MP backs education campaign
By Iain St John
A campaign spearheaded by two north Shropshire families against controversial Government plans to regulate home education has been taken to the House of Commons.
Randall and Mary Hardy, of Peplow, and Des and Trudy Kinloch, of Weston Rhyn, have played leading roles in the county against new consultation on rules for parents who decided to educate their youngsters at home.
The families believe the proposals will bring about over-regulation of parents and would lead to them having to be “licensed” .
A petition was launched in North Shropshire against the plans, and was one of many similar petitions launched countrywide.
The petition calls on the Government to withdraw its plans for tighter restrictions and monitoring of home educators.
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson last night presented the petition to Parliament.
He said there were various concerns about the consultation, most notably that the Department for Children, Schools and Families tried to imply that home education was being used as a cover for child abuse.
He said: “I find it inconceivable that the department has not provided any evidence for linking home education and child abuse, other than saying it is yet ‘another unknown’.
“I believe it is essential that every child in this country receives a first-class education and one that is suitable to their needs; to achieve that, parents should have the right to choose the education system that best serves their child and home schooling should be included in this choice.
“Parents, who make that choice, should be entitled to the same presumption of innocence and competence that school going children’s parents receive, unless evidence dictates otherwise.”
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