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", the Daily Mail reports.

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'.

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Gemma Rawnsley with the youngest of the Rawnsley's Wolf, aged one, Phoenix (left of Gemma) and Zephyr. Photo / Daily Mirror
Gemma Rawnsley with the youngest of the Rawnsley's Wolf, aged one, Phoenix (left of Gemma) and Zephyr. Photo / Daily Mirror

Mrs Rawnsley, 35, told the Mirror: "We just wing it and go with the flow. If the weather is good we sack it off and go out for the day, if it's raining then it's a good day to stay in and do stuff.

"There are no boundaries so the kids get on with life and do what they want."

Like his brothers and sisters, Hunter Rawnsley, five, does not attend school and takes lessons at home. Photo / Supplied
Like his brothers and sisters, Hunter Rawnsley, five, does not attend school and takes lessons at home. Photo / Supplied

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.

Hunter, Skye, Phoenix and Pearl Rawnsley star into the camera as they stand in their back garden at home in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Photo / Supplied
Hunter, Skye, Phoenix and Pearl Rawnsley star into the camera as they stand in their back garden at home in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Photo / Supplied

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.

Hunter Rawnsley climbs up a door frame. His family were the subject of a documentary series exploring so-called feral families. Photo / Daily Mirror
Hunter Rawnsley climbs up a door frame. His family were the subject of a documentary series exploring so-called feral families. Photo / Daily Mirror

However, Mrs Rawnsley said she is 'not bothered' by this.

She told the Mirror: "They're behind their peers in terms of academics, but I'm not bothered. GCSEs are a memory test, it's not about being intelligent."

The documentary series explores hands-off parenting. Pictured: Findlay, Phoenix and Zephyr and Hunter play. Photo / Daily Mirror
The documentary series explores hands-off parenting. Pictured: Findlay, Phoenix and Zephyr and Hunter play. Photo / Daily Mirror

Despite methods most parents would frown upon, the Rawnsleys say they are often praised for their unconventional approach.

Mrs Rawnsley said: "We really think about how we bring them up and we get so many compliments about how amazing the kids are. So it seems a bit wild on the surface, but it works."