The clumsy title of this blog is actually deliberate, as I wish to compare two cases of children not attending school.

Many of you will have seen the headlines a few weeks back about ideas to stop benefits of parents whose children consistently truant.  This is not a political blog, and I'm not going to debate the proposal - which is nothing more than an idea at this point anyway.  However, it made me think about this in contrast to children who never go to school - home schooled children.

I had been examining the issue of home schooling as a potential opportunity for tuition.  I instinctively felt that maybe parents who were home schooling might feel they could manage subjects such as geography and history more easily than "difficult" science.  (Hey, I'm biased, what can I say humanities teachers? Oops - did I say biased? What I mean is - I've examined all the evidence and come up with a model that best explains those facts, until some other data or model comes along that works better, at which point I'll take that as my accepted paradigm...)

I looked at the guidelines for home schooling.  Basically, it is up to LAs what they offer in terms of guidance/help and importantly assessment.  They "can" make an informal request for evidence of the child's education.

Here's the guidelines of London Borough of Enfield, an area I offer my services to.

Now, I haven't managed to uncover much data on prevalence of homeschooling in the UK - it feels that it's more common in the US, often on religious grounds, but those are just broad brush stroke findings. 

None the less, I ended up feeling uncomfortable about all this.  Without getting party political - this isn't about bashing coalition policies - I wondered how it helps a childs education to remove parent's benefits, particularly when there may be a home schooled child down the road whose educational needs are not being met. Home schooled children don't receive any government money, true - and I guess the LA will feel accountable for the funds spent on the school place for the truant - but isn't government still ultimately responsible for the education of children?

This is a blog, not an academic paper, so maybe there's a bit of muddled thinking going on.  I still feel uneasy about it though.

Anyone got any thoughts?  I'd love to hear from home schoolers too - this isn't a dig at you either.