Wales considers forced registration for home schoolers

Tue, 25 Sep 2012

Parents who home-school their children could be forced to register with their local council, under new Welsh Government proposals.

Outlined plans include putting a legal duty on parents to tell councils they are teaching their children at home.

There were close to 1000 pupils home-schooled in Wales last year.

Stop

Critics have hit out at the plans, saying local authorities will use this compulsory register to stop home education.

Mike Fortune-Wood, editor of the journal Home Education, said local councils will “simply impose their standards.”

He also said: “This would fundamentally change the nature of the relationship between parents, children and state.

Responsibility

“Education is primarily the right and responsibility of parents. This will remove the right of parents to decide.

“They are essentially saying the state knows better than parents.”

But Education Minister Leighton Andrews insists that the proposals are “not designed to prevent children from being home-educated.”

Legal

He added that the current laws make it difficult to ensure children are receiving a “suitable education” which is a legal requirement.

Mr Andrews said the register would make sure this requirement is fulfilled.

He said that the plans would not mean parents have to follow a particular curriculum nor would their children have to take national exams.

Outrage

A proposal in Westminster to bring in a similar register was dropped by the Labour government two years ago.

The plans were criticised by an influential group of MPs and caused outrage amongst home educators.

The Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee claimed the proposal was “flawed”.

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