Home Schooling

Green carded! This is when a constituent comes to Parliament and has the right to lobby their MP – so long as the MP is around and free. They fill in a green card and then the House Officers give it to you – or as in this case – the reception from Central Lobby phones over to let you know someone is there to see you. It’s hit and miss as to whether you are available though.

I was in a meeting – and had ten minutes before another meeting with the National Deaf Children’s Society – but managed to see the three constituents who had come to lobby me about Home Schooling for about twenty minutes – just a bit late for the next meeting.

The Badman Review of Home Schooling is making recommendations (prior to consultation which is taking place now) which is alarming this community. The young people who came to see me (and two parents) are really concerned that the state is going to step in too far and curtail their right to be home schooled in the manner of their choosing. From those coming to lobby me – it was clear that they totally believed that parents should have an absolute and unfettered right to educate their children in whatever way they see fit.

They were scared by the recommendation that the state would be able to interview a home schooled child on their own without a parent present. They were scared that the ‘broad education’ recommended would inhibit their choice about how and what the children learn. And the big fear is that this is the beginning of the end for the freedom of home schooling. They mentioned the way things went in Germany, starting with state intervention and ending with a complete ban on home schooling.

So – a really interesting conundrum – where everyone is trying to do their best by the children – but the state feels it isn’t safe to leave them to their parents alone and the parents think the state should butt out.

I do think that home schooling is something that parents should have a right to choose – but despite the protestations from my visitors that all home schooled children are happy and safe – I have heard about less happy outcomes.

I suppose it’s getting that balance right – that’s the challenge.

0 thoughts on “Home Schooling

  1. Maybe if we had a decent education system that wasn’t failing so many children so terribly then there would be less need for home schooling and less arguing in favor of it.

    To me, right now, they’re both pretty poor options (generally speaking), so I guess it doesn’t really matter which one you go for.

    You do have to worry that with home schooling some messed up parents are going to brainwash their kids into believing all sorts of nonsense as occurs in teh states, but then as far as I can tell, there’s one or two members of the government attempting to do exactly the same sort of thing in state schools right now.

    Then of course you’ve got certain private schools which insist on teaching creationism etc, not to mention the problems associate with certain Isamic schools.

    Quite a dilemma trying to decide which is the worst of the three.

  2. “the parents think the state should butt out”

    as far as making new legislation – which threatens to be costly, disproportionate and ineffective – goes, well, yes.

    But the State already has the power to intervene where there are either welfare or educational concerns (or both). The fact that LA staffers seem to fail so abjectly at understanding or using the legal powers already at their disposal is not, in my view, a good argument for introducing draconian legislation.

  3. Emma is right. The current law, if used effectively, is sufficient to the task of protecting children. The balance is correctly struck right now and ancient traditions have been respected in the writing of it.

    We could make LAs, the police, social workers, any other clipboard carrying inspector’s tasks easier in some ways if they were to be granted access to homes without there being any due cause for concern, but what do we end up with? Nothing other than a police state, where the values of privacy and freedom are severely compromised.

    An LA inspectors’ work is not meant to be easy, just in the same way that a police officer, if he is doing his job correctly, will accept that his job is not as easy as it could be. This is only right and proper and must remain this way if we are to value the important tradition of freedom in this country.

    Rather than waste tax payers money inspecting the 99.6% of well-functioning HE families, it would be far better if funds were directed where they are really needed: at raising the staffing levels in social work departments and at creating conditions which are conducive to the retention of experienced staff.

  4. Would it be at all possible for ppl to refer to it as home education?

    Home schooling is the American term, and has connotations of sitting around a table all day, which is very far from the reality for many families.

    As has been remarked above, the balance is already correctly struck, it is not up to the state to come wading in to every family’s private life if we don’t conform to the norm.

    Would you like for example, the police to be able to check the contents of your house on a yearly basis, just in case, given that some ppl have stolen property in your house? Of course you wouldn’t. Why would home educators want to give up their privacy without any grounds for suspicion? Home education in and of itself is not cause for concern.

  5. So, Lynne, have you actually done any research into home education? Read Professor Alan Thomas’s books? Checked on Dr. Paula Rothermel’s page? No?

    You have experience of poor home education? Well, where were the LAs? They have the right AS OF NOW to enquire about a parent’s educational provision and, if they think it isn’t good enough, proceed to an SAO (School Attendance Order). Mostly, when it gets to the court, the wise judiciary see that LAs just cannot deal with the idea of education – they’re SO hung up on schooling – and that parents know what they are doing and the cases collapse.

