Christian home education under threat from new guidance

18 January 2024

Head of Education Steve Beegoo comments on the new guidance about elective home education proposed by the government, and he provides Christian Concern’s response

More and more Christian parents are deciding to educate their children at home rather than sending them to secular schools. They see the increased sexualisation and indoctrination of children in local schools and rightly want to protect their children. They see that home education provides a wonderful opportunity to provide a wholeheartedly Christian education that explicitly sees all of life, and all learning as an opportunity to glorify God.

But the right to this sort of education is under threat. The government has proposed new guidance on elective home education that would enable invasive monitoring of home educators and empower local authorities to force secular values into home education.

Parents have the prime responsibility for educating their children and should have the freedom to decide not to send them to state schools. Biblically, we believe that parents must be free to ‘Train up a child in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not turn from it’ (Proverbs 22:6).

Christian Concern has responded to the government’s consultation – read on to find out the problems with the new guidance.


Imagine a state where Local Authority officers had the right to come knocking on your door to check on the moral thinking and practice of the parents in regard to what they were teaching their children.

The latest proposed changes takes us closer to this kind of regime as they lay out what is expected of Local Authorities and of home educating parents. They assume that a benign and supportive influence of the ‘neutral’ state can be better exerted through increased intervention defined in this guidance.

It is true that many children are not attending school for a wide variety of reasons.

These are increasingly to do with mental health issues, special education needs or bullying. Much of this is caused by their experiences in the educational system itself! But these children are already known about through the current school and health system, and where safeguarding issues arise should already be being monitored and supported.

In efforts to regulate, register and monitor all children, the rights of many Christian parents who home educate will be contravened. For example, Local Authority officers are already, on safeguarding grounds, indicating children should be removed from parents who will not affirm their child’s ‘gender identity’.


The new guidance assumes Local Authority officers will successfully be able to determine suitability for each home educated child in regard to religious and moral matters.

The true, historic Christian belief that sexual activity is only for a lifelong heterosexual marriage, and all other sexual activity or desire should not be promoted or celebrated, may well be considered as teaching which does not align with the ‘secular’ requirements expected in the guidance for a ‘suitable’ education. It is easy to see how the Church of England’s weakness in promoting its own official teaching on this will be used against Christians as it has been in several court cases. They will be told that Christianity is unclear about issues of sex and gender and see their beliefs painted as extreme.

‘Secular’ is referenced repeatedly in the government’s guidance. Christian home educating parents, must be protected from ideologically driven Local Authority officers who may be ignorant of, or disagree with, traditional perspectives. The guidance, as yet, offers no protection from this.


Their powers would extend to providing School Attendance Orders, with fines and even imprisonment for parents who do not comply with sending their child to the assigned school, when ‘unsuitable’ education is adjudged to be in place. There is increasing evidence to show Local Authorities already over-reach and can be aggressive in their monitoring tasks.

In defining what may appear to be ‘suitable’ to an officer, the guidance says that ”a suitable education enables a child to participate fully in life in the UK by providing sufficient secular education”.  There is no explanation of what ‘secular’ teaching is or is not. These statements are targeting the guidance against faith groups, and the Local Authority guidance partially defines this as to “not foreclose the child’s options later on in life to adopt some other mode of living”.

Clearly, this guidance to Local Authority officers is from a secular view of individual autonomy and children’s ‘rights’ and disrespects the desire for families to pass on their ethical, religious, and sexual traditions. Many Christian educators want their children to adopt a mode of living which is Christian. Many Christian home educators seek to counteract secularism, and secular culture by framing all the learning in religious terms and all lessons from a biblical worldview perspective. The guidance shows no understanding of this perspective, opening the way for the enforced placement of Christian children in secular schools on moral grounds, as they determine ‘educational neglect’.


The argument is often used that children are safer in school than at home.

As our recent article shows, requiring parents to place their children at local schools may cause many children to be placed in unsuitable and even unsafe environments. The safest place for most children is the parental home. It may be that many more Christian parents need to take up home education to protect and disciple their children (God’s children!) in line with their biblical responsibilities.


In parallel with this guidance, the proposed register of those home educating has been enthusiastically welcomed by the British Humanist Society, which recognises that such a list could help the secular state clamp down on all religious teaching to children.

Politicians of all persuasions are being swayed by the erroneous arguments around ‘safety’.

Conservative MP Flick Drummond has a second Private Members Bill awaiting its Second Reading in March, and the Shadow Education Minister has confirmed Labour’s commitment to establishing such registers in the future.


As the consultation responses are considered, please pray that the freedoms for Christian parents to bring up their children in line with biblical teaching are not further eroded.

You can find our response to the consultation documented here. Across the country, many schools – even so-called Christian schools – are kicking out the Bible and Christian teaching in efforts to be neutral, plural, inclusive and secular. Christian parents will need to have every tool they can to ensure that they are free to bring their children up, ‘in the training and instruction and of the Lord’ (Eph 6:4).

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