Friday, October 30, 2009

Not Even Getting a Debate in Westminster Hall

The unconfirmed news via the home educating grapevine is that MPs have so far failed to secure a debate on the problems with the Badman Review and the resulting proposals, even in only Westminster Hall. This is clearly ridiculous. The proposals have huge constitutional implications for every family in the country. We don't just need to secure a debate in Westminster Hall. We need one in the House where the issue would be scrutinized by a larger number of ministers and properly subjected to the democratic process.

Put your arguments for a debate here.

From comments there:

"The issue Graham Stuart raises merits much more than a debate in Westminster Hall since the proposed legislation (the Safeguarding Bill) that springs from Graham Badman's report into Elective Home Education has huge constitutional implications for all families in this country, for it will, in all likelihood determine that the duty to ensure that all children receive a suitable education will rest unequivocally with the state.

We envisage that in years to come, when it is clear that the state has failed to ensure that a large number of children have not received a suitable education,(of course almost universally in their schooling system), that the government of the day will live to regret this legislative appropriation of parental duties.

This appropriation of parental responsibilities is but one of the huge issues that is at stake here. There are sadly many others. If we progress further down the route of state intervention into home education, it won't just have implications for home educators. It would impact upon education law for every family in England.

The full consequences of Mr Badman's proposals haven't been touched upon before the House, and deserve a full debate in the widest possible arena."

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"Other problems with the proposals emanating from the Badman report into Home Education include the issue of the damaging nature of the actions proposed, eg: the fact that familial privacy and autonomy to determine the nature of a suitable education will be severely compromised.

There is also the issue that in purporting to defend children's rights, the state by implementing these proposals, would actually be obliterating children's rights, (rights to privacy, freedom of association, rights to have their voice heard), since the fact is that the large majority of HE children have said "no" to this intrusive control of their lives.

We will have to consider the high likelihood that in defending their children's rights to have their voice respected, a previously hugely responsible section of society will become alienated, and resistant to state ministrations.

There are also resource implications, since there would doubtless be a load of false positives generated by sending insufficiently trained staff in to see children. Back-covering would overload already overstretched social work departments who could do with all that money that is being wasted by inspecting tens of thousands of perfectly well-functioning families.

Further, if legislation is written so as to hold parents responsible for failing to provide a suitable education, the state would then also have to hold schooling parents responsible too, otherwise s7 of the 1996 Education Act would otherwise be inconsistently applied. Of course, consistent application of law is a hall-mark of good legislation.

We must also consider that the state in determining the nature of a suitable education would thereby undermine its legitimacy as a democratic institution, since the democratic process requires that there be a free-thinking, freely educated and critical populace who are capable of holding its elected rulers to account.

All in all, despite it appearing to impact only upon a small section of the community, this issue has far wider implications, deserves to be debated in the widest possible arena, and be fully subjected to the voting process."

1 comment:

Leo said...

How can laws be passed without being debated?