Sunday, November 29, 2009

Home-ed news from Bristol

A Bristol mum-of-four, who teaches her children at home, has helped to collect what is set to be the largest number of parliamentary petitions ever recorded and asked her MP Doug Naysmith to take part in the presentation of the 200 petitions, as part of a national campaign to draw attention to the law governing the home education of children. Continues here.

And here's Doug Naysmith's reply to my request for him to join the All Party Parliamentary Group on home education and to sign the Early Day Motion 1785:

I already belong to more APPGs than I feel I should, as I do not like to belong to a Group unless I have the time to make a useful contribution to it. Also, my initial views on Badman's proposals are not as critical as those expressed in the EDM. I agree with the first part about the excellent work many parents do and appreciate the hard work and sacrifices involved. I can understand the worries and, indeed, indignation at the "conflation of welfare concerns with education issues".

I believe, however, that all children have a right to an education and that society, as well as parents, has a responsibility to ensure that this right is honoured. Therefore I think it is reasonable for Local Authorities to have a register so that they know how many children and which ones are being educated out of school. I understand this happens in most if not all other countries. I am also not against a 'light-touch' inspection which takes full account of what the parents' educational aims are: in other words, not one which expects parents to conduct formal lessons at the kitchen table, following the National Curriculum and culminating in SATs.

On Friday this week I am being presented with a petition by another home educating constituent and I am sure we will talk about the matter further. I should also be happy to discuss with you the difference in our views, either on your own or with other home educators if you belong to a local group.

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