Home educators once again became aware that monitoring was being pursued by the Department.
On 10th April Professor Barr made comments to the Social Affairs Policy Review, stating “ There are a number of contentious issues and home education is another one, in terms of what we do in that space. We know that is a political issue, as are many of these other issues as well.”
A number of home educators wrote to Professor Barr and other members of the Department about these comments and the proposal to require home educators to submit an annual report detailing their children’s educational provision.
Our campaign against the introduction of monitoring measures is ongoing.
The DESC have attempted to gain information from newly registered home educators by requesting information when they receive notification of home education. Previously, the DESC simply replied to acknowledge receipt of the compulsory registration form. However, there have been reports that since the beginning of this year the Department is attempting to gain information about home educating families by asking leading questions. The DESC have no right to do this and recipients are not under any legal obligation to reply and share sensitive information about your children.
The letter states the following:
‘Education Act 2001 Section 24 (1) states that it is the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him/her to receive suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. suitable education in relation to a child, means efficient, full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have.
Bearing in mind the above, please could you advice the Department of any educational schemes, curricula or packages that you intend to use in seeking to educate your children?’
It must be noted that Home Educating parents are not under any obligation to use educational schemes, curricula or packages to educate their children. Education at home can take place in a variety of ways utilising many different educational ideas and resources.