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Education committee chair Neil Carmichael brands lack of home education register a “scandal”



The Conservative chairman of the education select committee has today said he finds it “amazing” that parents who home educate their children do not have to be registered – branding the situation a scandal.

Neil Carmichael was speaking at a fringe event about faith schools in education at the Conservative conference in Manchester this morning.

While talking about free schools, he said: “It’s absolutely right free schools should be created where necessary and appropriate.

“I don’t want to have schools all over the place for every possible interpretation of what’s good for a child or we’ll end up having more home education.

“I find it absolutely amazing people who are home educated are not registered as being home educated. It’s an absolute scandal that that should not be allowed.”

Currently parents who want to teach their children at home need to write to the school’s headteacher to inform them, if they have been offered a place.

If not there is no obligation for the parent to inform anyone, including the local authority.

According to Department for Education advice, the local authority can only make an “informal enquiry” to make sure the child is getting a suitable education.

There are thought to be around 50,000 to 80,000 home education children in the UK.

Fellow panellist Tim Stanley, a columnist and leader writer for the Daily Telegraph, added: “There is nothing wrong with home schooling – you should have a right to do it.”

He said it was growing in America and was used by parents who are frustrated with the state education sector and taking responsibility for their child’s education by making the decision to go alone. “I admire that,” he added.

In 2009, Ed Balls, then secretary of state for children and families, commissioned the Badman Review to look into home education.

It led to the children, schools and families select committee endorsing plans to set up a voluntary registration scheme for families who chose to home educate.

The proposals were dropped, however, due to a lack of cross party support before the 2010 election.

Home education just isn’t a priority area

Fiona Nicholson, who runs the home education website Edyourself, told Schools Week: “From time to time the notion of making home educators register does come up but it never gains any political traction.

“The same thing happens with the suggestion that home educators should have somewhere to sit their exams, nothing ever comes of it. Home education just isn’t a priority area.”

Updated at 6pm: A Department for Education spokesperson said: “It is vital that every child, regardless of their background, gets an excellent education which allows them to realise their potential.

“Schools have a duty to inform councils when a child is being withdrawn for home-schooling. Councils have a legal obligation to intervene if it appears that a child of compulsory school age is not receiving a suitable education. They can also take action against parents if they are not satisfied that the education a child is receiving is suitable.”



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100 Comments

  1. karl meyer

    We’ve been home educating our daughter for the past nine years and have never bothered to register with the LA. Our reason is not because we have anything to hide (far from it) but simply because there is literally no point.

    If you register then most LAs will require some form of evidence, may request (often quite forcibly) home visits and essentially provide a bunch of hoops for the parents to jump through yet offer virtually nothing in return.

    Access to exam centres? “not our job, speak to the schools yourself” Ability to get access to science labs? “Nope”, help with exam fees? “you’ve got to be joking”, discount card for text books? “dream on”.

    What then is the point of registering if the LA has an attitude of all stick and no carrot.

    ps my daughter would have spotted the typo in the above article which clearly your journalist and sub editor both missed.

  2. If schools delivered on their premise to offer an education that was suitable and efficient for all children registered at the school, there would be considerably fewer parents who choose to take on the financial responsibility of educating their children.

    Maybe someone could look at the correlation of more academies = more children home educated or less Special schools = more home educated or more interference by a succession of minister who know zip about education and impose arbitrary targets and testing = more home educated.

    As the educational system is broken, why are you complaining that some folks have voted with their feet and found a better way forward for their children

    The exact same failing system now wants to police the educational system that works?

  3. I would like to know what question he was asked to answer: “I find it absolutely amazing people who are home educated are not registered as being home educated. It’s an absolute scandal that that should not be allowed.” I would also like to know why this was chosen as a headline when the subject matter at hand was about faith schools in education.

  4. Elaine Cross

    It is a scandal that someone with so little understanding of home education is commenting on it.

    I would invite the Minister to meet with professional home education experts, to educate himself about the lack of requirement for such a register.

  5. Simon Webb

    As a dedicated home educator, my daughter did not attend school for a single day between the ages of 5 and 16, I am inclined to think that Mr Carmichael is quite correct about this. At the very least, a register containing the details of children who are not at school would be useful for checking which are receiving a suitable education and which are not.

  6. HE Parent

    There’s no need for a register. Parents are legally responsible for their children’s education, not the state. Mr Carmichael should talk to his predecessor, Graham Stuart.

    • simon Webb

      This is true, as far as it goes. However, because the duty to cause their children to receive an education is one which has been forced upon them by law and not freely chosen; some parents try to evade it. All that is suggested is that a process should exist which checks that parents are fulfilling their legal duties in this respect.

  7. I think Mr Carmichael could do well to talk to Graham Stuart as the chair of the APPG on Home Education and gain a fuller more complete picture of what is and is not required of home educators and local authorities. Perhaps that could be done before speaking on a subject he quite clearly knows very little about. Equally he could read the goverments own guidance on the topic which is easily accesible and covers the legal position quite clearly.

    The reason why registration is not a good idea for home educators is that it amounts to a licsening scheme. In practice what starts as a simple list of names and addresses morphs into ever more onerous and intrusive practices by local authorities and pretty soon parents have lost control over the legal duty they have to ensure their children are educated.

    Parents who home educate quite rightly resist registration in order to keep local authority officers at arms length as many officers neither support nor understand elective home education law or practices. Local authority officers cause a great deal of stress to children and disrupt families when they intrude and attempt to impose their typically school based education ideas and standards on the family.

    The current legislation and government guiduance for home education is fair, balanced, protects the rights of the child, and protects the family who home educate from needless external interference. Equally, the Local Authority has the power to request information of the family and use its judgement to determine whether there are concerns about the education that need to be addressed. There is no lack of power to act when education is deemed lacking.

  8. James Gunter

    I also find it amazing that there is no requirement for home educators to register. There is certainly a lot of educational neglect going on within the home education community, much of it among families who refuse to have any contact with their LEA so are completely ‘off the radar’.
    With the increase in popularity of home education recently it can surely only be a matter of time before a more formal kind of registration and inspection is introduced.

    • codswallop!!!

