An English Man’s Home Is His Castle.
But not any more thanks to Mr Badman, Mr Balls & the Labour Government.
Instead, a review that was clearly a whitewash from the start, clearly had a pre-determined outcome and was never intended to give support to Home Educators, has been turned into another (yes, ANOTHER) actual consultation into Home Education.
The DCSF. Putting Schools between Children and Families.
But the review, regardless of what what we might want, regardless of the fact that we did request them or ask for intrusion, did have some suggestions that might possibly be of benefit to some home educators. It did suggest better access to exam centres, resources that are available to schooled children and paid for by the state and better training for the LEA’s who will check on us.
I wonder, when Mr Badman agreed to stitch us up, he realised if he was being stitched up too? Because the consultation that has been produced appears to contain all the regulatory suggestions and very little of anything that will actually support us.
The review into Elective Home Education (note, the word, something that the freedoms in our country allow us to ELECT to do) has been published.
We will have to submit a plan of education and expected progress yearly.
We will have to be inspected yearly and held to account to those plans (even my LEA man doesn’t see the need to inspect us yearly).
Our children will have to ‘exhibit’ learning (not something individual children in schools really have to do to an outside ‘examiner’)
LEAs will have right of entry to our homes, without any presumption of guilt or wrong doing, and they will have the right to interview our children and question them on their welfare, education – and let’s face it, parenting, – without a parent present. We aren’t going to have the right to say no. AND the consultation makes it clear we will be committing a CRIMINAL offence if we refuse.
Our children will have to ‘pass’ and we will have to be deemed fit on a yearly basis to be allowed to reregister and continue to provide our children with the education and childhood which we believe n.
NOBODY asks school children this on a yearly basis, nobody checks a school hasn’t failed a child yearly, no one is entitled to interview a schooled child alone and without an appropriate adult, no one insists that a child pass all the attainment targets set at the beginning of the year or they have to be removed from that school. NO ONE asks a child privately and away from their parents if they’d like to be home educated instead.
And as one of my friends said, is it really too much of a leap to imagine that in order to ‘prove’ that this intrusion was needed, some families might find themselves made scapegoats and their children taken into care if they refuse to comply with what will undoubtedly be an infringement of their civil liberties?
As another said, can it possibly be that all this money really needs to be spent on nailing down 1% of children among whom there has never been a case of serious abuse, when the news is full of Social Services failures and an education system providing narrow, test driven education which produces up to 30% of leavers with an education that has not fitted them for working life.
Do not mistake this – THIS IS NOT A SCHOOL V HOME EDUCATION question. This is not about us saying that we think HE is better because schools are no good. Very few of us think that; home educators range from the vehemently anti school and vehemently anti system, to those who use school and home, to those who ideologically just prefer childhood and think they can do at least as good a job, to those who have removed their children from schools only after their child endured the grossest failures, who would far prefer to use school but have been left with no alternative.
THIS IS A CIVIL LIBERTIES QUESTION.
To do what the consultation suggests, they will have to change our laws, unless they simply aren’t going to bother. We exist on a presumption of innocent until proved guilty, that our home are our castles and that we have a right to privacy within them unless we are suspected of having committed, or being about to commit, a crime.
If they alter these basic premises, we will ALL be the poorer for it, not just home educators.
I wonder, when Mr Badman produced his Review, he realised they were going to sell him down the river too – there is very little of the positive that he included for ‘balance’ in the following proposals.
We propose to legislate now for registration and monitoring arrangements that will focus on safeguarding but should also improve the quality of education. They will have the following features:
- Every home educated child of compulsory school age must be registered with the local authority in which the child is resident;
- Regulations will specify the information that parents must provide which is likely to be child’s name, date of birth, address, the same information for adults with parental responsibility; a statement of approach to education, and the location where education is conducted if not the home;
- Scope to extend the scheme to 18 in future;
- Regulations will specify how registration should take place;
- Any changes to registration details should be notified immediately;
- Registration must be renewed annually;
- It will be a criminal offence to fail to register or to provide inadequate or false information;
- Pupils should stay on the school roll for 20 days after a notification to home educate;
- The school must provide the local authority with a record of achievement to date and predicted future attainment;
- DCSF will take powers to issue statutory guidance relating to registration and monitoring.
Question 1 Do you agree that these proposals strike the right balance between the rights of parents to home educate and the rights of children to receive a suitable education?
Question 2 Do you agree that a register should be kept?
Question 3 Do you agree with the information to be provided for registration?
Question 4 Do you agree thatÂ home educatingÂ parents should be required to keep the register up to date?
Question 5 Do you agree that it should be a criminal offence to fail to register or to provide inadequate or false information?
Question 6a Do you agree that home educated children should stay on the roll of their former school for 20 days after parents notify that they intend to home educate?
Question 6b Do you agree that the school should provide the local authority with achievement and future attainment data?
Question 7 Do you agree that DCSF should take powers to issue statutory guidance in relation to the registration and monitoring of home education?
Question 8 Do you agree that children about whom there are substantial safeguarding concerns should not be home educated?
Question 9Â Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises where home education is taking place provided 2 weeks notice is given?
Question 10 Â Do you agree that the local authority should have the power to interview the child, alone if this is judged appropriate, or if not in the presence of a trusted person who is not the parent/carer?
Question 11 Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises and interview the child within four weeks of home education starting, after 6 months has elapsed, at the anniversary of home education starting, and thereafter at least on an annual basis? This would not preclude more frequent monitoring if the local authority thought that was necessary.
When they talk about ‘safe guarding concerns’ are we absolutely sure we trust them not to include children who are known to the LEA because bullying has driven them to truancy or potential suicide? Or ones who are known to the LEA because they have Special Needs that may well not have been (as my nieces are not) met in school. Are we absolutely sure they won’t pick on children who have seen a consultant lots of times as a young child with unexplained regular illness, or children with asthma, eczema, allergies or intolerance?
Are we sure, ABSOLUTELY sure, that they won’t pick on vegetarian, vegan, extended breastfeeding, non-preschooling, single parents, low income families, late readers, parents with depression? Could they satisfy any other agendas by doing so – like the fact that they want all parents, both parents, to be in employment and each household to have an income that is 60% of the national average.
Are you still sure?
Mr Badman, i am not sure that you were not sold down the river too. I think they used you, knowing exactly what you would produce and knowing that they could cheerfully ignore in their consultation all the checks and balances on the system that you included for balance.
I wonder whether you should have listened more closely to the 2000 parents who filled in the 6 questions you asked, at the expense of hours of time with their children, instead of picking out of the 12,000 responses, just 2 sentences, one of which you dismissed as extremist and one you did not hear.
Shame on you. Shame on you for being so easily used.
Bye Bye Badman. So long and thanks for all the fish.