Relief for Manx home educators as education bill withdrawn

Controversial proposals to overhaul the education system on the Isle of Man have been dropped, much to the relief of both the teaching profession and home educators.

Allinson pulls plug before clauses stage

The Education Bill has been withdrawn by Dr Alex Allinson in the House of Keys today (9 Feb).

It’s to allow those in the profession to ‘regroup’ and consider whether the draft legislation ‘truly reflects the ambitions and experiences of those in education’ after a difficult year.

The education minister pulled the bill prior to the clauses stage with MHKs currently debating the announcement. 

According to the official Statement by the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, any required changes are thought to be achievable via secondary legislation. 

Since there is no primary enabling clause for home education legislation, it looks likely that it will be left alone.

Indeed when the subject was raised, the Minister indicated that the present powers to require information were sufficient:

There are existing powers within the  Act to allow the Department to investigate require more information if it appears that an individual child is not receiving suitable education and I think that safeguarding part is extremely important.

The bill had been criticised for its rules on assessing home educators and potential prison sentences for teachers believed to be obstructing inspections. 

Fines of up to £5,000 for parents whose children miss school would also have been introduced under the proposals.

Let’s hope the rest of the UK follows suit and abandons similarly draconian proposals to inhibit rights and freedom in education.
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