Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home education in Britain

Home education in Britain is unrestricted and works well is an account of home education overseas. 

Here is the start:

Education in Britain is a mess. The complaints roll in. The children are taught less than their grandparents were, but are more pressured by tests and the meeting of other arbitrary targets. They play truant. They are bullied-around 20 children every year commit suicide because of this. They take too many drugs and have too much sex. They are force-fed political correctness. For the past month, the politicians have been issuing competing promises to sort out the mess-as if they had not made it in the first place.

We can be sure of one thing: nothing will improve. Of course, if you can move to the right catchment area, or join the right religion, your children may get a semi-decent education. If you have the money, you can go private and get them a good education. For everyone else, though, it is a matter of what the Prime Minister, with uncharacteristic honesty, calls the “bog standard comprehensive.”

Or is that it? The answer is no. There is an alternative.

The law on education in Britain is clear. Parents have a legal duty to educate their children, but no duty to send them to school. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 reads: “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable: (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b) to any special education needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.” The meaning of this is that you can educate your children at home.

Until quite recently, home education was a common alternative to school. Noel Coward, for example, was educated almost wholly at home, briefly attending the Chapel Royal Choir School. Agatha Christie had no formal schooling before the age of 16. She later wrote that her mother believed “the best way to bring up girls was to let them run wild as much as possible; to give them food, fresh air and not to force their minds in any way”. C.S. Lewis had only two years of formal schooling as a child-part of this at Wynyard School in Watford-a place he later called “Belsen”.

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