      That’s just not true at all!
      How do you know what goes on in other peoples homes?
      ALL of the home educated children i know are literate, and well balanced children, unlike alot of peoples kids i know from the regular education system!
      How many people come out of a normal school still unable to read ,write properly, and do basic math?
      PLENTY- just watch the Jeremy Kyle show for an afternoon, -i assure you none of those folk were homeschooled!
      If parents WERE lazy, then they would just send their kids off to school!
      It takes alot of work and dedication to home educate your children,so your claim that there is “alot of educational neglect going on” just doesn’t stack up!
      Parents that love their children are not going to neglect their children, and neglectful parents will be too lazy to bother having to look after and educate their children 24/7.
      It sounds like an absolute load of made up codswallop!

      • simon Webb

        ‘That’s just not true at all!
        How do you know what goes on in other peoples homes?’

        Perhaps because they regularly post about it on social media sites and exchange hints and tips on how to conceal from their local authorities that nothing in the way of an education is taking place. Some freely admit that their children have done nothing for months, other than play Minecraft; others confide that their children are functionally illiterate at the age of thirteen, because the parents have been ideologically opposed to teaching them to read and write. By the accounts which one reads from parents on Facebook groups, there are plenty of home educating parents who do not take their duty to educate their children very seriously.

          • Simon Webb

            ‘Could you possibly share links to these (possibly mythical) posts. Your description doesn’t match anything I’ve seen from any home ed family.’

            As a home educator, you will be able to join the Facebook groups for yourself; places like Home Education and Officialdom and Home education UK. I don’t ask anybody to take my word for this.

          • Simon Webb

            ‘Simon Webb, which LA do you work for?’

            I educated my daughter from the age of five, until she was sixteen; without sending her to school for a single day.

        • James Gunter

          My evidence is taken from over 10 years of experience within the home education community. As Simon has already mentioned, home educators make no secret of their children’s achievements in the echo chamber of homeschooling groups and social media.
          Literacy and numeracy levels among many children within the community is appalling. Often this is explained away in terms of the children ‘not being ready to read’ or the anachronistic Steiner approach of ‘no reading until the age of 7’. Even so, wilfully allowing a child to be functionally illiterate at the age of 11 (which is not unusual among autonomous home educated children who have never attended school) is removing a great deal of future educational choice for that child.
          As has been mentioned before, it seems to be the home educators who are most against any form of registration or involvement with the ‘powers that be’ who are also fielding some of the most educationally neglected children – a situation that makes providing any official evidence very difficult.

    • Utter rubbish. Inform yourself next time before posting such comments.
      The neglect my son suffered was at the hands of a Local Authority Primary School. They chose not to meet his needs and so his anxiety went through the roof. He was subsequently excluded and in the year I home educated him he learnt more than he had ever learnt in the 3 years he was being failed at a mainstream state Primary School.

      Many home educators have children with SEN and because the system is so biased against parents the lesser of two evils is the Home Ed route. I took my case through SENDIST Tribunal whilst my son was out of school and won an Autism Specific School so I no longer needed to Home Ed him but would Home School again in a heart beat.

  9. firebird2110

    Do I think that my not being required to be ‘registered’ to educate my child is a scandal? No. Why should it be? It’s not as if not going to school has rendered her a non-person. She’s registered with no end of government agencies already so what purpose would being on a home educators list serve? Well there’s the REAL question. Ignore the faux concern, the only purpose for registration is control. Compulsory registration is licensing by another name and a licence can be withheld or revoked. That automatically grants the licensing authority the power to demand monitoring, to proscribe, to decide what a suitable education looks like and to force into school any child who doesn’t meet whatever arbitrary standards are in vogue at the time. That is why so many home educators fight so hard against registration.

    Even if we pretend that there are no dark ulterior motives why would I want to be registered? What possible benefit is it to me or my child to be on a local authority list? Are they going to pay for exams? Are they going to offer anything useful? No, they’re not. At best we’re on a list (big whoop!) at worst I get harassed with demands for written reports or access to our home. Demands that I answer to local government bureaucrats as if I were working for them? Well I’m not, I’m carrying out my parental duties as laid down by the Education Act of 1996, not that I actually need a law to tell me that I should provide my child with an education any more than I need one to tell me she needs suitable clothing and food.

    So no Neil Carmichael, it’s NOT a scandal.

  10. Simon Webb

    As is usual when the subject of home education comes up, the comments on this article are being coordinated by militant home educators via Facebook groups; the intention being to suggest a general opposition to the idea of registration for parents who do not send their children to school. The need for such a register, combined with regular monitoring is clear. Some of those who do not send their children to school are providing them with an education; others are not. Monitoring would enable us to distinguish between these two groups.

    Most home educating parents are aware that some parents who do not send their children to school are not providing any sort of education for them. On Facebook groups for home educators, it is common to see parents joining and saying things such as, ‘I have just deregistered my child from school. I don’t know what to do next or how to go about teaching him’. There is immediate reassurance from other parents that it is not necessary to teach one’s child and that the local authority can be kept at bay by quoting the law. It is to weed out those who are not educating their children that monitoring is needed. The first step would be to set up a register, so that we know how many children are not being sent to school.

    A small group of home educators always flood online comments sections such as this, to try to give the impression that all home educating parents are opposed to monitoring. This is quite untrue.

    • Jonathan Adams

      Doubtless unintentional as I’m sure it is, your tone does seem to have an unfortunately pompous ring to it Mr Webb, whereby you appear to infer that you speak for everyone.
      For example,
      “Monitoring would enable us to distinguish between these two groups.”
      I wonder who this “us” is, Mr Webb?..

      You also write,
      “The need for such a register, combined with regular monitoring is clear.”
      Perhaps to those hellbent on databasing everyone it may be. As for everyone else…no, it really isn’t.

      As has already been amply demonstrated elsewhere in the comments here, more than adequate safeguards already exist to protect children. In point of fact, according to an independent study carried out, statistically school children are at greater risk than those who are home educated.

      So, having exorcised the phantasm of child protection, what remains? That certain self-appointed scrutineers appear to imagine they ought to have the right to examine what a parent considers a suitable education for their child, on the flimsy pretext that…er, well we don’t know about it so we ought to.

      Thankfully such people are in the minority.

      • Simon Webb

        There are a number of reasons why a register of children who have been removed from one school and not sent to another would be useful. This has nothing to do with ‘databasing everyone’; whatever that might mean! One reason for such a register would be to prevent people disposing of children as they see fit, without anybody being any the wiser.
        Fred West, as most of us are aware, murdered a number of young women throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties. His wife helped him to do this. In 1971, while her husband was in prison, Rosemary West found herself stuck with Charmaine, his eight year old daughter from a previous marriage. Nobody knows why, but Rosemary West took it into her head to murder the child and bury her in the coal cellar. When he came out of prison, Fred West then chopped up the body and re-buried it under the kitchen floor. For the next twenty three years, nobody was any the wiser. A little girl had been withdrawn from school and then vanished from the face of the earth and nobody took any notice at all!
        This is currently the situation, that anybody can remove a child from school and the child can simply vanish. It is not a satisfactory state of affairs. In fact it is, as Neil Carmichael observed, a scandal.

