Home school proposal fury
Written byRICHARD CASTLE
Proposed changes announced in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday could see inspectors given powers to interview children in their parents' absence.
The proposals come after an "independent" report concluded the number of home-schooled children known to social services was "disproportionately high".
The report's author, Graham Badman CBE, has a long-standing association with the Government.
Astrid Brand, who has homeschooled two of her children, claims the report is an example of "policy-based evidence making".
The Marchington resident is compiling a parliamentary petition, which she will hand to Burton MP Janet Dean on November 30, in a bid to stop the move going through.
Ms Brand, 40, said: "There really isn't any compelling evidence that children educated at home are suffering.
"Only 25 local authorities used in Mr Badman's research responded to his questions that is too small a pool of evidence to draw any meaningful conclusions.
"His report says we need to listen to children's views about how they should be educated, but who's listening to those being educated in schools who would rather explore alternatives? "It's a parent's responsibility to make sure their children are being educated and most people choose to leave that to schools, which is fine.
"But that might not always be the best way to go about it and children may want something different." German-born Ms Brand's eldest son, Gregor, was pulled out of school when other pupils turned on him after a history lesson about the blitz.
She said he was "bored" by school and, since she has been teaching him, he achieved a GCSE A grade in German aged 11 and an A* in French aged 13.
Now 15, he attends Thomas Alleyne's High School, in Uttoxeter, where he is on the "gifted and talented register".
Ms Brand, of Jacks Lane, said: "I believe home schooling is the way forward for my children. I believe it gives them a more realistic social life than they would get in school.
"We organise loads of events and workshops for home-schooled pupils of all ages and demographics, giving them a more diverse mix of youngsters to mix with.
"All the teachers at Alleyne's comment on how mature Gregor is and I think a lot of that's down to his early education."
- Queen's defends having sales staff in maternity ward
- Travellers move in at town leisure centre
- Burton taxi firms anger at licence fee hikes
- POLL: 'Unglamorous' Burton is becoming a holiday hotspot
- Absent councillor treating residents with contempt, claims parish council
- Stanhope closure causes cop chaos