Home education takes parliamentary centre stage

by Emily

In the first of a new series of features about educational issues, First Tutors explores Lord Lucas's recent comments on the new Education Bill.

Addressing the House of Lords on 26th November, Lord Lucas expressed strong feelings of concern that the clauses of the Bill that seek to regulate home educators are "ill thought-out and unjustified" and First Tutors is inclined to agree.

The premise of the Education Bill is that parents will have to obtain permission from their local authority to have their children educated at home rather than at school. However, Lord Lucas has highlighted an inherent flaw in this proposal: "There is no reference to the training of local authority staff, which is recognised to be one of the major deficiencies in the current arrangements." In addition: "There is no proper arrangement for independent appeal when a local authority decides that a person may not home educate."

There are many different reasons why a parent would opt to have their child home educated rather than send them to school: a child may have had a bad experience at school, such as bullying; or their parents may simply want to pursue a home education as a matter of principle. In the words of Lord Lucas: "Nothing in [the Bill] secures [parents'] rights as home educators to look after their children in the way they see best."

Are you a tutor who teaches a home educated child, or a parent worried that the new regulations may force you to send your child to school? Please share your views - we'd love to know what the First Tutors community thinks about the possibility of home education being regulated in this way. We know that a number of home educating parents have used our service to find private tutors and we feel that we ought to support the growing movement in defending their rights.