Once again, there seems to be a little confusion between duties and rights. Since they are connected, although remaining quite different things, it is worth looking at this question and seeing how it relates to home education.
A right is something which the law guarantees somebody. I am going to leave aside the question of abstract moral rights, because unless one is a theist, such rights are an irrelevance. In British law, children have a right to an efficient education, suitable to their age and ability and also having regard to any special needs which they have. Now any right of this sort which anybody has, must be associated with corresponding duties on the part of others. In the case of the child's right to an education, the parent has the duty to ensure that the child has this right; that he or she is actually provided with an education. So far so good. Rights create duties as a matter of routine; one cannot have a right without others having a duty to respect that right. Now for the confusion, confusion to which even Nick Gibb seems to have fallen prey. He talks in his letter of 'the rights of parents to home educate their children'. This is sheer lunacy. The idea now becomes that there are two sets of people with rights and that one must balance up the rights of one set against the rights of the other. This confusion has arisen through faulty logic and wooly thinking. Many people are vaguely aware that rights create duties and so they have extended the idea by suggesting that the process works in the opposite direction and that duties may also create rights.
This idea of duties creating rights for the person upon whom the duty has been thrust is not tenable philosophically, but we do not need to get bogged down in arguments of that sort. It is enough to look at the legal position of parents to see that such a right does not and cannot exist. It is the duty of parents to cause their children to receive an efficient education. Let us take an extreme example; that of a person with severe learning difficulties, non-verbal and barely able to feed herself, who has nevertheless become pregnant and given birth to a child. This has actually happened; this is not merely a gedanken experiment. This parent has all the usual rights in law that everybody else has. Being learning disabled does not mean that she has any fewer rights than the rest of us; this is obvious both legally and morally. If, as has been suggested, there is a 'right' of parents to home educate, then she too is possessed of this right. She cannot speak or even take care of herself properly and yet it is being seriously suggested by some of those commenting here that she has a legal 'right' to educate her child. Is this really what those who are talking of a 'parental right to home educate' mean? Are they really trying to say that there is a universal and legal right which all parents of whatever ability have and which is guaranteed by law? I am honestly puzzled by such a position and look forward to having it explained to me.