Home learning

The home education community feels that the time is right to raise awareness of the issues surrounding this least exposed sector of the profession.

"We'd like to talk to teachers and LEA representatives about home education, to explain the support services available and to lay to rest some of the myths that still exist," says Mike Fortune-Wood, who runs the country's largest independent related website. "Teaching staff need to understand that for many children, home education is a viable option which is structured, well supported and leads to enviable outcomes on all levels."

Mr Fortune-Wood, who teaches his four children at home, is convinced that the qualifications gained by home-educated youngsters are at least as good as those of school-based pupils.

To raise the profile of home education, his organisation has taken a stand at the Education Show with the charity Education Otherwise, a group of home-educating parents. About 50,000 home educators are teaching children in this way, using a variety of approaches. Although bullying is a common reason for parents to withdraw their children from school, it is by no means the only one.

"The restrictions of the national curriculum and the over-emphasis on targets and assessments are often cited," says Fortune-Wood, "but at heart it comes down to the desire to give their children an experience of learning tailored to their interests." Stand C364

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