        • Allen Roland

          Good lord – now EHE parents are being associated with Fred West! Could you get any more ridiculous or farfetched than that?

          From what I can see the proliferation of comments by one ex home educator on this article led me to wonder who he was. Well I discovered his blog and numerous comments posted elsewhere about home education. It is clear to me after a few minutes of internet searching who the real militant is Mr Webb.

          And by the way not just “anybody” can remove a child from school – it has to be the parent or guardian that does so via a formal notification to the school according to a specific piece of legislation. That piece of legislation quite clearly identifies that the parent has removed them to educate otherwise. Rather unfortunately though the legislation does not contain any provision to remove a child from school to murder them. I guess we need to campaign for a register for that too.

        • Ah, the old shroud-waving trick again. Perhaps home educators should be required to dig up their back gardens annually to prove that their children are not buried there – or that any of the thousands of children, under the care of councils, who go missing in this country annually (and whom we never read about in the papers) are not buried there either. As a taxpayer I would like to see councils taking proper care of those for whom they DO have responsibility.

        • ‘As is usual when the subject of home education comes up, the comments on this article are being coordinated by militant home educators via Facebook groups; the intention being to suggest a general opposition to the idea of registration for parents who do not send their children to school.’ Strange how we always find you commenting on these articles. There are very few people who home educate who share your views.

          How many of the children the wests murdered were home educated & how many were schooled? how many home educated children have murdered that werent already known to social services?

    • I agree with Simon Webb. As home educators we have no issue with the registration as long as it then does not lead on to some kind of imposed curriculum. The wonderful thing about home education is the pissiblitly of embracing what is best for your child, following their interests and passions so they can learn in a way that best suits them and enables them to achieve their potential.
      We have always been known to authorities, and have never found any problems with that. I have had concerns about some children who do not receive any education, under the banner of parents claiming they are unschooling (which when done well I have witnessed amazing development in children) but on a minority of cases have witnessed what is verging on neglect. It’s due to those minority of families that I, as a home educators, think a register could be of benefit. But as Simon Webb pointed out the minority of home educators have the loudest voice and do not often represent the entirety of the home ed community.

      • “as it then does not lead on to some kind of imposed curriculum.”

        Therein lies the problem. Compulsory registration is the first step along a slippery slope towards exactly this sort of thing. Too many LAs try to insist that families do this or that when it may be completely inappropriate for the child. A once-a-year interaction with a complete stranger is unlikely to flag up any issues of substance.

        Back in 2009 the government of the day attempted to impose all this and more, and was swamped by the level of rejection from home educators. DCSF held a consultation on the proposals – here it is useful to note that according to their website at the time, most consultations attracted less than a hundred responses – and received over five thousand responses. Assuming most of those came from home educators (at the time there were officially about 20,000 home educated children in England), that’s an amazingly high level of response, and over 90% of those responses were against the proposals.

        So those who are opposed to more regulation are present in large numbers – that’s a lot of militant home educators to coordinate. as a group, home educators prefer to be left alone to educate their children, but when threatened will turn out to be amazingly capable of registering a complaint because they are fighting for their family and their way of life. They are also people who are used to having to work to get what their children need, which is why so many pile in on articles such as this one – no one tells them to go write a comment, drawing attention to the article is enough.

      • HE Parent

        All home educators had the opportunity to respond to the consultation on the Badman Report. A minute minority of those who did were in favour of registration. Are you suggesting that the rest were prevented from responding somehow by the vociferous minority?

        • Simon Webb

          ‘All home educators had the opportunity to respond to the consultation on the Badman Report. A minute minority of those who did were in favour of registration.’
          There were just over two thousand two hundred responses from home educating parents during the Badman Review. Sixteen hundred of these were against any sort of change in the current situation for home education. Interestingly enough, almost a third of those home educators who responded were definitely in favour of registration. This is hardly a minute minority! Another attempt by home educators to rewrite history.

    • Fionna Pilgrim

      Oh my goodness, what a numpty statement from someone you’d expect to know better. Children are only registered at school so that the powers that be can assess how to fulfil their responsibility to parents. LAs are responsible to the parents of the children who are registered with them. My son, also, was never in school, but he was registered at birth and, clearly, was not invisible: his Mational Insurance No arrived and, also when he was 16, he started being sent advertisements by local FE colleges.

    • ” On Facebook groups for home educators, it is common to see parents joining and saying things such as, ‘I have just deregistered my child from school. I don’t know what to do next or how to go about teaching him’.”

      You are stating this, as if it is a negative thing, when ofcourse it is not!
      All parents have to find what works for themselves and their children as they embark on the journey.
      There are MANY ways to educate, using many different types of resources, and when you start is is a matter of trying things and sifting through things to see what works and gels with your children.
      There is NO POINT getting some children to sit down and fill in work sheets all day, as those particular kids might absolutely hate that type of activity, yet thrive when they are doing interactive learning.
      My children enjoy reading and doing online activities and curriculum, and we know that by trying different things.Infact, my children do work 7 days a week out of choice, and are even up early on a saturday morning doing maths on Khan Academy, as they enjoy it so much.
      For what its worth, as a result my year 3 and year 5 kids are doing maths on a grade level 2 years ahead of their peers at school!

      You sound like you have little understanding about how education happens, so anything that doesn’t fit into your little box of “how it should be” according to national curriculum is written off.
      For what it’s worth -YOU DON’T NEED TO TEACH YOUR KIDS!!!!
      A parent is there as a FACILITATOR!!!
      You provide a wealth of resources and your child will learn by doing, and reading and interacting.
      My oldest has his head constantly in a book, and i bet his range of vocabulary at 9 yrs old might rival yours!

