Government home school report due

There are concerns that a Government review due to report this week could recommend new measures to monitor home schooling families.

The review was announced in January to find out whether the current system was able to “adequately support and monitor the education, safety and wellbeing of home educated children”.

Last week Guardian education blogger Adharanand Finn said: “The review could recommend compulsory registration of home educators and set minimum standards of education.

“If this is the case, to a large extent it will remove from parents the responsibility for how their children are educated. For many, without the freedom to learn autonomously, the very reason for home education will cease to exist.

“We’ll have to wait and see how far any new legislation will go, and how hard home educators will resist it, but let’s hope we don’t end up with a situation like that in Germany, where the ban on home education means for many parents the only option is to emigrate.”

In Germany it has been illegal for parents to educate their children at home since Hitler introduced rules to ensure the state controlled what they learned.

When the new review was announced, home schooling charities objected to the implication that ministers suspected parents of using home education as a cover for abuse or giving their children a sub-standard education.

Just last week it was reported that a home schooling charity, Education Otherwise, had received an apology from the NSPCC after one of its spokesmen suggested in a newspaper article that home schoolers could be hiding abuse cases such as that of Victoria Climbié.

Annette Taberner, from Education Otherwise’s policy group, said in January: “No other community would be expected to suffer the prejudice and discrimination which our community has to endure.”

Graham Badman, who is heading up the review, said: “Legislation affords every parent the right to choose to educate their child at home but with those rights go responsibilities, not least being to secure a suitable education.”

In a study on home schooling two University of London academics recently found that the method was “an astonishingly efficient way to learn”.

Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison concluded: “The ease, naturalness and immense intellectual potential of informal learning up to the age of middle secondary school means they can learn certainly as much if not more”.

Related Resources