Friday, January 08, 2010

Message from Education Otherwise

The Second Reading of the Children Schools and Families Bill takes place next Monday, January 11th. Please write today and ask your MP to attend the debate and to raise your concerns in parliament.

Please share this link with your MP -

Every one of us can make a difference if we get in touch with our MP. The Government has tried to say that the new law is "about support" but this is categorically not the case and we need to put our MPs straight.

The links at the foot of this email set out exactly what is really happening in this legislation.

After the Second Reading debate, the Bill passes to Committee stage and amendments are proposed and discussed before the revised Bill is brought back to the House of Commons. The Bill Committee needs to get the clear message from the Second Reading debate that the home education clause is difficult and controversial and we can achieve this if our MPs speak on our behalf in parliament.

There will be a General Election no later than June 3rd. All legislation which has not completed the necessary parliamentary stages by Easter will be bartered between the main political parties in a process which is known as "the wash-up". Some legislation will go through, some will be substantially changed and some will be dropped.

You may have already spoken or written to your MP, but there is everything to be gained by writing again. If you have never contacted your MP before, this is what you do:

Check out your MP using this site

Look at this site for information on writing to MPs You just have to put your postcode in the search box.

This page on the Education Otherwise campaign website gives you tips about writing to your MP -


  • Keep your email direct and personal;
  • Keep your email short;
  • Focus on a few key issues;
  • Include a few key facts and signpost to where your MP can find more information;
  • Maintain contact with your MP.

Please send your MP a link to this web page which was uploaded to the Education Otherwise website on Wednesday January 6th -


"Education Otherwise believes that Clause 26 Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill is profoundly flawed and must not pass into legislation. In addition to the devastating effect on home educating families, the proposed measures would be incompatible with existing laws and would have unforeseen consequences far beyond the present target group."

The home education clause:

  • was introduced to Parliament with the claim that it took account of the recent public consultation, yet the Government's consultation response remains unaccountably delayed, which the Select Committee found "unacceptable";
  • requires the family to be licensed for education services in the first instance but with the prospect of extending the licensing principle to other aspects of family life;
  • gives power to education professionals to impose legal sanctions on families who will not allow private interviews with children;
  • gives power to education professionals to impose legal sanctions on families who will not allow access to the family home;
  • provides for wide-reaching secondary legislation beyond the scrutiny of Parliament and does not supply satisfactory information about an appeals procedure;
  • requires the Education Welfare Service to serve an automatic order compelling the child to attend a named local school if the family is practising unlicensed education and removes any legal right for the family to challenge this automatic order in court

"Passing Clause 26 into legislation would have an extremely negative impact on the relationship between the home education community and local and national government and be detrimental to the education and welfare of many children and young people who are currently being home educated." Annette Taberner, Education Otherwise Government Policy Group.

"Local authorities have not received any funding from Government for their work with home educating families and have been largely unable to provide support or services which would encourage families to establish or maintain contact with the authority. According to the latest research carried out by Education Otherwise, there is no budget from central Government for support and the typical amount spent on staffing costs for home education in local authorities is below £200 per child. The much vaunted support for home educators is nowhere to be found in the current Bill before parliament yet we are asked to believe that the Government will fund education delivered outside the state system which would seem to create a precedent for children educated in the independent sector." Fiona Nicholson, Chair Education Otherwise Government Policy Group.


Page on the Children Schools and Families Bill updated December 2009

Why you should write to your MP updated December 2009

Tips on writing to MP + sample letter

Position statement from Education Otherwise January 6th 2006

EO Twitter -
EO Campaign Website -
EO Website -
EO Videos -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's one letter that's gone off!

Dear xxxxx,

Many thanks for all your help over the previous year and Happy New Year to you and your staff.

We are delighted to hear the news that the Liberal Democrats intend to oppose the plans for home educators as laid out in Clause 26, Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill.

Meanwhile, Diana Johnson MP (Lab) continues to maintain that the
proposals are all about support. In fact, the proposals do not include anything that home educators would view as being supportive. Indeed the schedule contains clauses that dramatically contradict government claims to tailor support for children and families around their needs.

A fuller explanation of this point is available here:

As I think I mentioned to you when we met, I firmly believe that the
current law is sufficient to the task of dealing with families who are struggling. These families almost always quickly come to the attention of social services, being referred to them from the community.

Further, if indeed there are any hidden families out there who are not known to anyone, they will not be found with this registration process as they will have nothing to lose by not coming forward.

The proposals are a poor use of public funds, and I would be very
grateful if you would continue to protect the educational freedom of
our children by attending the second reading of the Children, Schools and Families Bill on 11th January and putting these and other arguments against the proposals before parliament.

For more information please see:

Many thanks and yours sincerely,

9:24 AM