Your balanced interview with Anna Dusseau on home schooling was a pleasure to read (The teacher who decided to ‘unschool’ her own children, 4 August). Dusseau highlights why ever more families (over 50,000 children at the last count) are rejecting institutional schooling for home education – not least, “forced learning” in schools, the coercion of the national curriculum and the test- and results-driven English schooling system.
Research evidence shows that home-educated children achieve substantially better outcomes than the mainstream. Even more importantly, as Dusseau says, children are more able to discover “who they really are, and what they want to do in life”, as opposed to them having to develop a “false self” just to survive at the hands of a schooling system that is stultified by the soulless audit culture.
For many, the Gradgrindism of modern bureaucratised schooling has now reached the limits of unacceptability, yet the Department for Education and Ofsted will doubtless be the very last to get the message. Indeed, a coming battle could well be one of protecting home schoolers from the dead hand of Ofsted’s accountability and surveillance empire, which is likely to be determined to intrude before too long.
It’s fitting that Dusseau completed her English degree at Exeter, where the late great Guardian columnist Ted Wragg (1938–2005) was education professor. Ted would have loved this interview and how Dusseau is opening up the core questions about education that he himself fearlessly pursued all his professional life.
Dr Richard House
• Unschooling the parents is the real task. My husband and I unschool our three daughters (aged nine, six and four), having tried school for our eldest for a year. My daughters are naturally inquisitive and enquiring, ready to learn by following their interests. Unschooling seems to suit them well. My husband and I are personally benefiting from unschooling. We are gradually freeing ourselves from the heavy tangle that imposed schooling left us carrying into adulthood. We too can think and learn more freely now.
New Malden, London