04 March 2007

Home Education

Record numbers of parents are choosing to teach their children at home amid mounting disillusion with state schools, the Government’s own research revealed yesterday. ...The study, commissioned by the Department for Education, suggests the numbers of home-schooled children have almost tripled since 1999 despite the boasts of ministers that state schools have improved. ...

By law, parents who shun the school system must ensure their child receives a ‘suitable’ education according to ‘age, aptitude and ability’. ... Local education authorities are legally required to check on home-educated children who have been taken out of school. Their inspectors can force youngsters back to school if they are not being properly taught.

However, the law also gives parents the right to refuse to ‘present’ their children for monitoring. As a result, they do not have to submit to any checks by the authorities throughout their child’s home schooling.

Most children who do go to school are starting at the age of four — a year earlier than the official beginning of formal education. ... The survey by the Times Educational Supplement prompted warning that increasing numbers of children are starting formal schooling before they are ready — in the rest of Europe it does not happen until the age of six or seven. (From ’150,000 children educated at home’ Daily Mail 24 February 2007.)

My comments

Difficult, if not impossible, to believe that a child can really be got off the hook just by its parents de-registering it with the source of all power and oppression.

What happens about the exam-taking? Can you really get your child accepted at some exam-taking centre without it falling back into the power of the ‘authority’? And practicals, as ever, are a stumbling block. Can you arrange for your child to do the work at a place that can suitably certify it for exam purposes without it becoming the business of the local ‘authority’?


A very good thing that parents educating children at home could do, if they had any sense, would be to come and live nearby and offer voluntary work to my beleaguered academic institution in administrative and other useful capacities. If we were receiving enough such help, it might enable us to provide learning materials for various subjects, including, possibly, classes on investment and other forms of business enterprise.

But the snag is that such parents, like everyone else in modern Britain, have learnt that no help should ever be given to individuals with high IQs, even if it might turn out advantageous to themselves to do so.