This is an historic night. More than 70 right hon. and hon. Members will present petitions from more than 120 different constituencies opposing the compulsory registration and monitoring of home-educated children. The previous record for petitions presented in one day is 44 in March 2006.
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. I should like to thank the thousands of people who have signed the petitions, the co-ordinators and organisers, and those outside in candle-lit vigil earlier this evening.
I am grateful to the Speaker for allowing us half an hour to present the petitions. As has already been said, although I shall read out the full text, he has asked that others do not do so.
I wish to present a petition on behalf of those in the Beverley and Holderness constituency opposed to proposals to register and monitor home-educated children.
The petition states:
The Petition of persons resident in the Beverley and Holderness parliamentary constituency,
Declares that they are concerned about the recommendations of the Badman Report, which suggests closer monitoring of home educators, including a compulsory annual registration scheme and right of access to people's homes for local authority officials; further declares that the Petitioners believe the recommendations are based on a review that was extremely rushed, failed to give due consideration to the evidence, failed to ensure that the data it collected were sufficiently robust, and failed to take proper account of the existing legislative framework.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families either not to bring forward, or to withdraw, proposed legislative measures providing for tighter registration and monitoring of children educated at home in the absence of a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England; but instead to take the steps necessary to ensure that the existing Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities are properly implemented, learning from current best practice, in all local authorities in England.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
I also wish to present petitions in the same terms on behalf of the my hon. Friends the Members for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) and for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maples), the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten), my hon. Friends the Members for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) and for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire), my right hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry), the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Andrew Miller), the right hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), the hon. Members for Newport, West (Paul Flynn), for Colne Valley (Kali Mountford), for Finchley and Golders Green (Dr. Vis), for Hereford (Mr. Keetch), for Dudley, North (Mr. Austin), and for Leeds, North-West (Greg Mulholland), my hon. Friends the Members for Salisbury (Robert Key) and for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames), the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Dr. Turner), my hon. Friends the Members for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) and for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard), the hon. and learned Member for Redcar (Vera Baird), the right hon. Member for Basildon (Angela E. Smith), my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Torridge and West Devon (Mr. Cox), the hon. Member for Conwy (Mrs. Williams), my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Wright), my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait), the hon. Members for Dudley, South (Ian Pearson), for Wrexham (Ian Lucas), for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik), for Battersea (Martin Linton), for Poplar and Canning Town (Jim Fitzpatrick), and for City of Durham (Dr. Blackman-Woods), the right hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes), the hon. Members for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) and for Reading, West (Martin Salter), the right hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) and the hon. Members for Eccles (Ian Stewart), for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Joan Walley) and for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush (Mr. Slaughter).