    • Fionna Pilgrim

      I think Simon, despite not having sent his daughter to school, is confusing schooling with education and teaching with learning. I never found it necessary to formally ‘teach’ my son, he couldn’t be stopped from learning. Many parents take their children out of school believing that if they are not ‘taught’ as they have been in school they will not be able to learn. This is definitely not true. Children learn more from being able to question an interested and knowledgeable person about a topic that interests them in 10 minutes than they may learn in school in a double period.
      I am not on Facebook (bit of a luddite) but I think he will note that, when new HE parents are advised that they do not need to teach their children, they are not actually being told not to educate them; they are being told that they can return to the style of education that benefited their development before they went to school. Schools have to use the methods they use because they have up to 30 children at a time to whom they need to impart information. Frequently not the ideal way for many children to engage with a subject.
      One problem with monitoring is that LA officials, from a formal, school, background, often can’t think outside the box to see learning happening without testing or teaching; and then will try to intimidate parents. Another problem is that it is likely that monitoring will affect the education; researchers often find that the observations they make affect the outcome-and the effect can be negative.

    • Elaine Cross

      A quick google shows that the highest number of comments on home education in the media, including about other individuals, are by Simon Webb.

      I’m sure that the discussion would be more interesting if that use of personal allegation were avoided, so as not to detract from the subject based responses.

      • Simon Webb

        I am not at all sure what is meant here by the ‘use of personal allegation’. The reason that my name comes up so often is that I always sign with my own name. Many of the small group of home educators who comment on articles such as this use different names for every newspaper, in order to create the impression that there are more of them than is actually the case. The one thing which they do not do in general do is use their real names; presumably because they are too ashamed to do so!

        • Elaine Cross

          Perhaps they do not want to be subject to any untoward behaviour, such as being discussed in an intrusive manner in public.

          Again, Google is helpful, as it brings up Mr Webb’s internet contributions in which we can read intrusive and often offensive commentary about others, apparently chosen simply because they are involved in some way or another with home education.

          Anonymity is often used by people to avoid such unwelcome attention.

          Perhaps we can stay with the subject in hand rather than seeking to divert attention to one man’s hobby horse?

    • Alan Roland

      “As is usual when the subject of home education comes up, the comments on this article are being coordinated by militant home educators via Facebook groups”

      And just how do you arrive at that sweeping generalisation? I belong to no Facebook groups! No one organised me to comment – I have free will and will speak my mind regardless of your ignorant and self serving lamentations. If that makes me appear militant so be it, better that than looking a complete moron whose only contributions to this discussion are non evidenced emotive clap trap “lifted” from the very groups you appear to despise.

  11. Simon Webb

    Another alarming aspect of the exchange in which Neil Carmichael was involved was when Tim Stanley told him, apropos of home education, ‘You should have a right to do it’. Nothing more clearly illustrates the distorted perspective of many home educators and their supporters. Parents do not have a ‘right’ to educate their children as they see fit; they have a ‘duty’. These are two very different things. The children have a right to be properly educated and their parents have a duty to see that this is done. All that is being suggested when people argue for the registration and monitoring of home educated children, is that we ensure that children’s rights are being protected and that we make sure that their parents are fulfilling the duty laid upon them by the law. Some are not fulfilling this duty and it is to identify these individuals that a register is needed.

    • Jonathan Adams

      Actually, I here agree with you.
      Parents do indeed have a duty to educate their children as they see fit.

      Unless and until you are able to adequately define (to someone other than yourself) what constitutes “properly educated” and to provide some compelling evidence that someone other than the parent ought to be the arbiter, thankfully this Orwellian claptrap is likely to get no further.

    • Mark Tanner

      There are a lot of home educators currently screaming, “How dare he! He knows nothing about home education! What an idiot! He clearly hasn’t met anyone who home educates!”
      I suspect if he saw the levels of literacy and numeracy, as well as general coping skills, among many long-term home educated children then he would have a different opinion on the matter. Especially if he spent a lot of time among the more radical unschooling/autonomous community.
      Make of that what you will.

  12. LOL. This is hilarious. Do people really think that creating a register is going to mean no child goes uneducated?

    The register is only useful if there’s regular inspection of every child on the register. Perhaps annually. Because, let’s face it, home-ed varies widely in how it’s done and in each family it can change from year to year.

    But not everybody can conduct such an inspection. They’d have to be qualified AND trained for this specific job. We’d need to start with qualified teachers – and, yes, we have millions of those going spare, don’t we? – and train them to lose their National Curriculum and KS based nonsense to inspect home educators’ myriad ways of (legally) delivering their duty to their children.

    So, a register, regular annual inspections, tens of thousands of new jobs, and ….a multi billion pound budget.

    It ain’t gonna happen.

    And I don’t have a problem with that.

    When the percentage of illiterate and innumerate school leavers – children who’ve spent 12 years in education – is below the same percentage among home educated children, let’s consider that there’s a problem with home ed.

    Till then the problem is school.

    • simon Webb

      ‘When the percentage of illiterate and innumerate school leavers – children who’ve spent 12 years in education – is below the same percentage among home educated children, let’s consider that there’s a problem with home ed.’

      We have no idea at all what the percentage of illiterate and innumerate home educated children might be. This is because we do not have a register of them and consequently have not the least idea how many there are.

  13. Firstly, any child being taken out of schools has to inform the school of that decision. What the school does with that information is firmly in the court of the education system. Surely if this was fed to somewhere central, the opinionated Mr Carmichael will have his ‘register’.

    Secondly, my daughter has been out of the, in my opinion, broken education system for 18 months now, starting her year 8 work this year. The school was informed she was leaving the system and have we had one phone call from the LEA, no, any visit, no. Is it my problem, no – they have been informed.

    Yes there are some people that do nothing with their children once taken out but 99.9% of home educators do well, giving children the knowledge they need to go on.

    If the education ministers actually looked at things such as the severely broken GCSE for example (changes every other years, inconsistent marking therefore leading employers not being able to accurately compare prospective employees) instead of trying to demonise home education, perhaps less people will be taking the plunge.

    Schools are too heavily dependent on exams to ‘judge’ children – the sooner the government realise they are approaching it the wrong way the better. Children at young ages will not be under so much pressure, course work could be assessed and so on.

    Home schooling will soon be the norm as more people realise that state education, like the NHS, is being controlled by people who just don’t understand.

    • Simon Webb

      ‘Firstly, any child being taken out of schools has to inform the school of that decision. What the school does with that information is firmly in the court of the education system. Surely if this was fed to somewhere central, the opinionated Mr Carmichael will have his ‘register’.’
      Not really. Some parents remove their children from school and pretend to be moving to another district or even claim to be going abroad, rather than tell the school that they are intending to home educate. Other parents, I was one, never send their children to school in the first place and so their local authorities are unaware of the child’s existence.