    The level of hostilily to parents is the equivalent of calling black people rather unfortunate names. It is unadulterated prejudice and the discriminatory treatment meted out to home educators is NOT going unnoticed.

    Ah, Harriet. You would take away people’s right to educate their children into the society those children will live in, would you? And who are you to judge? How are your children educated? Would I agree with their type of education? Probably not. Should I then think I have the power to stop you educating your children (or delegating their education to others) how you see fit? No, because I don’t know your children and I don’t own them. Maybe the type of education they get suits them.

    I agree with you. Schools are dire. Which makes it all the stranger that home education, often so superior to schooling and not coercive and the purest form of personalised learning, is such a threat to politicians.

    Of course, if your family is indoctrinating you, then your society cannot be. We’re all indoctrinated by someone or something. Give me a loving, caring family before a government with ideas above its station any day.

    And, just a small but telling point, it is not called ‘homeschooling’ in this country. It is home education or home-based education or elective home education.

  6. What your constituents maybe didn’t have time to mention is that at the core of these government plans is the desire to dictate what home educated children have to learn. Many of us take a largely or totally autonomous approach meaning that our children are the ones directing their education. To someone used to the school model with rigidly defined curriculum and targets to be met this may sound a bit mad, but it does work. Children learn best what they are interested in and are happiest when they’re not being forced to study something they have no interest in.

    As one of the members of the Children, Schools and Families committee observed yesterday, when the National Curriculum was first proposed it was a broad brush-strokes thing but became over time increasingly narrow and proscriptive. Whatever the promises of Mr Badman home educators see any power to proscribe as the thin end of the wedge. What we’re doing works thankyou and as Roxy says it really is a nonsense to waste resources trying to mend something that isn’t broken when there are plenty of areas of education and welfare which are very, very clearly in need of serious repair.

    It really says something when the government thinks that parents aren’t to be trusted with their own children as the default position!

  7. I’m surprised at your last comment, Outraged of Swindon, as I was pretty sure I’d heard people in the UK talk about “homeschooling”. So I did a quick Google search of UK only websites, and it found over 67,000 mentions. So it may not be a UK phrase in origin, but it does seem to be pretty widely used now in this country, including in The Times, The Guardian and the BBC.

  8. If interaction with government agencies meant that children were kept safe then there would be no abuse. There is abuse behind closed doors of schoolchildren so should the government visit the house of everybody who has children? Secondly the recent case of abuse in a Plymouth nursery could have involved up to 30 children that’s a lot more than has ever happened in home education. Also what about the paedophile’s that are not monitored properly by probation because probation services have been cut by the government. The government,under the guise of monitoring standards, is also attempting to start to control what universities teach, a place where state control is traditionally absent to allow for academic freedom. Once they have levered themselves into home educators homes next it will be control of the content of what people teach and then health and safety regulations will be introduced and those deemed unsuitable by the government will be forced by the local authorities to go back to school. History teaches us many things about the way previous governments have misused power and yet we are under the illusion that we can trust these politicians to not abuse their power. It’s a shame that the Liberal democrats do not offer an alternative to the other two parties and do not stick their neck out and rally for true liberalism. Instead like the others, the party panders to the media induced paranoia about child abuse. We are going back to a dark age of intellectualism where true innovative thinking is discouraged and all political parties market themselves like a can of coke. Why think about the true causes of child abuse and the real way we can reduce it when you can score political points by picking on a minority group like home educators.

  9. So… as it is widely perceived that most abuse takes place by family members then why not inspect the homes of ALL children on an annual basis? During the summer break, for example, or on random weekends throughout the year? Better also check that parents aren’t actually doing the kids’ homework for them so that their children do get some time to be children.

    And while we’re at it… Badman wants ‘all home-educated children to be heard’; he wants to ask them if they actually want to be home-educated. Fair enough… as long as they ask ALL children the same question.

  10. As a natural libertarian I am deeply saddened by the Lib Dems’ stance on Home Education and this government’s quite spooky desire to control what every child in this country learns and seeming belief that every home educator is a potential child abuser (and by logical extension, EVERY parent in the school holidays and outside schgool hours.)

    There are deep questions about the relationship between children and their parents which underlie this debate.

    We are at a crux. From now now on the default assumption will be that all parents are child abusers.

    They have come for Home Educators first. They will come for all parents soon.

    The Lib Dems have been found wanting.

    A great tradition has been traduced.

  11. The problem here, is that there would need to be a fundamental law change to allow children to be questioned alone. Even police and social workers do not have these powers. This is a question of the state wanting to take control. They cite the UN children’s rights , as part of their basis, yet what about the hundreds of thousands of children who are failed every day in the school system?
    I educate my 9 children at home and they are healthy, happy and achieving.

