Hope for the home-schooled
However, this ignores the growing band of home-educators who are quite lawfully not registered with a school because their parents are frustrated with the rigidity of the school system and choose to educate them otherwise than at school.
For such children, part-time attendance at college when they are ready to sit GCSE examinations can offer a congenial route back into full time education. Unfortunately, under the present financial arrangements, students under 16 may be asked to pay the extortionate overseas students rate which most people cannot afford.
This seems particularly unfair, as by home educating, the parents have saved the state the considerable amount of expenditure that it would otherwise have paid the school and their child has benefited by being given an alternative to school environment that they have often tried and found uncongenial.
Unlike children who have been forced to remain unhappily at school, home-educated children can bring an enthusiasm and freshness to their college studies.
I am therefore pleased to read that the Association of Colleges is calling for a more flexible system of finance to support the attendance of under-16s in college courses and hope that the post-Tomlinson era will give wider opportunities to this group of learners.
Anne Longmuir 29 Woodcote Green Fleet Hampshire