Is Home Education a realistic alternative to school?

Over 1,000 children here in Wales are known to the authorities as educated at home. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

It’s the first week in September and that can only mean back to school. But, an increasing number of Welsh youngsters are swapping the classroom for their front room as home education becomes ever more popular.

Last year the Welsh Government launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a compulsory registration and monitoring scheme for home-educated children. Currently there are no rules or restrictions on educating a child at home and the law states that it’s the parents’ duty to ensure that their child is educated to his or her age or ability.

But, the Welsh Government claim a register is necessary as a safety element to those children who are not currently known to the Local Authorities. The consultation received over 550 responses, resulting in the government putting a hold on any decision until all responses had been reviewed.

Whilst some home educators don't mind the idea of a register and monitoring system, others feel it simply amounts to a licensing scheme. It would mean that parents were assessed every year to see if the child's needs were being met.

Jayne Palmer took her two sons out of school 5 years ago. She says that home education was her only option as they both struggled with their special educational needs in school. Jayne feels that the Welsh Government's proposal to introduce a register is insulting.

But, there are strong views amongst many experts that children can really only be best served by a traditional school-based education.

Rex Phillips, from the NASUWT teaching union, believes that parents should be monitored as much as schools currently are.

So why do some parents feel their children can learn more without going to school? And should there be stricter measures in place to monitor home education?