A SOMERSET home educator who provides support to other families working outside the school system has hit out at government plans for a new home education register.

Zena Hodgson lives in South Petherton, runs Home Education South West and has three home educated children.

One of them, Angelica, received widespread support online earlier this year after publishing an open letter criticising potential government plans for a home education register.

The plans have now been confirmed by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who proposed a register for all children not attending school.

Zena said: “Talking about the registration, I just don’t think there is a need for it. I think it is a waste of the tax payer’s money.”

The DfE’s plans were announced after a report was published titled 'Skipping School: Invisible Children'.

Zena added: “Around 80 to 90 per cent of all home educated children in the county have at some point been in the school system.

“I know as a home educator of three children who have never been in the school system, they are still registered at birth, they still get doctors letters. These children are already known. There is no invisibility in that sense.”

Zena believes the funding is far better off being spent improving schools.

“I think a really crucial point here is there has been an increase in home education,” she said.

“I have supported families choosing home education for the last two or three years.

“Families are leaving school because children are being bullied, there are children with high anxiety levels who can’t cope, or special education needs are not being met it seems.

“If there is money to be spent, it needs to be spent in schools. That is better than leaving this system that is failing children.”

DfE also said the register can allow them to monitor children’s education standards.

Zena added: “It also depends on what this registration means. Am I being checked? Does someone need to come to my house and see if I am teaching a certain way?

“Once you start going down that road you are subjecting them to the same pressures they have just left.

“If you start standardising it, you loose what makes it special.”