Government plans for homeschooling register will put parental rights at risk, says Christian educator

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Christians have warned that the rights of parents will be undermined if the Government goes ahead with plans to create a register for children who are homeschooled. 

The Government has launched a consultation into the proposals that would see parents have to register children being educated at home with their local authority. 

Education secretary Damian Hinds said that the register would stop vulnerable young people "vanishing under the radar" and make it possible for local authorities to "identify and intervene" where it is suspected that a child is not receiving any education at home or where the education provided is not up to standard or is of a purely religious nature, The Times reports.

He said the aim of the plans was not to clamp down on parents doing an "admirable job" of homeschooling their children, but to put a stop to children not receiving any education at all. 

According to The Times, councils will be able to force parents to enrol their children in mainstream education if they fail to add them to the homeschooling register.

The plans stand to affect many Christian households that educate their children at home over concerns that mainstream education may compromise their religious values.

Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner, said the register could be beneficial when it came to ensuring child safety and the quality of education

"For some families, educating at home will be a positive choice but many more children are falling out of school and their parents struggling on their own," she told The Times.

"It is vitally important that we know that all children are safe and that they are receiving the education they deserve to help them to succeed in life."

However, a spokesperson for homeschooling provider Christian Education Europe told Christian Today he was concerned that the plans would roll back the rights of parents to choose how their children are educated.

"The proposed system of monitoring is an unnecessary intrusion into the everyday lives of British families, and an unsettling attempt to wrest away from parents their fundamental human right of choosing their children's education, as outlined in the 1996 Education Act and the European Convention on Human Rights," he said. 

He continued: "When attempts were made in 2008 to introduce a similar, draconian system for 'checking up' on parents, supporters of home education broke the record for the number of local petitions presented at one time in the House of Commons.

"At the start of the proceedings, the lead presenter, Graham Stuart MP, made this statement: 'If enacted, the government's proposals will, for the first time in our history, tear away from parents, and give to the state, the responsibility for a child's education.'

"This is the choice that is before, not just homeschooling parents, but all parents. In the last month the government has released plans to remove the option of parental opt-out from specific classes in schools, and now attempts to remove the freedom of choice within homes.

"The family unit, parental rights, and the protection of children are under threat as never before, and it is up to each person to preserve the freedom of family life in the UK."