There was some discussion yesterday of the fact that many parents home educate because the school which their children attends does not come up to scratch. This can be for serious reasons, such as that it does not protect a child from bullying or cater sufficiently for some special educational need or for more trivial causes such as failing to allow time off for chess practice. The remedy is to improve the standard of maintained schools and make it plain that they are at fault if a parent feels so dissatisfied that she deregisters her child. The government in Westminster should pursue an aggressive policy of keeping track of the number of parents who feel forced to home educate.
I look forward to the time when home educated children are being taught at home not because the school has failed them, but becuase this is a positive choice by their parents. I think that if this situation could be achieved and that parents really did have a choice in the matter, then it might ease the minds of those who are currently a little dubious about the whole business of home education in this country. As long as we are in a position where a large proportion of parents are educating their children because they feel that they have been forced to do so, then many home educating parents will be angry and frustrated, while at the same time a lot of professionals will be uneasy at the idea of parents who are probably ill-equipped to undertake the job but are nevertheless being pushed into home education.
It seems to me that this is one of the crucial points in the debate on home education in this country and that if we could get rid of what Graham Badman described as 'home education by default' and make sure that all parents were home educating because they actually wanted to do so; then things would be a lot better all round.