PARENTS are celebrating a Government u-turn on controversial plans which would have radically changed the way they home educate their children.

St Albans couple Carolyn and Mike Crawshaw, who have been home schooling for the last 15 years, took part in a mass lobby of Parliament in October last year in opposition of the proposals.

The Children and Young Person's Bill was set to introduce closer monitoring of home education.

Part of the proposals would have included a compulsory annual registration scheme and the right for local authority officials to enter homes – a move the Crawshaw's branded intrusive.

However now that Parliament has been dissolved ahead of next month's General Election, ministers agreed to drop the home education plans in the Bill.

Delighted with the news, mother-of-five Carolyn said: “We are thrilled. Everyone has campaigned really hard and it just shows that our opposition wasn't in vain.

“We have had a lot of support from MPs of all parties and it has been a very educational journey for everyone.

“We hope that through our pressure the ministers have been able to see how important home education is. It's important that our children have a choice and a say in their education.”

The Bill was dropped as part of Parliament’s “wash-up” process, whereby governments try to rush through any legislation which is outstanding before Parliament is dissolved.

The tough measures originally proposed for the Bill were based on recommendations from an independent report produced last year by child protection expert Graham Badman.

The Badman report claimed home education could be used as a cover for child abuse.

In response, home schoolers across the UK lobbied MPs and launched petitions denouncing the proposals.

The Crawshaw family, of Woodstock Road North, disagreed with the proposed changes because of the current demand for school places – which they say should be the Government's focus.

They feared the changes would shift the power from them to the Government and could undermine the way they educate their children.

Carolyn added: “The Government's proposals were hasty and we are delighted they have been stopped in their tracks.

“The campaign has brought home educators closer together in understanding each other and the way we home school our children.”

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