Saturday, June 06, 2009

More from the Guardian

...on the outcome of the home education review:

"Sources close to the review have confirmed that its author, the former director of children's services at Kent county council, Graham Badman, is looking "favourably" at proposals that would require parents to register their children with their council when they are born or when they move to a different local authority."


"The review, which is due to be published in the next week, is also expected to recommend new guidelines on minimum standards for educating children at home. This would clarify the circumstances under which a local authority can order a child back into school, if it believed the provision at home was not up to scratch."


"Campaigners claim the move would fundamentally undermine the responsibility that lies with parents to ensure their child is receiving a good education, and allow the state an unprecedented intrusion into family life."

Yep, that's probably right. The whole caboodle (registration and state-imposed minimum standards of education) will almost certainly mean that social services will insist upon sight of the child, which in turn will mean that the child and the rest of the family will be assessed for this, that and the other.

Since home education for many families is integral to the whole of their private as well as public lives, the state will now have access to and power over the most intimate parts of their existence.

Of course, loss of privacy isn't the only problem. Should the government go ahead with setting a minimum standard of education, it will have to accept that by so-doing, it is implicitly determining the nature of education. It doesn't matter that it is only a minimum standard. It is still a standard, and a government determined one at that. By setting a minimum standard, the nature of the rest of a child's education over and above that standard will to a large extent be limited by that minimum and will effectively mean that the state determines the nature of education of children in this country.

This, of course, would represent a monumental constitutional shift since parents would no longer be responsible for determining the nature of the education that their children receive and they could not therefore be held accountable when it fails. Instead the state would now have to stand up and take the rap and there is good reason to believe that home educators will hold the state to account should a child not receive a suitable education, since there is much talk on some home educating lists of setting up a fund to provide for costs of court cases.

Iris Harrison may have lost her case in the early 80s, but that was way back when parents were still deemed responsible for the education of their children. The cases we now envisage will involve parents holding the state to account for failure to provide a suitable education.

Further in the article:

"Jacqui Newvell, a principal officer of the children's charity the National Children's Bureau (NCB), which took part in the review, said: "We need to put children's interests at the heart of this and embed a children's rights agenda instead of a parents' rights agenda. This is a very, very sensitive issue, We know a lot of home educators are doing a great job but our concern is the minority who slip thought the net."

OK, so let's look at children's rights,. shall we?

From the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:

"Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the rights to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child."

So if the home educated child answers the door to the social worker and co. and proceeds to tell them in no uncertain terms that their presence is not desired by the child, that the child considers that it is disruptive to him/her and the family, that he will derive nothing of benefit from it and that such a visit is therefore not in his best interests, what will that state official do then, pray tell?

When polled, some 77% of home educated children said they didn't want to see a state official in this capacity, so the above scenario does actually seem perfectly plausible.


Anonymous said...

I am curious to know what the minimum standards are that will enable LAs to force children into school. They will have to be very careful to ensure that these standards are already achieved by ALL children in school. What happens when schooled children don't reach the minimum standards? Are their parents' homes invaded and/or are the children moved to other schools? Is the school held accountable for the failure?

Also, if a schooled parent 'abuses' their children by sending them to school against the child's will thereby causing extreme distress and probable long term psychological damage, are their homes to be invaded by the SS? ARE THE CHILD'S RIGHTS ACTUALLY EVER CONSIDERED? Whatever the government decide to TRY to do (given their diminishing power)they can't justify making it worse for HE families than the situation already is for schooling families. They have to tread very carefully.

I do agree with most HEers that the government are barking up the wrong tree by trying to regulate all the details of people's lives to eliminate potential abuse. This method doesn't and never has worked. Information for all and encouraging a social conscience for all is the only long term policy, imo. After all, the extreme regulation of the medical profession has never prevented the Shipmans of this world from perpetrating their crimes.

We will have a legal battle we can win, if they impose more on us than is imposed on others. Do you not think?


Anonymous said...

I like the sound of a legal battle, D. God, am I ready for it! When you consider the slanted news reporting, the constant repetition of slanders from the government puppets, the complete lack of impartiality in the so-called 'review' which merely recommends what LAs said they wanted originally and has wasted thousands upon thousands of taxpayers' money. Not to mention the idiotic and brain-dead repetition of 'School is safe' where patently school is anything but safe, and Every Child Matters where clearly EVERY CHILD'S RIGHTS DO NOT MATTER since the government are willing to ride roughshod over them. They're all thieving, lying scum, every last one of them.

We can demand that every child who leaves school has achieved 'minimum standards' before they start on our children, thank you.

Why it'll be the yellow triangle on the clothes next.


Firebird said...

Notice, he wants ALL children registered AT BIRTH. They're not only using fictional abuse to come after HE families they're also using the HE review as a cover for going after everyone else. Badman seems to have confused his Baby P review with his HE one and has come over all Stalinist as a result.

Well F*** the lot of them. I'm NOT going to cooperate!

Carlotta said...

I agree, Firebird. Registering at birth does look problematic. ContactPoint is meant to be doing something along these lines, I suppose, but how are you going to get the whole population to oblige every time they move? I just can't see it working somehow.

Anonymous said...

On second thought, I doubt that they'll last long enough to implement any of it. I think we should be contacting the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the BNP, the Greens and anyone else who looks likely to take a couple of seats to bombard them with our take on all this.

Should it go through I am going to DEMAND everything from the LA. They can backdate our £5,000 per child that they saved on my two, and pay me to be a 'teacher' and pay the broadband costs, the cost of travelling, the educational trips cost, the cost of equipment... everything I can damn well think of...

And I'll be sat in their offices every day harassing them to hell. They'll wish they had retired before they started on home educators.


Anonymous said...

I want to see the full report before I really go on the defensive, but I am hoping that after Sunday's EU election results, that there will be a general election called and the facist policies of Nu Labour and Mr Badman will be got rid of.

If not, then I'm reaady for a fight like the rest of you!

So much for Mr Badman's impartiality. It's a joke! But then we did all know it was just a Kangaroo court and that the LA's simply wanted to invade our privacy....

Anonymous said...

Although it could be argued that all children are registered at birth with the LA already...

so if they are unable to make their systems work so be it?

Anonymous said...

We should all 'register' our kids as Mickey Mouse...