British MPs have called for a register for home-educated children. Private tutoring expert and CEO of Tutors International, Adam Caller, comments on the proposal.
Mr Caller supports the introduction of a register for the sake of safety and educational standards, providing it retains the benefits of individualised home tuition.
A Register for Home-Educated Children
OXFORD, UK: On 26 July 2021, UK Parliament published their inquiry report on Elective Home Education (EHE). It concluded that in order to strengthen home education, “it is reasonable that local authorities have the ability to assess the suitability of education.” A part of this assessment would be a register for home-educated children. A register for home-educated children is intended to ensure educational standards are met and to garner a greater understanding of the nature of the homeschooling sector, owing to the astonishing lack of homeschooling data. The significant rise of homeschooling in recent years – which has been exacerbated by Coronavirus-induced home education – has brought the regulation of homeschooling to the forefront of socio-political conversation.
Adam Caller Pre-Empted the Call to Action
Adam Caller is the Founder of elite private home tutoring company, Tutors International. He is also an independent education consultant, a former teacher, and an expert in private tuition. Mr Caller's expertise and foresight have meant that he has initiated discussions around founding a register for home-educated children well before this recent call to action by MPs.
In a 2016 blog post titled, ‘Are Children ‘Lost’ in Lack of Regulated Schooling?’, Mr Caller explained the benefits of one-to-one home tuition, whilst recognising the need for some regulation too:
“Parents want to cherry-pick subjects, examinations and learning styles from infinite possibilities. It’s one of the great advantages of 1:1 tuition. They don’t want to squander that opportunity by restricting learning to one narrow strand.
“Home education in the UK is legal and highly flexible, which is why there has been such a boom in families choosing to educate their own children at home, the majority with great success. However, if a family – or group of families – decide to educate multiple siblings together, would that then make it an unregistered school and, therefore, automatically illegal? The definitions are currently very blurry and would need careful thought before any new regulations were put in place. I believe that all education should be registered, for the safety and wellbeing of students, but these details need to be worked out before moving forward.”
In summary, Mr Caller believes that individual choices and preferences in home education should remain, but it should be reconciled with some regulation of standards and safety – prioritising the needs of the child is the common denominator of those two motivators. Mr Caller has always volunteered to offer his expertise to any governing bodies making policies and plans for an appropriately regulated HE sector, which is an offer that remains.
The Government Need to Consult Home Tuition Experts
Although this recent call for a register for home-educated children aligns with Mr Caller’s beliefs, he hopes that the Government will move forward with this by consulting the appropriate industry experts.
In 2019 Mr Caller detailed his concerns that the right people were not being consulted in order to make informed steps towards regulating home education. He offers a solution by suggesting that home tuition experts are consulted and then the homeschooling community is suitably compartmentalised:
“Historically I have always backed calls for regulation without hesitation, but whilst I do of course still want to protect every child's right to a quality education, I'm no longer of the opinion that the Government is consulting all the right people on this matter. Families opt for home education for a plethora of reasons, so it is too narrow a view to assume that a compulsory register would safeguard children and ensure they are all suitably educated. The Government needs to break the homeschooling community into segments and seek suitable representation for each group and their needs.”
Mr Caller has stated that he would be happy to be on the consultation panel when forming policies around regulating EHE. His extensive experience in the private home tuition sector makes him an appropriate and informed contributor.
‘There Should Be a Register, But It Shouldn’t Interfere’
This week, Adam Caller clarified his position in light of the latest call for a register for Home-Educated (HE) children:
“Every time the question of a register of home educated children is raised by the Government, the home education community object. I've been vilified for suggesting that they should work with the Government to safeguard children on this matter. There should be a register, but it shouldn't interfere with what HE families are doing if the children aren't being hurt by the education they're receiving. The problem is how to assess the suitability of home education without interference.”
Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon MP, is in agreement with Mr Caller’s views. He also states that the right to home education should be protected, but reconciled with upheld standards and safeguarding for children. In his article for Schools Week, Halfon explains:
“Our inquiry received many submissions from parents who passionately and eloquently set out the benefits that children can gain from being educated at home. They told us their children were receiving high-quality education and achieving impressive outcomes as they moved into work or further study. Nevertheless, it does not follow that just because these home educators are providing children with a good education, all home educators are. The Department for Education has itself said there is “considerable evidence” that some children may not be receiving a suitable education. The aim of a national register would not be to remove freedoms from parents who are providing an effective education for their families, but to better target support to those who need it.”
One point Adam Caller raises in response to Mr Halfon’s statement, is that although there is evidence for some children not receiving suitable home education, the same can be said for mainstream schools. Mr Caller counter-reasons that home education could be a solution for the shortcomings of mainstream schooling for some individuals:
“The focus has been on the evidence found that not all HE students are receiving a suitable standard of education; what hasn’t been raised, is that The Department of Education has also said there is considerable evidence that some children may not be receiving a suitable education in schools. What is being done to change that — are those children to be offered HE in order to make it more effective?!”
Solutions for Elective Home Education
Adam Caller says “I believe that there are ways to monitor without interference. We can do this via systems that we apply widely already.”
He has emphasised that he is willing to volunteer his expertise and can help reach a solution:
“I would like to publicly state that I would be able to offer my expertise on a consulting panel, to help inform how to proceed with regulating EHE in a way that prioritises child welfare, champions academic excellence, and retains the benefits of personalised homeschooling. Home education regulations should be founded in a way that informs the Government, supports parents and prioritises the wellbeing of the child.”
If you wish to contact Adam, you can do so via his website.
Mr Caller’s private tuition firm, Tutors International, has over 20 years of experience in providing superlative home education via world-class tutors. Tutors International’s safeguarding protocols, thorough recruitment process and personalised service, make them exemplary home education facilitators.