Home Education

    May 21st 2010, 7:40am - Posted by Administrator

  • Many may not be aware of it but according to a rough estimate by Ofsted, around 50, 000 children are home schooled in UK in this age and time. Government officials especially inspectors are concerned with the efficacy and desirable education provided to home school kids.

    In the past efforts have been made to register home educators. However, home educators rebuffed the proposal challenging the concreteness of intended outcome of such action. The Ofsted admits the high satisfaction level of education among home schooled kids but demands to regulate home schools to help them meet their statutory duty and ensure “suitable education” for their students.  Presently, no body or authority requires parents to inform them about their children’s home schooling. The inspectors are warning about an invisible number of children in UK who have never entered school thus making them uncomfortable about home education.

    Former Kent Education Chief, Garham Badman, had nearly persuaded the previous Labor government to bring in an essential registration for home educators. But former Schools Secretary Ed Balls had to drop the plan when he failed to gain Conservative support for it a compromised version of his Schools, Children and Families Bill was pushed through parliament.

    These facts came out in a report that Ofsted released after speaking to 120 parents and 130 children from 15 local authority areas between September and December last year. Inspectors found home school children enthusiastic about their education at home. A little above 50% of the parents surveyed were home educating due to their frustrating experiences in the past while dealing with schools. Bullying was one of the biggest factors besides especial needs of children behind surveyed parents opting in home education for their children.

    Chief inspector Christine Gilbert said: "Current legislation around elective home education means it is extremely challenging for local authorities to meet their statutory duty to ensure children have a suitable education."

    A spokesperson of Education Otherwise, the home educators’ group, said:  "We note that the contents of this report seem remarkably similar to the now-discredited Badman report, which parliament rejected before the general election.”
    "We are confident that the new government's commitments to civil liberties and a smaller state means they will reject these recommendations out of hand."

    Defending parents’ rights, a spokesperson of Department for Education said: "We respect the right of parents to home educate their children.

    "The Ofsted report confirms that most parents who educate their children at home do a very good job, some of them picking up the pieces where children have had problems at school.

    "We note Ofsted's findings and recommendations and ministers will shortly be considering if changes need to be made to the existing arrangements, given the strong views expressed by both home educators and local authorities."

    The rules and regulations are the same in Wales for home education for children while in Scotland parents need consent if they decide to remove their child from school.

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