Instead of proceeding with Schedule 1, the Secretary of State should strive to ensure that LAs understand the current legislation which, apart from the most recent, revised guidance on Identifying Children Missing an Education in January 2009, has evolved to allow for the fact that parents, not the state, should raise children.
He should help LAs understand the limits of their responsibilities under s436a of Education and Inspections Act 2006, in which regard we would ask him, instead of proceeding with Schedule 1, to take the pressure off LAs by reinstating the earlier version of Guidance on Identifying Children Missing an Education from February 2007. Section 3.3 of this guidance in effect allowed parents to determine the form of education of their children and enabled LAs to make a proportionate and less wasteful response to HE families.
There are plenty of reasons why he should do this in preference to continuing with Schedule 1. This course of action would allow for the right balance to be struck, allowing for a proportionate response on the part of LAs. On the other hand, Schedule 1 would be:
*useless in detecting hidden abuse, (what have abusive parents to lose by not registering),
*is extremely damaging (as parents now have to tailor an education to fit the LA inspector and not the child,)
*is extremely wasteful of public money (inspecting thousands of well-functioning families when social work departments can't cope with known cases of abuse),
*would be useless in protecting the government from red top abuse when a case is found. (The headline will be: Ed Balls enforces inspection of thousands of well-functioning families while social work departments are too overworked to deal with real problem cases).
*is an appropriation of parental responsibilities, (as the state would now raise the child by determining the form of education),
*is an invasion of privacy and an total devastation of children's rights. (A large majority of HE children do not want to see LA personnel).
*Since NuLab's Stop and Search powers have recently been deemed excessive by the European Courts, and given that Schedule 1 is similarly excessive in its impact upon law-abiding citizens, anyone wanting to use these powers should be very cautious indeed.