The government intends to extend its close control of day-to-day activities of schools to include inspecting the education provided by home educating parents.
As wth much of government policy, the pretext given is reasonable – to make sure that children not going to school are given the same protection due from the Every Child Matters agenda. Some ministers seem to suspect that home education can be a cover for child abuse or forced marriage, even there is little evidence this is the case, and the main abuse story right now is the conviction of a worker at an Ofsted inspected nursery school.
But does this fear require an Ofsted inspection, with all the political encumberances and demands? School inspections long ago changed from a supportive overview from education experts to a dogma ridden tool of control.
Parents are entitled to educate their children however they wish, without state interference. They even have the right to make a complete hash of it, as many do from my experience of trying to teach their offspring when they have outgrown their home studies.
Ofsted will pressurise and threaten parents as they do with schools, and the role will inevitable evolve to demand specific activities and curricula. Several European countries have already banned home schooling, and inspections would be the first step to declaring that the rights of children to a decent education are being violated.
Councils are already responsible for ensuring that children taken out of schools are receiving an education – the switch to using Ofsted will be the beginning of the end of the right for parents to educate their children as they see fit.