On Tuesday 8th December from 6.30p.m. home educators are holding a vigil in Old
Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament.
Inside, history is being made as home educators begin to petition the House of
Commons to get rid of Clause 26 of the Children, Schools and Families bill.
More than 250 identical petitions from constituencies all over England, an
overwhelming record in parliamentary history, are to be presented to Parliament
over the next few weeks.
Under existing law, Local Authorities have powers to take action if they have
reason to believe home educated children in their area are not receiving a
suitable education, according to their age, aptitude and ability. Under section
47 of the Children Act 1989 they also have the power to intervene and gain
access to the home where there is evidence that a child is at risk of
However, under clause 26, the Government is seeking to dramatically extend State
· The Bill requires that all home educators apply annually for
permission to continue home educating.
· Local authorities will also to have the right to enter the residence "where
the education takes place" and potentially to interview children without the
· Home educating parents will be required to formulate an annual
educational plan, which must be approved by the Local Authority. Parents will
then be assessed in accordance with the plan.
· Non-compliance with the demands of the Local Authority will result in a
Statutory School Order being issued.
The proposed legislation is in direct opposition to Section 7 of the Education
Act that it is the `duty of parents to secure education'. For the first time in
British legislative history, the Government will become responsible for
children's education instead of parents. This represents a fundamental shift in
power, allowing the State to intrude yet further into family life.
Currently home educating parents take full responsibility for their children's
learning, at no cost to the taxpayer. They are sensitive to the shifting
developmental needs of their children. However, the proposed legislation
threatens this educational approach, as parents who diverge from the enforced
plan will have their children forcibly sent to school.
The Government is proposing to spend £1000 per child per annum on just
monitoring each home educated child (no funds are earmarked for providing
support or improving access to services for home educated children). As there is
no evidence that this monitoring will improve
educational outcomes for children, this is an unwarranted additional expense at
a time when massive cut backs in existing services are necessary to stem
Radio London's Drivetime 5 -7 p.m ( GMT). will be covering the demo outside Parliament tonight and is likely to cover the political angle more.