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EO Parliamentary Event Tuesday October 20th

Earlier in the week Education Otherwise held its first event in the House of Commons.

MPs from the three major parties, including members of the Select Committee, found time to come to the event for which we are very grateful. Some stayed for hours, others were only able to drop in for a short time. A number of those who were not able to attend sent regrets, expressed interest in our research and asked to be kept informed.

Ann Newstead presented new research into what home educated children really think. Over 700 children and young people wanted their full response shared with Government Ministers and civil servants.

Barrister Ian Dowty gave a synopsis of the current legal position and the powers and duties of local authority officers. It was stated that the law is sufficient but is not widely understood and that the Government has failed to promote and support its own Guidelines on home education published in 2007.

Dr Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison of the Institute of Education made a brief presentation on informal learning.

Home educators unanimously stated that the Badman recommendations were detrimental to their home education practice and that the Badman Report had seriously undermined and in some cases destroyed good relations with the local authority.

The idea behind the event was to bring home educators and MPs together in order to raise awareness of home education and to give people the chance to talk informally to home educators from many parts of the country to give a flavour of the diversity of home education practice and policy in different regions. Young home educated children got a chance to express their views and to talk about how home education actually worked for them.

One guest told us that the most gripping part of the evening was to hear first hand from a dyslexic home educated young person who had been completely written off by school but who is now at college and is a member of the DCSF Youth Board.

Home educators are not stuck at home isolated from friends and from society and MPs talked to a number of home educating parents who ran or participated in a variety of local groups and networks for home educators.

The topic of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education came up briefly in conversation and we expect further news about this shortly.

Education Otherwise would like to thank MPs Mark Field and Alastair Burt for invaluable assistance in securing the Lloyd George Room at the House of Commons. As always we are immensely grateful to Lord Lucas for his tireless support to home educators.

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