Home schoolers ready to go to court over new proposals

Parents are prepared to go to court over draconian new measures planned by the Government to regulate the way parents educate their children at home.

The new plans have been dubbed “an unprecedented level of intrusion into family life”.

Under the proposals, local authority officials will visit families and interview children away from their parents to check they are providing a “suitable” and “efficient” education.

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

All home schooling families will also have to register with the local authority; any who do not will be guilty of a criminal offence.

But Dr Leslie Barson from home schooling charity Education Otherwise told The Times newspaper: “We are hoping to get it stopped at this early stage”.

She added: “We would take it to the highest court that we could”.

Yesterday parents protested against the new plans in London.

An online petition calling on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to reject the home schooling proposals has gained nearly 3,000 signatures.

Graham Badman, who was behind the report which called for the new measures, said there must be changes in the way home schooling is regulated.

He said at present home schooling lacks “the correct balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child either to an appropriate education or to be safe from harm”.

But his review of the current situation found no evidence that home schooling was used as a cover for harming children.

Mr Badman’s recommendations were accepted by the Government in June.

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said at the time: “In accepting the recommendations of this report, the government is signalling its intention to introduce an unprecedented level of intrusion into family life.

“The plan to allow local authorities routine access to the homes of children who are educated outside the school system shows a fundamental distrust of parents.”

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