Parents of seven who let their children have tattoos and play with pick axes say they are ‘not bothered’ that they are failing academically because school tests do not measure ‘intelligence’.
Gemma and Lewis Rawnsley from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, allow their children to swear, set their own bedtimes and ‘make their own decisions’.
Skye, 13, Finlay, 12, Phoenix, nine, Pearl, eight, Hunter, five, Zephyr, three, and one-year-old Woolf are raised in a household where there are few rules.
The family are the subject of a Channel 4 documentary series called Feral Families, where parents explain their ‘off-grid philosophies’.
The only stipulations the parents set are that their children do not lie or hurt each other and are respectful.
Hunter is allowed to play with a spirit burner and wield an axe, while Woolf curses and their older siblings decide what they want to do for the day.
None of the children go to school, Skye and Finlay were pulled out when they were seven and six, but are taught reading and writing by their parents. Education inspectors check in each year.
Phoenix did not want to learn to read, but eventually decided to because he wanted to send messages to his friends on XBox.
The children do not take exams or follow the national curriculum and are falling behind their peers. However, Mrs Rawnsley said she is ‘not bothered’ by this.