Campaigners gear up for fight over new restrictions on home schoolers

Sue Tilbey with her son Simon

Sue Tilbey with her son Simon

First published in News by

A MOTHER who teaches her son at home has pledged to go to jail rather than submit to new rules which she believes will put his education at risk.

Sue Tilbey, of Grosvenor Road in Loughton, has taught 14-year-old Simon for two years, but fears prosecution if a bill currently going through Parliament becomes law.

The Children, Schools and Family bill would require home educators to apply each year for permission to continue educating children privately, for parents to draw up an annual educational plan and for inspectors to be allowed to interview home-schooled children without the parent being there, a right which critics say is not even given to the police in the case of a young offender.

Mrs Tilbey, 45, who is a dyslexic specialist volunteer, said: “What right do they think they have to come and talk to a child who’s trying not to say the wrong thing?

“The purpose is to make sure that the child is not going to be abused but they are seen by other people already, it’s not like they’re kept in jail.

“They are trying to get the National Curriculum in by the back door and they are trying to make it more difficult for people to home educate because they want control.”

Mrs Tilbey said that Simon, who is dyslexic, did well while at Alderton Junior School in Loughton, but that problems started when he moved to secondary school.

She said: “He had more than 20 teachers in total, and three teachers for English.

“I wanted him to do extra English because of his dyslexia rather than another language, but they said he had to follow the National Curriculum.

“I absolutely would not put Simon back into a situation that would destroy him. If I refuse to co-operate then that’s an offence which I could go to jail for. I think it’s so interfering and wrong.”

More than 250 MPs, including Epping Forest’s Eleanor Laing, have been presented with petitions from home educators opposed to the bill, which the Government plans to make law early next year.

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