Market Drayton Advertiser, Friday, April 30, 2010 – Page 4

This seems to be our final encounter with the press in regard to the Ball-Badman plan to nationalise home educated children in England. We didn’t contact the local media until a few days after the announcement of the wash-up which finally saw the withdrawal of Clauses 26 & 27 from the CSF Bill 2010 and then it took a couple of weeks for the report to appear in the local paper. (Then it took me another 3 weeks to post it here!) Here then is our swan-song.

Peplow pair’s joy as new rules put on hold

A Peplow couple are celebrating victory after the Government’s plans to introduce new rules on home education were put on hold.

Randall and Mary Hardy were among 250 people who joined a protest at Westminster last October against plans requiring parents to register as home educators every year.

But the announcement of the General Election meant that a Children, Schools and Families Bill became law this month without a new licensing scheme for parents who educate their children at home being introduced. Mr Hardy said: “We’re delighted that it didn’t go through and that the two main opposition parties in Parliament understood our concerns and blocked it.”

“But we’re obviously worried that if Labour win the election, the new Government will bring the proposals back in the form of a new bill as soon as possible.

“Our campaign has been a success in that a lot of MPs across all parties are now better educated about home education than they were 12 months ago.

“We can’t predict the outcome of the election but we’re hopeful that whatever the situation, these proposals won’t go through as they stand.”

Mr and Mrs Hardy, who have been home educators for 20 years, helped. to collect 120 separate petitions from around the country which were presented in Parliament last December.

Mrs Hardy said: “We are grateful that both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats kept their word in opposing the relevant clauses when it came to the bills passed prior to the dissolution of Parliament.

“We also want to express our thanks to our MP Owen Paterson for presenting the petition from our constituency and the local press for featuring items on the difficulties which home educators were facing and helping us to raise the profile of the issue. It is a great relief to be able to get on with the task in hand, without having to keep one eye on the situation at Westminster all the time.”

Janice Stackhouse, Shropshire Council’s principal education welfare officer said: “Due to the pending election, the Government’s review of home education has been put on hold. In the meantime,. Shropshire Council will continue in supporting families who chose this option.”

“The relationship between home educating families and the council is a good one, with parents and local authority officers working together to ensure children achieve the education to which they are entitled.”

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