My wife, who is a social worker, was laughing recently when I told her of the idea of giving home educating parents the Age Weighted Pupil Unit. She pointed out that a number of the clients with whom she works hate having to get up in the mornings to take their children to school. Their only incentive for doing so is that they can get shot of the kids for the day. If they were to be told that not only did their children not actually have to attend school, but that they would also be entitled to a couple of thousand pounds a year for keeping them at home, then there would be an explosion of 'home education' in some areas.
I am bound to say that this is a good point. I myself work with families for whom fiddling the social and making dubious claims is a way of life. If they thought that it was possible to claim money for not sending their children to school, quite a few of them would be queuing up to deregister their children. Actually, many parents still have the idea that they are obliged by law to send their children to school. In many cases, this is a wholesome, if mistaken, thing for them to believe. I for one would not like it to become common knowledge that they could if they wished simply stop sending their kids to school. For a lot of the children whom I meet, school is the only little bit of order and sanity in their otherwise chaotic and disordered lives. Many of them would be worse off if they were to lose this.
I am not, I hasten to add, suggesting that all the families with whom my wife and I work are greedy and mercenary wretches. I just feel that my wife is right and that the lure of an extra few thousand pound might prompt them to embark upon yet another scam to the detriment of their children. That's the great advantage of being married to a social worker; you get a fresh, if cynical perspective on these matters!