  12. @Mark Pack

    “So it may not be a UK phrase in origin, but it does seem to be pretty widely used now in this country, including in The Times, The Guardian and the BBC.”

    So it’s used by ppl talking about it, but not by the ppl doing it.

    I’m a home educator. I’m not a home schooler. I know very few ppl taking part in the practice in this country who describe it as home school. Don’t I get to choose how I am referred to?

  13. “It was clear that they totally believed that parents should have an absolute and unfettered right to educate their children in whatever way they see fit”

    Just a small point about your lobbyists ‘beliefs’. As it stands, ALL parents have the right to CHOOSE how their child is educated, either by delegating to schools or otherwise. Beliefs don’t actually matter here. The law is clear on the matter.

  14. Thanks Lynne for taking the time to meet your constituents today.

    Please reconsider your idea that you face a “conundrum”. The decision is clear cut:

    Should Local Authority officers be given powers that the police don’t have?

    Should a small portion of the population have their rights suspended because of their lawful choice for their children’s education?

    Is there enough evidence that abuse or neglect of children is so widespread, and is so impossible to remedy by current methods, amongst the home educated that it is acceptable to suspend some very fundamental parts of English Law – being innocent until proved guilty; the rights to freedom from interference, privacy, etc. – in order to save a few theoretical children, of whom there is no evidence to show they exist?

    I think you know the answer.

    In Graham Badman’s, Ed Balls’ and Baroness Morgan’s own words, the vast majority of home educators do a fantastic job. Please let them carry on doing that job unmolested and stand firm against these heavy handed proposals. These recommendations are ill-considered, have been rushed through the democratic process far too quickly, and would have a huge effect, not only on thousands of parents who are doing “a fantastic job” home educating, but also on the relationship between state and family in the country as a whole.

    One final point: for a country to be a democracy, there *has* to be a path of education for its children which is not dictated or influenced by the state. Whatever changes may be introduced, even for benign reasons, and however ‘light touch’ they turned out to be, these changes would provide a mechanism for unprecedented access to and control of children who are currently beyond such influence.

    If children need help, the mechanisms are already there to help them. Let’s make sure they are used properly before introducing sweeping new powers and fatally weakening English democracy in the process.

    Thank you.

  15. So you think this is a case for breaching the Human Rights act?

    You need to re-read it


    1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

    You’re advocating sending the storm troopers in.

    2. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

    Notice the bit about teaching. You’re imposing the state in breach her too

    3. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

    Nope, you can’t do this for your children, because the state is going to interfere.

    It’s illegal to break the Human Rights act, and you’re proposing breaking the law.

    Typical politician.

    Same with expenses. They don’t like it up ’em when it comes to paying back our money they took. Retrospective they shout. However, hasn’t stopped politicians passing retrospective laws on others.


  16. “So it may not be a UK phrase in origin, but it does seem to be pretty widely used now in this country, including in The Times, The Guardian and the BBC.”

    The use of the term “home schooler” does indicate the level of ignorance surrounding the subject by those who don’t do it themselves. Not only do most UK home educators not “home school”, but even the MSM can’t get our name right. What hope have we of being accurately represented, I wonder!

  17. Don’t worry home educators. Or at least not about this particular controlling authoritarian statist. Her party, the deeply Illiberal UnDemocrats don’t matter and will never come even within hailing distance of political power. Thankfully.

    You should focus your energy on the conservative administration to be. Do not assume that they’re are your natural friends and allies – nothing could be further from the truth despite the smaller state verbiage being emit currently. The state employs (and thus suborns) all of societies “intellectuals” in jobs such as “education” (and the museums of nothing). They have a pivotal function establishing and reinforcing the belief systems (or at least the outward expression of them) legitimating the state.

  18. As someone who finds OFSTED both scary and over-prescriptive, I nevertheless wonder why any home educator or home schooler would object to an inspector questioning a child alone. I have no objection to inspectors talking to the students I teach when I am not present. In fact I find it desirable. I think Lynne is right to regard this as a conundrum. It’s about making sure the children are protected without impinging on their liberty and that of their parents and there is no clear cut solution. Like so much else it’s an ongoing battle.

  19. I’d be interestedto know about the “less happy outcomes” you’re basing your opinions on. Could this be Peter Connelly (Baby P) and the many other children failed by state employees who already had the power to enter and intervene? They were not home educators in any sense of the word.

  20. Roxy Featherstone: None. That is because Home Schoolers in the UK are too busy obsessing about what they are called and how they are doing what they are doing compared to other people, rather than understanding properly and reacting proactively to the threats to their liberty, like the ignorant author of this blog.

