Your Name and Title: Dr Paula Rothermel

Organization or School Name:

Co-Presenter Name(s):

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Switzerland

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): conference attenders

Short Session Description (one line): Home Education & Home Education Research in the UK

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Home-Education: The Cognitive Leap at 4-5 years: comparitive research from school and home educated children




This presentation reports on the performance of reception-aged, home-educated children. Media reports tend to focus on older home-educated children withdrawing from school but very little is known about younger children many of whom have never been to school in the UK. This research sought insight into the learning experience of these young children. The study involved 35 home-educated children aged between four and five years of age, from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The children were assessed using the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (Start and End of Reception) and their results compared with schooled peers. It was found that the reported leap in learning generally associated with early schooling is present in the homeschooled sample and further, that the homeschooled group outperformed their schooled counterparts, indicating perhaps, that by initiating ever earlier school starting ages we are unwittingly inhibiting children’s cognitive focus and potential.


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  • Bio:

    I have been involved in home education research in the UK since 1996. This has involved many appearances at confer

    ences (international and national), radio and television interviews, and the publication of research papers, newspaper and magazine articles. For the last 12 years I have also worked as a Charted Educational Psychologist Expert Witness at Court. Working in the UK and overseas, I prepare reports for court cases where homeschooling is an issue. Typically these involve care cases, divorces (Civil Court) and school attendance orders (Criminal Court). During the 2009 British review of home education I was invited to Westminster to provide input into government planning for proposed new legislation and this was followed up with an invitation to speak at Westminster conference for policy makers and politicians. My work as been cited 5 times in the House of Commons.  I have been invited to the Homeschool Conference as a Distinguished Guest.

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