A CUMBRIAN mother has described government proposals to tighten up home schooling regulations as “sickening.”

Home educator, Jayne Richardson, of Grange-over-Sands, said the recommendations, were based on a lack of understanding and impinged on a family’s right to privacy.

“There are 28 recommendations the nastiest of which will allow local authorities to demand the right to enter into home educator’s homes and view the child alone,” said Mrs Richardson, who has been educating her three children with her husband for six years.

“We strongly object to this as it is a threat to civil liberty demanding to come into someone’s home irrespective of whether they suspect there is a problem.”

The recommendations follow a review of the home education system by long-serving education specialist Prof Graham Badman and are included within a report to children’s secretary Ed Balls.

Aimed at ensuring children are safe and their educational needs are met, Mr Badman proposes setting up a national registration scheme, with home educators renewing their registration annually and submitting a statement of approach and outcomes for the year ahead.

Other suggestions include providing access to school IT and music facilities and creating a forum for home educators to air their views.

Mrs Richardson, however, believes on the whole the proposals would hinder rather than help home educators and resents having her family’s details on yet another database.

She said many parents who home educate use child-led learning approaches, where subjects such as maths, English and science are incorporated into the child’s interests, making learning more enjoyable and, in their view, more affective.

“The national curriculum works for some children but not for all,” she said. “It is a one-size fits all style of education and we have found our children have been much happier and more successful learning at home.”

Keen to publicise her disapproval and dispel myths home educated children are hidden away from society, Mrs Richardson and 18 children who attend weekly social sessions with the local home education network, staged a ‘not back to school’ picnic at the Westmorland County Show.

“We are letting people know that home educated children do mix with other children and society,” she said. “We are individuals going about our lives and although we may have different views about life, we still want our children to be happy and get the best education possible.”

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who is supporting the campaign, said: “Home education may not be conventional but that does not mean it is wrong. There is no evidence at all to suggest children who are home educated are at a disadvantage. Parents who choose to home educate make enormous sacrifices and to suggest they don’t have their child’s best interest at heart is insulting.”