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Home schooling faces crackdown amid radicalisation fears
EB News: 21/12/2015 - 10:29
Officials are set to review home-schooling amid fears that children may become radicalised by parents.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is reportedly preparing tougher regulation for home education after it was revealed that the exact number of children being educated at home was unknown.
The Independent estimates that between 20,000 and 50,000 children are thought at home, but the exact figures are not known as parents are under no obligation to inform their local council.
The new proposals look to set up a specific point of contact at local councils for parents and teachers in order to raise concerns about a child, as well as introduce new measures to discover how many children are being home-schooled beyond the reach of inspectors.
A government source told the Independent: “There has always been the freedom in this country for people to educate their children at home. Many people do it very well. But we need to know where the children are and to be certain that they are safe. For every parent doing a brilliant job, there may be someone filling their child’s mind with poison. We just don’t know. We don’t have reliable figures.”
However, the idea of keeping a formal register has faced opposition. Fiona Nicholson, of the Home Education Consultancy, said: “Any investigation would lead me to suspect they are going down the route of compulsory registration for parents to have to tell somebody that this is what they are doing. I’m against that – you can’t separate it from having to ask permission.
“You can disagree with lots of ways parents bring up their children but until a crime has been committed, or there is a substantial child-protection issue, I don’t think it’s anybody’s business. It’s more than a slippery slope, it’s off a precipice really.”