Ed Balls and Home Schooling

“Why have you got it in for home-educating families?” asked Siriol Haf Griffiths of Cardiff in The Guardian (16 February 2010). Ed Balls replied as follows:

Home education is a long-standing part of our education system and that should continue. The vast majority of home-educated children receive a good education in a safe and loving environment.”

“But we have to ensure that this is the case for all children. There have been some cases of “home-educated” children being badly neglected. That’s why we are taking forward the recommendations of the independent review of home education, including the call for extra support for home educators, especially where a child has a special educational need. I think people will increasingly see that the proposals are necessary and strike the right balance.”

The view of Oxford Home Schooling is that there is still time to reject the “nanny state” proposals of the Badman Report. Indeed, it is very difficult to see who is in favour of such a 1984ish policy.

Most home educators and home schoolers make a positive decision that they can do a better job outside the mainstream educational system and the last thing they want is to be insidiously re-integrated into that system, without any of the benefits, just some unwanted hassle.

Many parents who are doing an excellent job in home-schooling their children will worry unnecessarily that they will be unable to demonstrate this to the “inspectors” who (they think) will be knocking on their door. Those who favour a relatively unstructured (but perfectly valid) approach to educating their children may feel pressured into a different approach, perhaps even to the point of sending their children back to a school that has not worked well for them in the past.

From our own experience of teaching thousands of home-educated children, we feel certain that the Badman Report, on which government policy is now based, overstates a “problem” or risk that barely exists at all and its approach to dealing with that problem is expensive, counter-productive and profoundly unpopular.

Dr Nicholas Smith,
Oxford Home Schooling

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