The Conservative Party yesterday vowed that it would halt the Government’s controversial plans to clamp down on home-schooling families.
Michael Gove, the Shadow Children’s Secretary, promised home educators that the proposals, which have been described as “deeply sinister”, will never become law.
Home-schooling parents yesterday expressed delight at the assurances.
The Tories have the power to do this because, in an election year, the Opposition has an opportunity to block Government proposals in the horse trading that goes on in the final throes of a Parliament.
Mr Gove was responding to a question from ‘Naomi’ in an online forum on The Times’ website.
She said: “Home educators have no faith in government, after being treated so badly by Labour. How can that be rectified?”
The Shadow Secretary responded: “I think home educators do a wonderful job – they give up time and sacrifice so much for their children – Government should support them and we won’t allow the current Government’s plans to stigmatise home educators to get through”.
He was then asked specifically if he could “promise” that the clauses in the Bill that narrow the freedoms for home educators will not become law. Mr Gove replied: “Yes”.
Under the plans in the Children, Schools and Families Bill, home-schooling parents could ultimately be committing a crime if they fail to register with the Government or provide particular information on how they are educating their children.
Government officials will be allowed to interview children one-to-one about their home education and if parents object local authorities could revoke their home-schooling registration.
In October Philip Johnston, a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, described the plans as “deeply sinister”.
A group of cross-party MPs criticised the Government plans in December, calling them “too aggressive, too hard-nosed”.
And earlier this month a member of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board said the cost of setting up a regulatory framework would not be a good use of public money.
The Liberal Democrats also oppose the Government’s home schooling plans.