Thousands of parents protest over the State’s first step to end Govt-free schooling

The Times
14.09.2009
By Joanna Sugden

Parents protest at Ofsted inspections for children taught at home

Thousands of parents are prepared to go to court over plans to limit home schooling, The Times has learnt.

Parents whose children are educated at home do not have to register with their local authority and are not inspected. But proposals being considered by the Government would change this and threaten parents’ ability to choose the curriculum for their children

The Badman report, published this year, recommends that home educators should be made to register with councils annually and set out in writing their plans for educating the child for the next year. They would also be inspected.

Graham Badman, the author of the report, said that home education as it stood lacked “the correct balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child either to an appropriate education or to be safe from harm”.

Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, has said that he backs Mr Badman’s findings.

Opponents will gather in Central London tomorrow to demonstrate against the plans and have begun a petition on the No 10 website, which already has almost 3,000 signatories, asking the Prime Minister to reject the proposals.

They claim that implementing the plans will cost councils £150 million a year and put extra pressure on already oversubscribed schools.
Campaigners are also planning to march on Westminster next month.

“We are hoping to get it stopped at this early stage,” Dr Barson said, “But this is a fight to the death. There are people talking about civil disobedience. We would take it to the highest court that we could,” she added.

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