      • Allen Roland

        So you are saying it was okay for your local authority to be unaware of your child’s existence but its now not okay for anyone else to be unknown. How convenient now that you are not a home educator.

    • The school is legally obliged to return information about children being taken off roll to the LA. Depending on the information provided by the parent it will go to different departments. I.E if a parent doesn’t explain what their future plans it will go to the Ed Welfare officer as a potential Child Missing Education. If the parent states they will be HE it will go to the Elective Home Ed officer (which is sometimes the same dept as the EWO).

      • Simon Webb

        ‘I.E if a parent doesn’t explain what their future plans it will go to the Ed Welfare officer as a potential Child Missing Education’.
        This is quite true and is the reason why some parents pretend to be moving abroad when they de-register their child from school. On some Facebook groups for home educators, there are frank discussions about the best way of taking a child out of school without ending up having the CME team chasing the parents. The strategies often entail the mother claiming to be leaving that particular local authority area and explaining that they haven’t yet chosen the next school.

        • If that were to happen, the child would be on the ‘destination unknown’ database, sometimes know as the ‘lost pupil database.’ How long should an LA wait before deciding to act on the lack of information provided, as they are meant to track children through the s2s database as per the ‘Children Missing Education Guidance.’

  14. Sue Gerrard

    English law gives parents a duty to cause their child to have a ‘suitable’ education (s.7 Education Act 1996). The term suitable is defined and clearly means suitable to the individual child. Suitable is not the same as ‘proper’; the law does not assume that there is a standard model of education suitable for all – and for good reason.

    What children need is access to an education suitable to them, in whatever form is most appropriate. If that involves being educated at home, what parents/carers need is access to educational resources not to be put on a register.

  15. I would dispute the notion that there are large numbers of home educating parents not providing a suitable education. As a former HE parent whose child was home educated for six years before going on to further education, I met and spent considerable time with dozens of other home educating families, all but one of which had nothing but the utmost care, concern and acute sense of responsibility for their legal duty regarding their children’s education. Yes, some parents sought advice initially if they were withdrawing their children from school, but they soon found their feet … I would have been more concerned if they were uncertain and hadn’t sought advice. The one family we met who didn’t seem to have any sense of direction and didn’t seem to be concerned about it was interesting, because they had been visited by the LA some time after withdrawing their rather challenging teenagers from school and had received a report full of glowing praise. Our LA ed dept, including the EHE advisers (all five of them that I’m aware of, who came and went over the years), are given to an attitude of what I can only describe as snobbery. There are certain groups of families who will always be perceived as a potential problem and treated with prejudice – single parent families, families who have babies whilst home educating older children, families with children with SEND, families who live in flats, small houses or social housing. When the EHE advisors visit families who live in large, comfortable surroundings, they invariably give them favourable reports, no matter how autonomous they are (and I’m not criticising autonomous HE, just the prejudice of the LA), whilst families who fall into the perceived ‘potential problem’ group will be strenuously criticised for any deviation from the national curriculum and encouraged to teach it. When this particular family I’m thinking of were visited, they showed them their separate study lined with books and overlooking an enormous, well-kept garden, so the report raved over their provision of a quiet, well-equipped study area, although the parent freely admitted – to us, anyway – that they had never used it for HE. She was passively waiting for the kids to find their own motivation to do something other than TV and Facebook, but it never came. There was something about them that just seemed different from the other families we knew – perhaps a sense of commitment that just wasn’t there – but it didn’t altogether surprise me to learn that they went back to school a few months after we met them. Had I (heaven forbid) been the EHE adviser who visited them, they would have been the family who might have caused me a twinge of concern rather than the conscientious but less financially privileged families who were frequently so mercilessly picked on and hounded by the EHE advisers that they finally wised up and refused visits. Unless this sort of ignorant, bullying behaviour by LAs is prevented, or recognised and assiduously stamped out when it happens, I can only think of enforced registration as pernicious.

    • Simon Webb

      ‘I would dispute the notion that there are large numbers of home educating parents not providing a suitable education.’

      Nobody would dispute that there are at least some such parents. The problem is that we do not know within twenty or thirty thousand, just how many home educated children there are in this country. This means that it is difficult to say whether there are large numbers of such parents or only a few. A register would enable us to count the number of home educated children and monitoring would allow us to say whether a lot of them, or only few, were not being provided with a suitable education.

  16. So what is the purpose of a register? What use will be made of the information on it? If it’s kept in the filing cabinet (or on a computer database, to which all proper safeguards have been applied) then that’s a bit pointless. so we have to assume that it is going to be used for something. Enlightened local authorities, such as Cambridgeshire, merely use it once a year to confirm that a child is still being educated at home. Other, less enlightened authorities (of which there are too many) will use it in an attempt to inspect the educational provision of families.

    Most local authorities have a policy which acknowledges that there are many approaches to education, and usually a line or two about how they want to foster good relationships with home educating families. On the ground, you find that some LAs are very dictatorial in their approach, pretty much a “do what we say or else”, so clearly their policies are a waste of space. Inspectors appear to be poorly trained, very often the home education role is only a small part of their job and there is very little, if any, budget allocated. Back in 2010 when the government of the day wanted to impose registration and monitoring, I raised the issue of qualifications of inspectors because it is obvious that most of then are not qualified for the role. My local inspector (now retired) admitted that having been in the job for several years, he was far more relaxed about different educational methods than when he started, so for several years he was clearly not properly qualified for it.

    If you’re going to inspect, there will need to be a standard against which you perform that inspection, so who defines that standard? given that many home educating families have been failed by the state system, the state is clearly the wrong body to define that standard.

    Then there’s cost. To do it properly, you need a large number of properly-trained inspectors and admin staff to back them up. Back in 2010 I reckoned it would amount to half a billion pounds, all to monitor 20,000 children. Imagine what the school system could do with that extra money for the other seven million children.

  17. Simon Webb

    On Home Education UK today, one of the largest of the Facebook groups for home educating parents in this country, somebody posted half an hour ago, urging parents to spend less time educating their children. She ended her exhortation by saying, ‘Start the Christmas break now. Have fun.’ This typifies the attitude of quite a few home educating parents in this country, who are ideologically opposed to teaching and regard education itself as something of an optional extra for their children! Little wonder that such people are resolutely opposed to any kind of monitoring of the education which they are, or are not, providing for their children.

