Saturday, December 01, 2007

City Councils Still Wanting to Act as Parents

In an otherwise inspiring article about home education in The Western Daily Press, we sadly find Bristol City Council still wittering on:

"The Department for Education and Skills has been discussing how to regulate home education with several groups representing home educators and with local authorities. Bristol City Council welcomed the idea of more guidelines to protect children who are educated at home. A spokesman said: "Parents who educate their children at home are subject to almost no regulations."The council welcomes any new measures which work in the interest of Bristol children."

Oh for goodness sake, catch up, Bristol CC. Firstly, it is not the DfES anymore. It has been renamed the Department for Children, Schools and Families since 28th June 2007.

Secondly, most home education groups have been discussing why regulation of home educators is damaging rather than how to regulate us.

Thirdly, the new guidelines are out. Your article was already a day late because it would otherwise be clear to you that guidelines haven't changed anything by way of enabling the "state to protect children from their parents. "

Fourthly, guidelines cannot change the law and the law of the land is clear: education is the responsibility of the parent, protecting a child from harm is the responsibility of the parent, and social workers don't have a right to doorstep us unless there is reasonable cause to suspect a significant degree of harm or risk of harm to the child. The state cannot and should not try to act in loco parentis, for it will be screwed in so many ways if it does. This on top of doing endless damage to families.

Fifthly, (does anyone else do lists when cross?), the new guidelines make it quite clear that the government think that the current level of legislation surrounding this area is perfectly adequate to the task of protecting children.

Sixthly, I personally have already felt that worrying a little less about what LAs may get up to has made a significant difference for the better in our home education experience.

ie: it would be nice if the LAs would stop moaning, realise the limits of their responsibilities, that they don't have certain duties and that they are therefore not going to be held liable. They could also realise that their jobs are at times necessarily difficult, and that they should just got on with it, for in doing so, they would make life significantly better for large numbers of families.


S said...

Thanks for posting this.

Do you think the Council means what they say, or are they just repeating a 'safe' opinion?

Carlotta said...

Good question, S. I personally think that generally speaking, LA workers simply haven't thought through the consequences of what they are asking for. They haven't thought about what it would mean if they actually did have a duty to ensure the safety and education of children.

I think they also sometimes get frustrated at the uncertainty inherent in their jobs, and think that the only way to reduce this uncertainty would be to have greater control, but we have seen in the example of oppressive state regimes everywhere, how this simply doesn't work one way or another. Usually individuals who are overseen and oppressed in this way, absolve themselves of personal responsibility, become demotivated and lazy; the regime eventually becomes unsustainable and collapses - Soviet Russia being a case in point here.

So generally speaking, yes, I think they do mean what they say, but don't know what they mean!

Anonymous said...

Guidelines won't stop them moaning, on the contrary.

Carlotta said...

I do hope they finally stop and think. After all these years of moaning, (and have recently had it on pretty good authority that LAs have been moaning for well over a decade), that they will finally realise what they are actually asking for and how it would actually make their jobs far more difficult.

ie: if they got what they asked for, they would in effect take over in the role of parent, and thereby destroy the agreement between the individual and the state. That they would then be liable when all children everywhere did suffer signficant harm.

They really should shut up fast, imo.