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Homeschooled chess champ illegally truant?
Posted By Ron Strom On 12/31/2004 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
An 8-year-old homeschooled British boy who reportedly is the best under-10 chess player in the UK is at risk of being forced back to government school – but his parents are determined to keep educating him at home.
Peter Williams’ parents tell WND they removed him from public school and began homeschooling him so he’d have more time to practice chess. Peter’s father says he has won some adult chess tournaments and thrives on the game.
The British Chess Federation notes Peter, his father and grandfather all share the same name and all play competitive chess, but it is the youngest Williams whom opponents “fear.”
“Peter initially went to a state-run school but we withdrew him because of the lack of ability or willingness to support him with his chess talent,” Peter Williams, the boy’s father, told WorldNetDaily. “The education authorities over here are in our opinion quite authoritarian and like to tell people, by their definition, what they can and can’t do.”
On July 7, the local school district sent the Williamses a notice demanding that Peter’s parents provide information about his education or he would be required to return to public school. The letter from the Hampshire County Council claims the Williamses are “failing to perform the duty” under the law to assure their son is educated.
In the letter, welfare officer James McGilvery tells the Wililamses they have 15 days to prove young Peter is receiving a “full time” education or the “Local Education Authority” will serve notice on the family and require the boy to be registered at his local government school.
In response, Peter’s father filed a complaint with a government ombudsman, who is investigating the issue. The county council, Williams says, is waiting for the ombudsman’s report before taking further action.
Said Williams: “The council will probably go ahead with a school attendance order. Hampshire Council does not actively support home education. Their website states, ‘School is where children should be for most if not all of the time.’”
Williams says he will not provide any education information to the council.
“We have refused to allow any member of the council into our home or to meet with them, as their views are biased. We have to provide Peter with an education suitable to his age and ability, which we are doing; we are simply refusing to prove this to the local education authority. Incidentally, we cannot find any law that states that we must provide them with this information.”
Peter’s dad tells WND the boy is happy schooling at home.
“The last thing he wants to do is to go back to a state school,” Williams said. “He very much enjoys learning at home, studying all the subjects he is interested in.”
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