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Home education, or home schooling, is an issue that has attracted little attention and the legal framework has remained largely unchanged since 1944. However, the number of parents opting to home educate has been increasing steadily in recent years and the Government has now published guidance for local authorities and commissioned an independent review. This article reviews the current law, highlights the practical issues requiring clarification and identifies the connections with other policy developments such as Every Child Matters and the increasing regulation of the independent education sector. Critically evaluating the respective rights and interests of parents, children and the state it concludes that parents who opt to home educate should be required to register with local authorities. At the same time it argues that attempts to evaluate the content of home education can not be considered in isolation of broader political agendas and that the policy dilemmas confronting the forthcoming review touch upon complex questions about the meaning of education in a liberal democratic society.
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