Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 18:28 UK

Picnics celebrate home education

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Around 20,000 children are registered as home educated

A nationwide event has been staged by the supporters of home education to highlight its benefits.

Around 40 picnics were held in locations across England, including Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

The event was also held in response to a review of home education in England by the government.

The report made a number of proposals including giving Local Authority's a right of access to the homes of people who home-educate their children.

Other recommendations wanted to see home-educating parents provide annual plans for the year ahead and giving Local Authorities the power to determine who can educate their children at home.

'Confused and unjustified'

Ali Moir, home-educator and organiser of Not Back to School Picnic, said: "It is our fear that, if the government acts on these confused and unjustified recommendations, some parents will lose the freedom to home-educate according to their children's needs."

Children's Minister Delyth Morgan responded to concerns from home educators when the review was published in June.

She said: "We've always been clear that parents should retain the right to educate their children at home.

"Most home educators do a fantastic job and I want to ensure they get more support from Local Authorities. But we can't afford to let any child slip through the net - in terms of their education, or safety."

The Department for Children, schools and families say around 20,000 children are registered as home educated, but estimates suggest the real number could be far higher.

"We have to balance the rights of parents with the pre-eminent rights of children to a decent education in a safe environment," Ms Morgan said.

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