With a new government now in office, it is a good time to reconsider the case for government funding for home schooling.
At the moment, funding via the Local Authority (LA) is only available in exceptional circumstances, for instance that the child has special educational needs.Â The Dept of Education hasÂ confirmed that this situation has not altered:
“The current financial responsibility for home educated children has not changed, namely, that parents who choose to electively home educate their children assume financial responsibility for their education. “
As the number of home-educated children has grown rapidly over the last five years, the previous government (after the Badman Review) put forward plans to monitor home-schooled children and there is no doubt that the present government also feels compelled to ensure that there is adequate control over this growing sector. A commitment to funding would demonstrate a greater acceptance of the validity of home education and a desire to facilitate improvements in the educational experience of the home-schooled.Â In time, it would stimulate the development of more effective published resources, more varied and systematic teaching resources, technological advances, etc.
The new government has already shown aÂ commitment to academies and ‘free’ schools, enabling parents to group together to set up a new instituation, with the promise of funding to come.Â The home-schooled may not have a central meeting place or regular classrooms but they are an educational grouping which is analogous to a school and just as much in need of institutional support. So funding should be available for them too.
Education Otherwise is one organisation which represents the interests of the home-schooled via the Freedom for Children to Grow Campaign for Home Education, and we are happy to join with them in lobbying for the effective funding in future for the home schooling of children, particularly between the ages of 11 and 16 when it is vital that effective teaching programmes are put in place.
As well as putting our views to Michael Gove, the Minster for Education, it may be worth making a case to Nick Gibb, the Minster of State for Schools, whom the Dept of Education has confirmed has responsibility for home schooling.