    • Andi Neilson

      Hello Simon! That is not fair really. The person who wrote that was trying to calm new home educating parents who found it necessary to remove their children from school (due to bullying and similar issues) and were in a panic about what is expected of them, while at the same time dealing with a traumatised child. It is so easy to misrepresent a sound bite.

    • You’ve missed the part about telling new people to take their time to find their feet rather than jump in trying to replicate school at home.
      ‘Start the Christmas break now. Have fun.’ translates to relax

    • Of course the Facebook group post does not say only what you have misquoted above does it Mr Webb? It reads quite differently and does not exhort parents not to educate their children. Let’s try this shall we – Why don’t you copy the entire post into these comments? Oh No, you can’t can you as that would mean seeking the permission of the author beforehand and that would reveal your underhand behaviour. Really Mr Webb, could you just try a bit harder to be a decent, honest and open person instead of the duplicitous malcontent you portray with such skill.

      • Simon Webb

        I ought to explain for those unfamiliar with the world of home education, what this is about. There is a belief among some home educating parents that when a child is taken out of school, then no attempt at formal learning or indeed any sort of education at all should take place for a considerable length of time. This is known in the trade as ‘de-schooling’. On the Facebook group which ‘Dave’ runs, the suggestion is made that a child coming out of school should be allowed to relax, playing computer games and so on and doing no academic work for a period totaling one month for each year that he or she has been in school. This means that if a child began school at four and was withdrawn at the age of fourteen,when she is about to start working towards GCSEs, then she should be given at least ten months or a year to loll around and do nothing in the way of education. It was in this context that we should understand the person whom I quoted.
        ‘Dave’ is of course constantly on hand to help these people deceive their local authority into thinking that they are in fact providing an education for their children. It is for this reason that he is a little touchy about this. The reason that I did not quote the entire post is simple. ‘Dave’ and the woman with whom he runs the Facebook group Home Education and Your Local Authority are in the habit of contacting newspapers and demanding that they remove my comments on the grounds that they constitute harassment/defamation/stalking and so on. They were at this game last week with a local newspaper in the Worcester area. Had I put the whole of the post here, they would have claimed that the person’s copyright was being infringed; another tactic used to try and shut down debate about home education.

        • You really are beyond comprehension. The “Dave” that replied to your Facebook comment above is not the Dave you think he is. I dont run a Facebook group – I am a different Dave and one who has called you out fair and square but you dont have the moral fibre to respond to the point put to you. Instead you have decided to try and attack at a personal level which is pretty much what you do everywhere that you post. I see you for who you are and you aren’t fooling anyone.

          • Simon Webb

            ‘has called you out fair and square but you dont have the moral fibre to respond to the point put to you. ‘

            You will forgive me if I say that I do not actually know what your point is! I only quoted the end of the post, because that summed up the gist of the thing; that parents should not be in a mad rush to educated their children when they have removed them from school. The subject of the post was de-schooling and the point was that home educating parents should not worry about educating their children and that if they do nothing educational between now and Christmas; then that is fine. The comments on this post confirm that this is how it was understood by the home educators who read it. One mother says that she will be de-schooling until Christmas; effectively giving notice that she will not be troubling herself about her 8 year-old and 10 year-old’s sons for the next three months. Another parent explains that she and her children have spent their days crocheting and watching DVDs. This sort of thing is standard for many home educating parents. It is by no means uncommon for parents to remove their children from school and then, at the urging of other parents, allow them to do nothing for a year.
            What actually is this point which I do not have the moral fibre to address?

        • Got a life thanks

          deschooling has a maximum amount of time so it wouldnt be as long as you have suggested.
          ‘Another parent explains that she and her children have spent their days crocheting and watching DVDs’ 2 of my children love watching the magic schoolbus dvds which are very educational you should try watching them you may learn something. not everyone should be trying to teach their kids the same way schools do considering the reason for a lot of home educators taking their children out or not sending them in the 1st place is due to too much testing & not a lot of actual learning. by the way my son was 10 by the time he was removed from school & could not read or write. 2 different schools failed him. he learnt to write by writing down the names of computer games he wanted to buy, he even added up all the amounts too & there we have maths as well as english all to help him in the real world which everyone knows you dont live in mr webb

        • James Gunter

          The ‘Home Education and Your Local Authority’ group has always been an interesting place. It’s amazing that, with nearly 4,000 members, much of the membership have never considered that their paranoid and often delusional ramblings are not well known to the authorities. In fact, with so much discussion there on how to subvert the system, often encouraging lies and deceit, I’m amazed that the rest of us have not been forced into compulsory registration and inspection long ago. I suppose it’s only a matter of time.

          • How would you know that, given that you’re not a member of the group, unless you’re one of the pseudonym people about whom Simon is so concerned? Although from your description above, it’s probably not the same group because I certainly don’t recognise the content as matching your description.

      • Elaine Cross

        Some children do need a period of adjustment and the English guidance recognises that fact:
        ‘It should be appreciated that parents and their children might require a period of adjustment before finding their preferred mode of learning and that families may change their approach over time.’

        This is a sensible approach as most people do not wish to ‘hot house’ their children or provide ‘school at home’, so they need to be flexible in order to best adjust to their own child’s learning style. That adjustment will take time depending on the child. Meanwhile an education must take place, but it need not look like the education a ‘hot houser’ or ‘school at home’ exponent would prefer.

        It can be difficult for more rigid types to recognise education that is not of their preferred method. Not everyone feels that their favoured child must get into Oxford, some children have the ability to do so if they work extremely hard or are pressured enough by their parent, but those for whom it is not their natural bent can suffer for that approach.

        Many parents recognise the need for a child to learn through play in the early years and do not start formal education until aged 7 or so, that is a sound idea used successfully in many nations with better educational outcomes than the UK has.

        In other cases the child has suffered severe stress, sometimes to the point of suicide, at school. In that circumstance a parent will rightfully prefer to have a live child than a child who is demonstrably learning. Cases of suicide through exam stress hit the press every year. How sad that the child might have lived given more understanding.

        One method is never correct as human beings do not have one character, or one learning style. Most people are open to that idea, accepting that it is one man’s right to hot house his daughter even if they do not like the method, or that it is one man’s right to ‘unschool’ his daughter if they find that frankly odd.

        We are a mixed society and we accept mixed ideologies. Try it, it really won’t hurt too much.

    • Ah, hearsay evidence now. Given that, as far as I know, you are not a member of that group, you are quoting something completely out of context.

