Home Education and Unregistered School - the new party policy, in full

12 Mar 2018


9.1.1 While we recognise the rights of parents to choose how their children are educated we believe there is a need for greater supervision of those children who are educated outside registered schools. There have been cases of children who have come to serious harm while invisible to the system because they were being home schooled. The number of such cases is small, and we would not want to see the vast majority of parents who home school their children extremely well put to great inconvenience, but we believe there is a duty to ensure the safety of such children.

9.1.2 There are also examples of unregistered schools which are providing a type of education which would not be allowed in a registered school. Unregistered schools fall entirely outside the inspection and regulatory regimes for ensuring that children are in a physically safe and healthy environment, that they are safe from physical or sexual abuse, and that they receive an education that is fit for purpose and prepares them for adult life. In the most extreme cases, English is not even spoken, so some children will not learn even basic English language skills.

9.1.3 We would therefore require that children who are being educated outside a registered school be visited biannually by a representative of the LA to ensure that appropriate education was being given and that such children are being educated in line with the national curriculum entitlement set out above, with a focus on those who have minimal contact with agencies and are at risk of falling though the system. We would also strengthen the hand of LAs to deal with unregistered schools, including by reviewing the legislation.

9.1.4 Some parents feel they have no alternative to withdrawing their child from the school system because they suffer from bullying, which the school is for whatever reason unable to address. We regard this as a significant failing and do not believe parents should ever be put in this position. Home schooling should always be a genuine choice, rather than a last resort.

From "Every Child Empowered: Education for a changing world" - Policy Paper 128

Adopted as policy by the Liberal Democrats on Saturday 10th March 2018 at the Federal Spring Conference in Southport.

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