3:08pm Thursday 13th August 2009
By Ben Barnett
Parents who educate their children at home are meeting in Bradford to sing “we don’t need no state education, we don’t need no tougher controls”.
Their cover of Pink Floyd’s 1979 hit, Another Brick in the Wall, is being recorded in protest at recommendations made in a report advising closer monitoring of home-taught children.
Techla Wood, 37, is organising the recording session at St Margaret’s Church Hall in Frizinghall next week. Parents and children will contribute by using a mobile music studio which is touring the country.
Graham Badman’s controversial review of home education, commissioned by the Government, recommends a compulsory national register for home-educated children, that parents must provide a clear statement of their educational plans for their child over the coming year and that local authority officers should have the right to access homes and speak with children alone to judge whether they are safe and well.
Mrs Wood, who teaches her six-year-old son Ben and 13-year-old twins Daisy and Chloe, said: “It’s not possible to say what you will be teaching a year in advance. There isn’t a typical school day, it’s child-led education. Every day is different.”
She said allowing strangers into homes to interview children on their own was “very scary”.
She said: “The state school system is in chaos. Every day you hear about problems with SATs, children who are stressed, bullied and who have special educational needs which aren’t being met.”
Married mother of two Fionna Pilgram, 57, of Keighley, is attending the recording session with her home-taught son Christopher, 15.
She said: “My main bugbear with this whole review is that it’s based on a false premise, that home educators were more likely to abuse their children than the rest of the population, and then it erroneously conflated the issues of education and social welfare.”
Around 20,000 children are registered as home-educated in England.
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