      Simon’s attitude is similar to that of those LA inspectors who think that there is only one correct way to educate a child whereas in reality there is a wide range of methods, not all of which are suited to all children and so parents will adapt their approach as necessary. I don’t blame parents for not wanting someone with fixed ideas to intrude on their family life and cause disruption.

  18. I am inclined to agree with the point made by Elaine Cross about the number of comments made being made by one individual – I wonder why he militates against home education to such a degree – perhaps his experience of it was not as positive or rewarding as so many other children and parents have discovered it to be.

  19. Simon Webb

    ‘I am inclined to agree with the point made by Elaine Cross about the number of comments made being made by one individual’

    An interesting point indeed! The reason why it appears that I make more comments than some others is of course that I invariably use my own name. The members of the small group of home educators, to whom I refer above, never use their own names and have dozens of different identities; typically one for each different newspaper where they are commenting. So Dave, who has commented above, was using the pseudonym ‘llondel’ last week to comment on a newspaper published in the Midlands. The woman with whom he runs a Facebook group for militant home educators, Home Education and your Local Authority, has in the last few weeks used any number of identities; Eleanor Rigby, Not Computer Illiterate and 070017Wendy being just three of them. The result is that these people are able to charge around the Internet commenting all over the place, without anybody suspecting that there are only really half a dozen of them. This is why it appears that I am the most prolific of those who comment; because I am not afraid to use my own name.

    • Actually, if they’ll let any of my comments through moderation, you will find out that “Dave” is not me. I use one of three options depending on what a site will let me use when I register. I always associate it with the cat icon, which this site appears to want to display, where possible.

      I guess you’ve run out of arguments now if you’re complaining about pseudonyms.

  20. The “Dave” you refer to is not the Dave with the pseudonym “llondel”. I have no idae who that Dave is but from the pointers you have given in your comments I went and looked for references to “llondel”. He seems like a smart guy, clever, warm and knowledgeable and not prone to petty misdirection such as is presented in your comments. This “Dave” by the way is Dave Newham, and if you have a problem with there being more than one Dave in the world I guess thats your problem to deal with not mine. I think you may need to speak to a professional about your paranoia though – it seems to be increasing.

    • Simon Webb

      I have no difficulty at all in believing that there is more than one Dave in the world. However, when somebody called Dave says that;
      ‘The reason why registration is not a good idea for home educators is that it amounts to a licsening scheme. In practice what starts as a simple list of names and addresses morphs into ever more onerous and intrusive practices by local authorities and pretty soon parents have lost control over the legal duty they have to ensure their children are educated’ and then goes on to claim not to be Dave Hough;m I am intrigued. This would suggest that there are two Daves commenting on obscure articles mentioning home education in the United kingdom, both of who use identical phrases when talking on the subject. This strains credulity to the absolute limit! The section quoted above, by the Dave commenting here, is word for word the same as something said a short while ago elsewhere by Dave Hough. Still they do say that real life is stranger than fiction.

  21. The point about your moral fibre Mr Webb is that you claim to be the only one who invariably uses his own name and that is supposedly admirable. But this bothers me you see as the two facebook groups you claim to have so much knowledge of are both private groups and you sir are not a member of either of those groups. So either you are trolling in those groups under a pseudonym or have convinced some other person in those groups to feed information to you for your petty mischief making. Hardly a demonstration of your moral fibre now is it? Dave (Not Dave Hough) Newham.

    • ..or maybe someone in the groups feels the info might interest Simon, why does it need Simon to convince them?

      I’m aware of one particular instance of someone PM’ing Simon with information because they thought he was someone they might get on with.

    • Simon Webb

      I am still at a loss to know what all this might have to do with my moral fibre. You do know, don’t you, what is meant by the expression? It does not have anything at all to to do with morality. We are presented with two possibilities; either I have joined Facebook groups under a false name or persuaded a member of the groups to share information with me. In fact, neither is true. Because these groups are used to coordinate efforts by parents to trick local authorities and to deceive them about what is going on in various areas, local authority officers, teachers and other professionals join the groups and then exchange the information found there. I have no need to persuade people to share information; it is all over various lists to which I belong. I am often sent emails containing particularly bizarre statements by supposedly home educating parents and so tend to hear these things pretty well as soon as they appear. It is because of the awful things being said by parents on these groups, among other things, that so many professionals are profoundly uneasy about the practice of home education in this country.

        • Elaine Cross

          Interestingly there are 56 comments visible to me currently, of which 20 are by one man. So far containing 16 allegations of illegal, or improper, behaviour by home educating parents in general. In addition, he has made comments about individuals.

          A conversation that should be about the news article, has become a vehicle for criticising home educators and suggesting that they indulge in criminality and improper actions. Yet no evidence exists of such behaviour.

          At the same time a mysterious, but small group of ‘militant’ home educators are purportedly ‘flooding’ comments sections and yet 35.7% of the comments here are by one person.

          Unless I have miscounted there are comments by another 17 people. One wonders if they are all actually militant women called Dave!

          In practice, by far the majority of home educating parents are good, loving and excellent at what they do. It is quite clear from previously home educated adults, that by far the majority are happy, gainfully employed people who are well rounded individuals.

          When state education is looked at in comparison, it is clear from government published accounts, that fewer than 60% of the children going through those systems pass the number of GCSEs that same government considers to be the minimum number acceptable. Numbers of those state educated individuals on state benefits or unemployed tell a different story to that of home educated adults.

          In short, yes home education may fail a tiny number of children for a short time, but they are actually quickly weeded out by home educating groups and families such as those that are criticised here. Why? Because to do otherwise invites ill informed rhetoric such as we see here. The system is simply not broken and does not need fixing.

          Perhaps we can go back to the actual point: Mr Carmichael would do well to have a chat to Graham Stuart MP, his predecessor in post. Mr Stuart took the time to learn the facts about home education and would, I am confident, wipe the mist of misinformation from Mr Carmichael’s eyes.

          • Simon Webb

            ‘In practice, by far the majority of home educating parents are good, loving and excellent at what they do. It is quite clear from previously home educated adults, that by far the majority are happy, gainfully employed people who are well rounded individuals. ‘

            This may well be true, but is wholly irrelevant. How many of the 30,000 to 80,000 home educating parents in this country do you actually know though? And what are your grounds for thinking that the majority of adults who were home educated are happy? This is the kind of waffle which is often put forward in defence of home education. Where are you finding these data?

            ‘When state education is looked at in comparison, it is clear from government published accounts, that fewer than 60% of the children going through those systems pass the number of GCSEs that same government considers to be the minimum number acceptable.’

