities to provide support to home-schooling families.

Read more about the Government's plans: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-to-announce-new-laws-to-level-up-education-opportunity-so-no-child-is-left-behind

The Government has said that its reforms will deliver a stronger, more highly performing education system. It says that establishing 'children not in school' registers will help ensure it can identify where children are not receiving a safe or suitable full-time education, as well as enabling support to be offered to interested parents of children who are not in school.

The Government is seeking to introduce a new set of laws - the Schools Bill - to implement these measures. You can find out more about this Bill, and other planned new laws announced in this year's Queen's Speech, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-2022-background-briefing-notes

What is the Queen's Speech?

The Queen's Speech is the speech that the Queen reads out in the House of Lords Chamber on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament. This year the speech was read by the Prince of Wales, on the Queen's behalf.

The speech is written by the Government and sets out the programme of Bills - new laws, and changes to existing laws - that the Government intends to put forward in this new Parliamentary session. A session of Parliament begins with the State Opening of Parliament and usually lasts around one year.

Once the Government puts forward a Bill in Parliament, Parliament then debates the Government's proposals and decides whether to adopt the changes to the law set out in the Bill.

Share your views on home education

The MPs on the Petitions Committee have scheduled a debate on two petitions about home education:

Nick Fletcher MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, has been asked to open the debate, which will take place on Monday 27 March.

Share your views

To inform the debate, we would like to hear from you about your experiences of and views on home education, including the Government's proposal for local authority administered registers for children not in school.

You can share your views with us by completing this survey: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSngs7KHh3DdJpRPAsLIc8jBUOEs5WEZZODFZREsxWkpZRFFVSFZGRzVINi4u&wdLOR=cAC33C19D-3406-4A74-A104-80B55973653D

The survey will close on Monday 13 March at 10am.

Your responses will be anonymous. A summary of responses will be published on the Parliament website. It will also be shared with MPs and may be referred to in the debate or within other parliamentary documents. Please don't share anything that may identify you.

Watch the debate

The debate will take place on Monday 27 March at 4.30pm.

What are petitions debates?

Petitions debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on changing indefinite leave to remain fees at the end of the debate.

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MPs debate home education

The Petitions Committee scheduled a debate in the House of Commons on the petition you signed. This took place on Monday 27 March 2023. A member of the Committee, Nick Fletcher MP, opened the debate.

Read a summary of what was said, watch the debate and access other relevant material:

Why are MPs debating home education?

The summary includes the results of a survey we ran ahead of the debate, to hear about the experiences of parents and guardians who home educate their children.

What are petitions debates?

Petitions debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on whether to introduce any new requirements relating to home education at the end of the debate.

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.