Ditch the hysteria and move on to sensible debate

27th April 2007 at 01:00
When is the reporting about home education going to move on from tabloid-style headlines such as "Home schooling fails thousands" (TESS April 6)? When will we see discussion based on evidence and research? When will journalists stop linking home education with child abuse?

Legislation gives education authorities the power to intervene if they are not satisfied that parents are providing efficient education for their children. There is no need to change the law.

If 35,000 children are not receiving a basic education (is there evidence?), then councils are not using their powers.

Perhaps it is a lack of school-type work that distresses Tony Mooney and Myra Robinson? As home education "inspectors", they should know it is education that parents must provide, not schooling.

Education at home can, legally, be different from that provided at school.

It can be less formal. There need not be lessons, teaching or anything that looks like schoolwork, though many families choose to do some formal learning. Parents can allow children to follow their interests rather than teaching compulsory school subjects.

If the inspectors do not recognise variations from the school model, they are in need of education themselves. If they cannot embrace the diversity of education that the law allows, perhaps they are in the wrong job.

Can we have a debate about the real issues in home education? I'd like to see comparisons of different types of education and learning, and what is best suited to individual learners. I'd like to know whether government initiatives for children might have a different effect on those that are educated at home rather than in school.

Rebecca Kail King Street, New Elgin

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