On 6th June 2013, Monica O'Connor and Eddie O'Neill were fined 2000 Euro for failing to cause their children to attend school. They are home schooling and as they are foster parents and home schooled a foster child, they were assessed in respect of that child. It was agreed that they met the undefined 'certain minimum education'. Despite this they were issued with a School Attendance Notice regarding some of their own children. They had informed the Education Board (at the time) that they were home schooling.Under Article 42 of Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution) the State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children.
What this means is that we have the given right to home educate. However, the Child and family Agency under the Education (Welfare Act) 2000 deems that parents have to 'apply' for their children to be placed on the national register of home educators. We argue that this is unconstitutional and families should not have to 'apply' for a 'right'. Registration should not be an application. The Constitution must be upheld and protected. Home education does not need permission.
- Minister For Education;
Jan O' Sullivan
- Child and Family Agency
As home educators have the Constitutional right to home educate, the wording of the forms from the Child and Family Agency is inappropriate and unconstitutional. There ought not be an application process to be placed on a register. Maintaining a register of home educators is a separate matter to the issue of assessment and more consultation is required with home educating families. Please ensure that this happens and the Constitution is protected with regard the family being the natural educator of the child.
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