            Are you measuring an effective education by the number of GCSEs which a child passes? If so, what percentage of home educated children reach this level?

        • Simon Webb

          ‘A person with moral fibre does not do things to intentionally harm others.’

          Ah, I see now why I didn’t understand the point which you were making. Moral fibre has no reference at all to doing things which harm others. It is rather the strength to pursue one’s own views forcefully and to act in a way which one feels is correct; even if this is a mistaken belief. Even if I were, as you suppose the case to be, hideously mistaken in my ideas, it was still be possible for me to be possessed of a good deal of moral fibre; even in my defence of a mistaken point of view.

  22. Allen Roland

    I am still trying to determine what the actual “scandal” is? Have hundreds of home educated kids turned up dead somewhere? No. Are there hundreds of home educated kids suddenly being put on the child protection register? No. You get the drift…

    The only scandal I can see is that parents wanting what is best for their child have learned that some of the schools they had thought they could rely on to provide a suitable education and keep their kids safe from bullying, sexual abuse and such like are not such suitable places for their children.

    Mr Carmichael alludes to this when he says “I don’t want to have schools all over the place for every possible interpretation of what’s good for a child or we’ll end up having more home education.”

    So the scandal is that schools cannot cater for the strict and proper interpretation of Section 7 of the Education Act for each individual child and as a consequence home education is on the rise. Sounds to me like the parents have taken a deeper interest in their child’s education welfare and stepped up to take direct responsibility for the duty they have. How many studies have shown us that parental involvement in education have a significant positive bearing on their children’s education. You can’t have it both ways – parents need to be involved in their children’s education and then when they do so criticise them for doing just that!

    A register of home educated children does not “fix” anything. Before fixing something one has to know what it is that is actually broken and I have yet to see any politician, government employee or expert of any kind come up with any hard evidence that something in home education is broken and needs to have tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer money to fix it.

    When I am presented with such evidence I will listen to it but for as long as there is only political rhetoric and emotional scaremongering I will oppose registration in order that I may keep at arm’s length the Local Authority officer who tries to tell my children how they ought to be educated.

  23. Simon Webb

    It is worth remembering that there is considerable support for the registration of home educated children among home educators themselves. In 2009, Graham Badman reviewed the legal situation around home education and invited home educating parents to send him their views. About a third of them were definitely in favour of registration. Fiona Nicholson, who was quoted in the article above, was not opposed to registration at that time and, for all I know to the contrary, is still in favour of it.

    • “It is worth remembering that there is considerable support for the registration of home educated children among home educators themselves.”

      I don’t think you can claim that a third of any surveyed population has ever constituted a genuinely “considerable” proportion. Surely, the term “considerable” should be reserved for the two thirds who, in fact, did not actively support a register? I think it is also relevant to point out that the data in this report is now almost seven years old. Since that time, a whole new generation of parents and children have made the decision to home educate (myself among them). Their opinions therefore, are not reflected in the report.

      Personally, I am against a register of home educators. I think that children registered with a GP in the UK should have to state their place of education and if they are home educated, should have to have a yearly physical. I also believe all children should legally have to see their dentist at least once a year, regardless of educational status. This, surely, would address any safeguarding issues?

      In terms of education, it is right that parents have a duty to educate their children but to assume that children registered in schools are somehow protected from ‘falling through the gaps’ or from being failed educationally is a fallacy. There are many children all over Britain attending schools in which they are being failed. My own daughter, who I have been home educating for the last few months, attended a state primary that was scored ‘excellent’ by OFSTED. Athough she was happy socially, it was clear that the teachers and school system were causing her huge anxiety and that the curriculum was boring her rigid. Despite starting school at four completely literate, loving learning, and immensely bright, she had progressed very little in six years. She no longer read for pleasure, hated all of her classes, resented her teachers, and resented me for sending her. After a little time teaching her at home, I discovered that despite being in the ‘top set’ for maths, she had little understanding of even basic mathematical principles. Indeed, she could not even multiply two, two-digit numbers on paper. I think I pulled her out in time but when would this have been noted I wonder?

      I would have to ask where in my story is the proof that monitoring, registration, and surveillance, protects young learners from inadequate educational provision? I made attempts to explain my concerns to the school but was, as many parents are, dismissed as being unimportant. That I am an educated woman was deemed largely irrelevant: I was not an ‘educator’. (Before you say “Aha!, YOU were well educated in a system that employed monitoring”, I firmly believe that my schooling too, let me down. I became a postgraduate in spite of, not because of, a ‘well monitored’ education system. It was, quite frankly, barely fit for purpose and most of my pre-university learning was autonomous).

      I would also like to ask the so very knowledgeable Mr. Webb where we should draw the line? You cannot arrest or fine a parent for failing to read to their under-five and yet most educational psychologists would agree that this puts the child at a severe disadvantage. I would say that it might constitute educational neglect and yet it is not an offence.

      If a child is unable to do basic mathematics at the age of ten, with no previous indication of an SEN, is this educational neglect? Possibly. Why then is it that it can happen in a school, with its systems, controls, and registers? Is this proof that a register of children and those undertaking to educate them, in some way protects or maintains the quality of the education offered? I think not.

      The fact is that most parents, myself included, don’t want a register of home educated children because it would in no way benefit the children or families on it. It is the first step on the road to being forced to follow the National Curriculum and for myself and many families, the NC is a large part of why they choose to deregister. Frankly, the powers that be have used the state education systen to prove, quite effectively, that they are not to be trusted with the educational well-being of Britain’s children. Why then would they be qualified to register and pass judgment upon the thousands of home educating families that have chosen to opt out of their ridiculous system?

  24. I appreciate that home schooling can be good for some. However there are some children that are so called home schooled who are not being taught at all but are left to their own devices to merely play day after day. Despite being brought to the attention of the local authorities that as the law stands nothing can be done to check on them.
    Only one parent has to agree to home school and a child is never assessed or spoken to which is ridiculous even when they have been brought to the attention of the authorities. As the law stands the authorities have to take what a parent tells them they are teaching is the truth when in fact it may not be!
    I have written to the prime minister and the education secretary who will not change the law and seem happy for a child to miss out on the education ever child has a right to receive.
    The situation is just appalling and unbelievable that a child in this day and age can go through all their school years with barely being able to read or write let alone have any idea about any other subjects!
    In my opinion educational neglect is a form of child abuse and should not be allowed to happen but there appears this will not change unless the law is amended.