My personal position on home education

I educated my own daughter from the summer of 1998, when she turned five, until June 2009. My experience of home education before then stretches back to 1972 and I am still involved with helping parents deregister their children from school. The idea that I am opposed in any way to home education is too absurd for words. I thought it worth reminding any new readers of this; I have been associated one way and another with home education for many years and am devoted to the idea. I have also written one of the few academic books on the subject to have been published in this country; Elective Home Education in the UK, Trentham Books 2010.

My concern with home education has nothing at all to do with any supposed 'right' to home educate, still less with the 'rights' of parents. This is all such nonsense, both legally and morally, that I cannot spare time even to consider the ideas. Children in this country have both a legal and moral right to receive a good education. The legal right is to receive an efficient, full-time education suitable to their age and ability; parents have a duty in law to ensure that this right is respected. They also have a moral right to see that their children receive the best possible education that can be provided. If they the parents are willing and able to furnish their child with this education themselves, then they should do so. If they cannot do so or do not wish to, then they should send the child to school or engage a governess or tutor.

My only concern in anything to do with home education is the right of a child to a good education. If a parent keeps her child from school and cannot educate him, then the child's right is being denied him. He should be sent to school and if the mother is reluctant to take this step, then legal pressure should be brought to bear. If the child is attending a school which is not providing a good education and the mother or father can do better; then again, the child is being denied something to which he has a legal and moral right. His parents should remove him from the school and educate him at home.

The idea that I am somehow against home education is so foolish and ill-informed that I sometimes get a little irritated. I am now and have been for many years a supporter of the rights of children, both in my professional and personal life. Education is one of those rights, in whatever form it is provided.