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The many voices of home education: will they be heard?

Education Otherwise is proud to stand by others, so that the many voices of home education can be heard.


This open letter is written in direct response to the shocking Radio 4’s Today programme interview on Monday 16th November 2020 in respect of the consultation on home education.


The clear bias exhibited by the Chairperson compounded by the grossly inaccurate statistics conveyed and the unrepresentative selection of oral witnesses collectively mean that from the outset the inquiry is flawed.


It is known that the inquiry received approximately 1,100 responses, by far the majority of which were from home educating families and organisations. Putting this in context, this is almost twice the number of responses received for the Covid-19 inquiry and many times greater than the average normally received for an inquiry. Despite this, the committee chose to listen only to two individuals with no experience and knowledge of home education, one individual with absolutely no association with home education, and a fourth person who was only able to offer a minority perception of a formal approach to home education. This highly skewed sample can only be viewed as an attempt at underpinning an extremely discriminatory and self-facing inquiry.


This situation has been compounded by the Radio 4’s Today programme interview. Shockingly, the Local Government Association (LGA) representative expressly used the number of children from all categories missing ‘formal education’ as the number of home educated children; stating that the number could be in excess of one million. Not only is the data wrong but the association of ‘missing formal education’ and home education is misleading in the extreme.


Further, and perhaps more shocking, even before the inquiry Halfon MP, chair of the Education Select Committee, supported the LGA and pre-emptively threw his personal support behind registration, assessment, inspection and in-house monitoring of home educating families; demonstratively clear, unequivocal bias.


Corrective actions are needed:


  • The largest and most representative home education groups such as the charity Education Otherwise (EO) should be invited to give evidence;


  • the LGA and inquiry chairperson should retract the inaccurate data;


  • the committee should give full and proper consideration to all of the evidence before it and


  • the Chairperson should ensure that the finding properly reflects the evidence and not personal views.



Elective Home Education Alliance 2020 #FairHearing4HomeEd


Contact email: [email protected]

Signed on behalf of:

  1. Education Otherwise Association (E.O.)
  2. Centre for Personalised Education (C.P.E.)
  3. Wendy Charles-Warner, MSc (Psych), LLM, Member of Expert Witness panel for Covid (home education), independent academic researcher, owner/administrator of advisory services for home educating families.
  4. Alison Sauer, owner/administrator of advisory service for home educating families, special educational needs and child protection family advocate, elective home education campaigner, and former home educator.
  5. Dr Fe Mukwamba Sendall, MA (Social Work), lecturer Lancaster University, Chair Education Otherwise.
  1. Mike Wood, founder of home-education.org.uk, chair of C.P.E, home education activist and former home educator, owner of Educational Heretics Press.
  2. Dr Paula Rothermel, Educational Psychologist, expert witness, former home educator, and home education researcher.
  3. Chloë Newby, BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics, previously home educated child (see Badman inquiry 2009).
  4. Beth Bodycote, founder Not Fine In School, PhD researcher in school attendance difficulties.
  5. Fadoua Govaerts, PhD researcher on Home Education,  home educator.
  6. Dr Harriet Pattison, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood, Liverpool Hope University.
  7. Rose Arnold, founder of Suitable Education.
  8. Juliet English, director at Streams Education (formerly Home Education and Advocacy Hub).
  9. Joy Cranham, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Education, University of Bath.
  10. Dr Rachel Sara Lewis, Leeds Home Education group Admin, Diversity Advocate.
  11. Alison Widdup, home educating parent, qualified teacher
  12. Joanna Merrett BA (Hons) EYPS, home education consultant early years specialist, Ofsted rated outstanding, a researcher at Centre for Social Mobility at University of Exeter.
  13. Nicola Price BA (Hons) Geography PGCE Secondary Education.
  14. Helena Wilson BA (Hons), BSc Hons, MCSP, home education campaigner.
  15. David Hough, administrator of advisory service for home educators, elective home education campaigner, and former home educator.
  16. Dr Amber Fensham-Smith, lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies, Open University (EHE Researcher since 2012)
  17. Carol Dyer BA(Ed)(Hons), administrator of advisory service for home educators, trustee Education Otherwise, home educator and home education campaigner.
  18. Randall Hardy, elective home education campaigner, and former home educator.
  19. Bekkie Graham, home educator, currently completing an MA in photography with a research project on alternative education.
  20. Ann Charles, home education campaigner, home educated as a child – never went to school.
  21. Sean McDougall, elective home education campaigner, and home educator.



22nd November 2020

With gratitude to photographer, Paula Chapman