Education professionals who home-educate – from maverick anomaly to bridge-building opportunity?

Pattison, H. D. A. (2023) Education professionals who home-educate – from maverick anomaly to bridge-building opportunity? Norland Educare Research Journal, 1 (1): 10. pp. 1-18. ISSN 2976-7199


In UK law, home education is a legal and equal alternative to mainstream schooling. It is increasingly popular, although it has a poor public image and politically has been associated with safeguarding issues, radicalisation and inadequate educational standards. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a substantial minority of home educators are themselves education professionals. This research evaluates the position of education professionals who home-educate (EPHEs), seeking to ascertain their capacity to act within social networks as conduits of understanding around home education. Interviews with four EPHEs were analysed, using both deductive and inductive coding, to explore the dual identities and positioning of EPHEs as both mainstream schooling professionals and minority home-education practitioners. In particular, analysis focuses on the social-capital potential inherent in these double-facing identities. Using social network theory, particularly the concepts of bonding and bridging, three main categories of this position are explored: identity, bridging potential, and community and political consciousness. Using the four participants as examples of a type, the paper concludes that EPHEs do have the potential capacity to build authentic relations of greater understanding and reciprocity between home educators and the wider public and political community and that this potential could be harnessed in productive and transformative ways that would enhance democracy and social justice in educational opportunities.

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