Parents face criminal checks before teaching own children

Thu, 3 Dec 2009

Parents who educate their children at home should undergo criminal records checks, according to the Government’s education inspectors.

Ofsted have told the Government that parents who home educate should be vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) as part of the Government’s proposed registration process.

The proposal has been attacked for taking ‘safety’ to an extreme.

One family campaigner warned that if Ofsted’s proposal becomes law home-educating parents would have to be cleared before they could have access to their children during school hours.

Parents have always had a legal right to educate their children at home.

But under recommended changes to the law in the Children, Schools and Families Bill, home-schooling parents will be regulated by the state, and their children will have to be registered with the local authority every year.

Parents will be required to provide their local authority with “a statement of approach to education” and a twelve-month plan outlining what they will teach.

And now Ofsted are proposing that home-schooling parents should be CRB checked as part of this registration process.

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust highlighted the “sheer madness” of Ofsted’s proposal by saying: “If it is deemed unsafe for children to be with their parents during normal school hours, it is equally unsafe for them to be with their parents in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays.”

Ofsted’s proposal raises new concerns about state control of family life. Mr Wells said: “If Ofsted are calling for CRB checks for home-educating parents now, how long will it be before they are demanding that all parents are CRB-checked?”

Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank called the proposal “monstrous” in suggesting that “you can no longer be a parent without a piece of paper from the state.”

In June Fiona Nicholson, of support group Education Otherwise, claimed that if the Government were to introduce a registration system it would completely shift the balance of power.

She said: “The state is coming into family life and trying to regulate it. It is an extraordinary invasion of the family.”

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