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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 11:37 GMT
A child's view of home education
Girl at home
Home learning supporters are rejecting the proposals
A teenager who has been educated at home for the past two years has told a protest rally in Edinburgh how giving up school has enhanced her life.

Hannah White had enjoyed her primary education immensely, but when she attended high school she encountered problems and began having panic attacks.

"Around the time my father left the family home, I had panic attacks and I wasn't supported by the school that I attended," Hannah told BBC News Online.

High school did not agree with Hannah
Things got so bad that she stopped going to school.

Hannah, from Beverley in East Yorkshire, raised the question of home education and won round her mother.

She believes that the Scottish Executive's new guidance on home educators will threaten the rights of the family.

Ministers want local authorities to find every child who is educated at home and monitor their progress.

It is thought that about 5,000 children are taught at home but are not registered with their local council.

Correspondence courses

Hannah, an only child, explained that her day-to-day education is a combination of both structure and flexibility.

The 15-year-old said: "Some days are very structured others are much more easy going.

"I do correspondence courses and attend adult night classes. My mum helps me with some subjects, including biological experiments.

I certainly don't feel as if I am missing out, I think I have a better social life now I am not at school.

Hannah White
"I happen to attend an adult education class where there is another 15-year-old girl who is home educated."

Hannah, who takes her GCSEs later this year and plans to go to university to study maths, said she does not miss the social side of school.

She added: "I certainly don't feel as if I am missing out, I think I have a better social life now I am not at school.

"It isn't always easy, you have to be motivated, but it is the best option for me.

'Deserve happiness'

"Education is such a big issue these days and I think it is very important that everyone is aware of what is happening. We need all the support we can get to fight this.

"Every child's home education is in a different situation, some have never been to school but we are just like any one else and should be treated the same. We deserve to be happy and have a choice.

"Everyone still ends up where they want to be in life and get just as good an education as others, if not better.

"If the guidance wins it will not only affect children and families in Scotland but every child and their families in the UK especially those who had unsympathetic and unhelpful councils."

See also:

07 Feb 02 | Scotland
Home learning plans under fire
06 Feb 02 | Education
Not missing but learning at home
05 Feb 02 | Education
The 10,000 'missing' pupils
11 Jul 00 | Scotland
Councils 'failing' home educators
11 Oct 99 | Features
When the classroom is at home
22 Dec 00 | Education
Black schools 'booming'
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