What is happening with home education in England and
Page last updated April 2010
why you should get in touch with your MP
Children Schools and Families Bill is now in the House of Lords
where it will run out of time before the imminent General Election.
The future of home education in England will be decide in a few days of political haggling known as the "wash-up" between front bench spokespeople from Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. The "wash-up" is likely to take place from 7th-9th April. It is expected that the Election will be announced on Tuesday April 6th.
A good place to begin is the Education Otherwise information page on the proposed legal changes. This page was last updated on April 3rd 2010.
See our page on how to write to your MP including a sample letter.
Please read our new article, entitled "Are Home Educators Worrying About Nothing".
Summary of what the Government is proposing
The Government is trying to change the law on home education in England by means of Clause 26 in the Children Schools and Families Bill.
Home educators would have to apply every year for permission to home educate and parents will be required to work with the local school to draw up an approved education plan. The Government wants all children to be interviewed at least once a year, with special needs children targeted for additional interviews and assessments.
The Government wants interviews "in the place where education is provided to the child" which is widely interpreted as the home. At the end of the year there will be a compulsory annual inspection interview to determine whether home education may continue. The Government has also said that it will determine what is "suitable education" by means of a short review.
The Children Schools and Families Bill does not contain a single proposal for increasing funding, support or improving access to services for home educating families.
As Lord Lucas has pointed out:
"We are considering a section of the Bill which will cost £20 million per annum, which is about £1,000 per home-educated child. These children receive no money to help pay the costs of examinations; no money to buy textbooks; no money to buy materials; no money and no tuition to help them over difficulties in education. Now the Government can find £1,000 for each of these children-and will spend it on auditing them. Not one penny will go to help the children; it will all go on auditing them. What have these people done to deserve that?"
Please help your MP to help home educators
Every one of us can make a difference if we get in touch with our MP. The Government has tried to say that the new law is "about support" but this is categorically not the case and we need to put our MPs straight. We need MPs to pass our concerns to the Secretary of State Ed Balls, because the Government will run out of parliamentary time on this Bill as a result of the timing of the General Election and all legislation will go into "the wash-up".
We have been told that if an MP receives three messages from different constituents on the same issue then it is a hot topic.
Click here for our latest information page on Writing to your MP, including a sample letter.
You may have already spoken or written to your MP, but there is everything to be gained by writing again. If you have never contacted your MP before, this is what you do:
When you write to your MP, use "I" and "we" rather than "home educators" or "parents." Every time you say what the Government is proposing to do to home educators, make sure you spell out why it is bad for YOUR family. Make it personal, not academic or theoretical.
More information can be found here.
Visit Your MP
If possible, please make an appointment to see your MP. Your message will be much stronger and more memorable if you can speak to your MP face to face.
You can find details of the constituency office and surgery hours by putting your MP's name into google plus "constituency office". Alternatively you can look on your local council website. Surgeries are often held at the end of the week, either on Friday or Saturday when the MP returns from a week at Westminster.
You can find out more visiting your MP here.
MPs generally offer between ten minutes and half an hour for an appointment at the local constituency surgery. This is a chance to let your MP know what is really in store for home educators with the Children, Schools and Families Bill and to ask your MP to pass your concerns directly to the Secretary of State, Ed Balls.
It is very effective if you can get together with other home educators locally and make an appointment for a group visit to your MP. This has been done to good effect in various areas including East Sussex, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, London and South Yorkshire.
Education Otherwise web page on Government proposals with links to short articles
Education Otherwise YouTube Channel, film clips between 3 and 9 minutes