To the DfES,
In the recent press coverage of the York Consultancy study into elective home education that has recently been completed, a 'spokesman' for the DfES is widely quoted, for example here in the Guardian, as saying, "Standards have never been higher and with record funding in our schools, we believe the best place to educate a child is actually in school."
I feel compelled to protest about the fact that a government spokesman has implied that home education is second-rate when compared to education in schools. This position is prejudicial, ill-informed and discriminatory. Home education is not only equal in statute to education in schools, but has also repeatedly been shown to be a highly successful way of educating children. The schooling system on the other hand, has repeatedly been shown to fail children. In the light of such evidence, it is difficult not to assume that the DfES is in fact institutionally biased against home education to the extent that disinformation and discriminatory comments are now being made that encourage a prejudiced attitude against home educators.
Members of the government, such as David Milliband, have elsewhere promoted the view that learning should be personalised to best meet the needs of the learner. It is hard to see how the DfES can marry this laudable objective with such certainty that school is the best place for the education of children. Surely parents are in a far better position to judge where their individual child is likely to thrive educationally? For this reason, and for the fact that in law this choice rests with families, we do not see that the DfES should have any view on this matter.
Home educators are currently so concerned about their exclusion from DfES consultations that could fundamentally affect home educating families that they have found it necessary to make formal complaints about the lack of representation and other significant problems with the consultation processes, but they sadly find that they are left waiting for any response from the Better Regulation Executive to these formal complaints. In the meantime, people speaking on behalf of government have now made unjust attempts to bring this minority group into disrepute. It is not hard to see how the home education community are beginning to feel as if they have been treated very shabbily by this government.
By way of partial reparation, we request a full retraction of the statement by this spokesperson and that this statement be given equal prominence in the press to the original statement.