Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 4:18 pm, 11th January 2010

I hear the point that the hon. Gentleman makes, but with respect, I do not agree at all. The Badman report sets out the range of reasons why children might be home educated. In some cases, that is because it is the philosophical view of the parents that they do not want their children to be educated in a school, in a class with other children. Often, children are home educated because of problems that have arisen due to a temporary lack of places, or for reasons to do with bullying or a special educational need, which means that things have broken down. There is a wide range of provision. We should not have a one-size-fits-all policy; I completely agree.

The only obligation in the Bill-it does not say what home-educated children are to learn, or set out detailed content-is to make sure that children are safe and are learning. That is what the Badman report recommends and what the Bill does. If the hon. Gentleman looks at the detail, and does not listen to the hyperbolic comments made by some Members present-that is opposed to the sensibleness of most of the views in the Select Committee report-he will see that the diversity of the home education community is being properly respected.

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