The dual pincer movement that results from the Children's Database and the Children Missing from Education initiative has finally skewered us. An impatient sounding red letter informs us that we have already once neglected to inform the Education Dept of our local council about how we intend to educate our youngest (which is true, since we ignored the first letter).
So now we're stuck. If we reply to the effect that we intend to home educate, we will immediately become subject to informal enquiries, with all the vagaries of the LEA officials that this may entail. If we don't reply, we will become subject to enquiries from those investigating children missing from education. Either way, our right to privacy in family life appears to have gone by the by and we should also kiss goodbye to the idea of genuine parental choice - a concept so apparently dear to the very same policy makers who go about restricting it, since it is our choice not only that we be left alone, but that we make decisions about how we go about educating our family in our own good time, and not necessarily by Friday at the latest.
Generously, given the imperious nature of the rest of the letter, the admissions manager informs us "If you feel you have any exceptional circumstances pertaining to the non-return of the application, please outline them in writing no later than 27th January 2006." I guess I could say that I disagree in principle with everything for which this letter stands, but to deign to reply would seemingly dignify the letter far more than is due.
As usual this particular road to Hell is paved with good intentions. These people believe that they are on a virtuous highway, with the urge to seek out neglectful and abusive parents driving them on, and all the while they don't look in the mirror. They don't see that they themselves are instituting a form of abuse that is far more pernicious to a greater number, far more corrosive of parental responsibility, freedom and choice, and that they leave in their wake a multiple pile up of damage in the arena of individuals developing the art of freely and happily accepting and fulfilling their own freely chosen responsibilities.