doug: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doug
He can, though, with this particular set of rules. If you send your kid to school, you can't take them out for holidays in term time, but you don't have to send them to school.

The full text of the Supreme Court ruling is here: Basically, Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 sets out the offence of failing to secure regular attendance at school of registered pupil, and the case turned on the definition of "regular attendance". Platt (the father in the case) argued that his kid was regularly attending, with a rate north of 90%; the prosecution case was that deliberately taking your child out for holidays in term time unauthorised as not regularly attending. Now the Supreme Court has made it clear that the prosecution's view was the correction interpretation of the law.

However, there is a way you can overrule these rules about children. The same Education Act 1996 specifies, in Section 7, that:
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable -
(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs he may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

The "or otherwise" clause is a real option, that is taken up by thousands or tens of thousands of home educators take up. I know quite a few - and am a science tutor for one home-educated child at the moment. I seriously considered it for my own kids, and do so again every time there's a conflict between what their school wants them to do and what I think is right. You can expect occasional grief from overzealous officials and private busybodies, much as not owning a TV leaves you open to similar grief. How annoying this is depends partly on how relaxed you are about explaining your strangeness and to a greater degree on your relative societal privilege. But the law is settled and clear: education is compulsory, but school is not.

As an aside: the England-and-Wales tradition here is a bit different to the US one: in North America, most home education is from religious conservatives, whereas here the overwhelming majority are much more liberal-lefty in outlook. Hilarity can ensue when they get together online. Again in England-and-Wales there are home educated kids who've been pulled out of the formal system because it's failed to deal appropriately with their disability, special needs, or bullying. This group of parents tend not to be so skewed politically, but do tend to be better off (not everyone can afford to pass up 30h/w free childcare), and it does seem to be a growing group. I have very little idea about the law or practice in Scotland on this, which is a bit surprising to realise.

I really like the idea that it's a parent's responsibility to ensure that their child is properly educated, not the state's. Most parents delegate this responsibility to the state education system, but delegating a responsibility does not (in my mind) mean you don't need to check that it's being carried out correctly.

Date: 2017-04-07 10:51 pm (UTC)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
From: [personal profile] agoodwinsmith
Ooohhhh ... I have to subscribe to you as well as give you access in order to see your posts. I get it now, kinda.

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