Letter to the Torygraph

And I thought David Cameron’s team liked us…

“New” rules to cover rise in home schooling?


The above report contains a number of errors; the primary error is in identifying the proposed guidelines as “new rules”.

The guidelines do not contain any new rules: they are beingconsulted on in order to remove ambiguity in the practices of localauthorities, many of whom currently operate home education policieswhich greatly exceed the letter of the law, which remains unchanged.

While many local authorities have been calling for greaterpowers, the government has confirmed that it does not believe any newpowers are necessary. It has done this both through direct statementsfrom the cabinet office, and by making this a consultation onguidelines, rather than the legislative changes which were originallyconsidered. Legislative changes were rejected as being unnecessarygiven the paucity of evidence of bad home education practice: indeed,the best studies available to us demonstrate that home educationprovides better outcomes across the board.

Please name the charity that claimed a quarter of homeeducated children receive inadequate education, and what they basetheir evidence on. I suspect this is not from a charity, but from a TESreport last month featuring anti-home education campaigners such asTony Mooney, who has repeatedly demonstrated his prejudice andmisunderstanding of educational methods beyond simple classroomanalogues.

In fact, the story of the ten year old boy sounds very likeone of Mr Mooney’s cases that he has talked of before: I still have notbeen able to determine whether Mr Mooney pursued any course of actionto secure this child an education, or merely used it to call forgreater powers to regulate all home educators across the boardaccording to his own prejudices.

As set out in the guidelines, local authorities have a perfectlyadequate legal framework to act where there is clear evidence ofeducational neglect: they have had these for many years.

Local authority calls for tighter restrictions, “new rules”, etc, relyon prejudice, hearsay and scaremongering. Please do not add to it withinaccurate reporting.

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