PARENTS who teach their children at home have criticised plans for tighter Government control.

The Children, Schools and Families Bill going through Parliament could see inspectors entering their homes and seeking to interview their children without them present.

If the bill goes through authorities will keep a register of home-educated children and use the inspections to decide if they should be sent to school.

Parents in Dorset have signed a petition against the bill.

Andrew Green and his wife Mary-Clare Buckle teach their 15-year-old twins at home in Market Street, Abbotsbury.

Mr Green, 51, said: “If they were able to interview the child separately from a parent that would be completely wrong.

“It would not normally be the case that anybody in authority would be able to interview a child without a parent present. Police interviewing a crime wouldn’t be able to.”

Under the plans, parents or their children will have the power to block the child being interviewed alone.

But Mr Green feels the bill puts parents under suspicion.

His sons Arran and Fingal Green started attending Budmouth Technology College when they were 14 but their parents took them out after two terms.

Their parents were therefore required to register with Dorset County Council but they have not since been visited to ensure they are providing a satisfactory education.

Ms Buckle, 48, said: “If you choose to home educate you feel you can do a better job. We wanted our children to learn things when they were ready and in their own time. It’s more natural.”

West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin presented the 30-strong petition in the House of Commons.

He hopes the bill will not go through and vowed the Conservatives will scrap parts of it if they get into power.

He said: “If the county council is not satisfied the child is getting a proper education, they can already take steps to do something about it.

He added: “There’s no need for this added bureaucracy and intrusion that’s going on here.”

The bill came after a review into elective home education which called for urgent action.

South Dorset MP Jim Knight said the Government is not against home education. He said: “A small minority of home educators are abusing their right.

“The Graham Badman Review followed a very disturbing case where a child was taken out of school and sent to the Indian sub-continent to be married age against her will.

“There’s such little regulation of home education so that child was able to disappear without anybody knowing what was really going on.

He added: “For the child’s sake we should make sure everything is okay.”