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Pioneering Essex heralds school choice revolution

Essex County Council has given a group of parents a £10,450 grant to help fund schooling outside the state school system. The Conservative run authority is thought to be the first education authority to give money to parents in this way.

The payment followed discussions between the parents and Lord Hanningfield on the possibility of establishing their own school. The parents were not willing to send their children to their catchment school Bishops Park, and had taken the decision to school the children at home.

The grant will allow the six families to keep four boys and two girls away from the school, and continue home schooling or work towards establishing a new school.

The county believes that every child deserves the very best education - in some cases this will mean home schooling or allowing parents to establish their own school. The council hopes that other Conservative-run authorities will take notice and not wait until a Conservative Government is elected before implementing Conservative policies.

The county is currently consulting on proposals to close Bishops Park and another Clacton school, Colbayns, and establish a new academy over the two sites. In the meantime, the parents will be able to use the grant to school their children in the way they choose.

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