David Cameron writes in support of Home Education freedom

Carlotta has posted an encouraging letter from David Cameron the Leader of the Conservatives.

” I share your concern about the direction the review has taken. I was impressed by the commitment that you as home educators have shown to your children. You and many others make sacrifices, forgo income, put careers on hold and battle bureaucracy in order to give your children extra care and attention. I think such commitment is admirable, and the taint of suspicion which this review has allowed to hang over home education is deeply regrettable.

I strongly believe that we should trust parents more when it comes to determining the shape of their children’s education and the whole thrust of our policies for schools are driven by a desire to give parents more control. While improving state education is our principle mission, I am deeply committed to respecting individual choice and there are many reasons, some very personal, which may incline families to opt for home education. I want a future conservative government to support them in that choice.

Of course I am also determined to ensure we have the highest standards of child protection and safeguarding in this country, but I share your concerns about the way in which issues of home education and child protection have been conflated in a way which seems to me unfair on so many exceptionally dedicated, and loving parents.

My apologies for the delay in replying. I have actually taken the time to talk to my Head of Policy, Oliver Letwin MP, who has been having his own discussions with Michael Gove MP about how we respond to the Badman Report. This is resulted in a newly-approved early day motion which Conservatives will sign. I have attached a copy of it here and I hope you will agree that
it moves matters forward in terms of our response in this very important
issue.

David Cameron.

The EDM that he wants all Conservatives to sign is:

EDM 1785
That this house acknowledges and celebrates the hard work of the many home educators in Britain who teach their children to an exceptionally high standard; recognises the excellent value they represent to the government; notes with concern the conflation of welfare concerns with education issues in government statements on home education; further notes with concern the
recommendations of the Badman Review which suggest closer monitoring of home educators, including a compulsory annual registration scheme and right of access to peoples homes for local authority officials; and calls on the government to focus on its own ability to fulfil the every child matters objectives rather than undermine the independence and integrity of home educators by enforcing the Badman recommendations.

All this looks very promising, but as an Anon commenter has pointed out there is no promise to repeal any draconian laws passed by this Government, no strong words on how the Conservatives would ensure the rights of families were protected. David Cameron has renaged on other promises so this carefully written letter doesn’t offer much- but it does offer a glimmer of hope and perhaps we can push for a statement that is just a little more concrete.

I am also very disapppointed to see on Facebook that Michael Grove MP (Con) has written an almost identical letter. I believe it is well past time that individual MPs began to think for themselves and on important matters such as the trampling the rights, duties and freedoms of families a more concerted effort would be welcomed.

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