There are an awful lot of very eloquent bloggers speaking about the review in blogland. Here are links to a few of them; keep following those links – and if you are not an HEer, keeping substituting “home education” with something that relates to your life and see how it sits on your tongue. It’s important – we know, as a community, we stand in danger of sounding like we are objecting to something ‘very reasonable’ and we know that plenty of people think ‘if you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide’. We really, really believe this is the thin edge of a wedge that will affect every person in this country.
Please remember that we believe, very strongly, that we are not just fighting for the right to be a home educator, we believe we are fighting for the right to parent as we see fit, to be the primary carer for our children, rather than the state giving us permission to do so.
Please remember that this review was begun with the very words “could be used as a cover for child abuse” at it’s launch. That there was no evidence, no compelling concerns and that the NSPCC, who provided the jumping off point, have had to make some rather embarrassing and humiliating withdrawals and apologies, not least to the Victoria Climbe society, who made the point loud and clear that she was NOT home educated, even though her name was being used to justify the commencement of the review.
“Cover for child abuse” is not a good way to begin a review into EDUCATIONAL PROVISION.
If we are unhappy about that assertion, perhaps you can understand why we are unhappy about this.
That designated local authority officers should:
â€“ have the right of access to the home;
and also this
have the right to speak with each child alone if deemed appropriate or, if a child is particularly vulnerable or has particular communication needs, in the company of a trusted person who is not the home educator or the parent/carer.
In so doing, officers will be able to satisfy themselves that the child is safe and well.
And if you think that is nothing to worry about (nothing to fear, nothing to hide) then perhaps this comment, made by Ed Balls in parliament and referring to the protection of children who may be involved in abuse, should terrify you as much as it does us.
“We will revise that statutory guidance later in the year to make it absolutely clear that if at any point the parents refuse to allow the child to be seen alone, the local authority has powers under that Act to apply for an emergency protection order to require parents to comply with any request to produce the child. The Act authorises the removal of a child in those circumstances if necessary.”
Looked at logically; they’ve started from a stand point of possible child abuse in a small community, rather leaving aside the fact that the under 5’s in general are also often at home with just their parents but no one seems to feel the need to burst in on them to assess them. Then they’ve said that they will be allowed access to our children, without suspicion of our wrong doing, to ensure that wrong doing isn’t taking place. And then – wow! – nicely set up is that if they are there, demanding an unconstitutional right to see children without a warrant or suggestion of a crime having, or being about to take place, they can remove our children if we refuse. And that isn’t just us, by the way, that is EVERYONE who will be covered by that.
It might be worth pointing out again at this moment that the review was carried out by the person who carried out the review into the care and death of Baby P in relation to the Social Services case. At which point you might find this interesting reading; given it is written by some people with a vested interest in HE, for the sake of balance, you might want to do some googling to make sure you are happy you believe it. If you do, for the sake of your own sanity, i suggest you don’t put “Islington” and “Jersey” and Social Services”Â into google in the same search bar. What i found when i did made me cry.
In conversation (one might say i ranted!) with a relative at the weekend, it was mentioned to me again that a “friend who works in social services says she knows that HE is used to cover up neglect but that she can’t do anything.” Pfft.
I’ll say it again – there are ALREADY powers in place to issue a School Attendance Order to the parents of any child if HE is deemed to be failing and Social Services ALREADY have the power to investigate any allegation of abuse and follow it up with care plans or child removal if deemed necessary. Those powers – i might suggest those DUTIES – are already firmly established in law and practise. It didn’t work for Victoria Climbe, Khyra Ishaq or Baby P though, to the eternal shame of this country, who were ALL known to Social Services, who would ALL have fallen outside the scope of the proposed HE legislation and who were ALL failed by Social Services.
And now to those links
Spiked Online (a non HEing perspective)
There are also an astonishing number of positive and supportive articles and blog posts on major national newspaper websites, which i won’t link to now but might do later – however looking at The Times and The Telegraph will get you started.
Lastly, because it provided me with a long and entertaining evening, i can wholly recommend the comments string to this article written by Mr Ed “we accept this review in full” Balls. The home educators begin to kick in towards the end, but the entire string of 327 comments produces, i think, not one response that is supportive of him.
Edited to add :
Three Degrees of Freedom – Some People – Breath-taking.
Sometimes It’s Peaceful (how did i forget that?!?!?!?)