    People do not know about Home Education because no one has taught them. It is up to Home Schoolers in the UK to get together and do this important work. If not, you have only yourselves to blame for the ignorance of your fellow countrymen.

  21. “I do think that home schooling is something that parents should have a right to choose”

    Well thank you ever so much. Your magniminty knows no bounds. You think that I should be allowed, nay permitted, to teach my own children as I see fit.

    You really put the Liberal in Liberal Democrat!

  22. Thanks for all your comments. At the risk of setting you all off again – I am struck (given I am a supporter of your cause) by the negative tone of the comments.

    I can understand that the home education community is concerned about any infringement on parental absolutism but child welfare always overides other concerns.

    How to gain assurance about a child’s well-being, when that child has no regular exposure to a teacher because they don’t go to school, without interfering or intervening in the parents right to home educate, is the challenge.

    I can understand your concerns about the Badman proposals (and have taken that up and will be writing in the normal way to my constituents who came to see me) but to say there is no issue at all to deal with – is where we part company.

  23. Lynne, you perceive our negativity to be directed at you. In reality our positivity is towards freedom – freedom of choice under current UK law to educate our children within a family setting. We do not believe that ‘authority’ needs to be involved unless there is cause for concern that we may be neglecting or mistreating our children. Bear in mind that all children see other people at times and the families who want to hide their kids will do so, whether there is registration or not.

    Child welfare is, and should be, the concern of the parents, not the authorities unless, as previously stated, there is reason for doubt.

    Why does the state think our children are not safe to be alone with us? WE think our children are not safe being in the care of authority employees – look at the recent news items about nursery workers for example. I am confident my children are safe, well and receiving an education. I do not need to prove this to anyone because not one person on this planet has authority or superiority over my family unless we are breaking the law. We are living increasingly in a tiered society where home-educators are being made to feel as though they are at the bottom the pile. I do not give *anyone* permission to place themselves above me when it comes to my kids unless it becomes apparent to everyone around me that I have completely lost my marbles.

    All this is about undermining the rights of parents and children, the restriction of liberty and the promotion of State as parent.

    You so very obviously do not understand our concerns.

  24. “How to gain assurance about a child’s well-being, when that child has no regular exposure to a teacher because they don’t go to school, without interfering or intervening in the parents right to home educate, is the challenge.”

    There is absolutely no guarantee that ‘exposure’ to a teacher (or increasingly to TAs) assures this.

    Home Educator (and teacher with 18 years experience)

  25. “”It was clear that they totally believed that parents should have an absolute and unfettered right to educate their children in whatever way they see fit”

    And you don’t ? Which part of ‘liberal democrat’ am I misunderstanding ?

  26. Margot Wilson: You don’t mind scary and over prescriptive OFSTED inspectors talking to your students alone because you are not their PARENT!

    I am a parent with able and confident children. However, I would NOT want them being interviewed by a ‘scary and over prescriptive’ LA bod alone. If I were parent with shy, autistic or otherwise abled child, then I would be seriously concerned at the Badman proposals.

    This is not just a concern of home-educators – all parents should be made aware that their children are perceived as being state property.

  27. Margot – I didn’t say anything about it being ok for OFSTED inpectors to talk to chidren alone – please at least read what I write which is that I thought Badman’s proposals were wrong.

    Blind Steve – I do believe parents have the right to educate their children in the way they wish but I was simply describing my visitors’ views. Why jump down my throat for describing accurately the position of my lobbyists?

    Suzanna – yes agree – but the point whether a teacher or a n other – is an external eye

    Bev – yes – but the point is if no one except a parent has access to a child then how would anyone know that the law was being broken. That is exactly the point I am making. And of course child welfare is the parents’ prime responsiblity.

    What is not addressed – and probably is a real issue – is that we fear the state because we know it in current form to be intrusive, to not allow that with which it disagrees and so on. If we had confidence that the state was benevolent and wanted to encourage home-schooling – perhaps the anxiety and fear would not be so palpable in the comments.

  28. “Suzanna – yes agree – but the point whether a teacher or a n other – is an external eye”

    Again, sadly, you let yourself down. Home educated children are see all day long (more so than schooled children) going about their daily activities. Doctors, dentists, opticians, sports coaches etc.


  29. Lynne, I said that our children, the same as all other children, *are* seen by other people. We are not the only people who have access to them! They see doctors, relatives, friends (schooled), other home-educators and their children, neighbours, shop assistants, receptionists, ex-school teachers/headmistress, people in various classes/activities they attend, work colleagues, dentists… everyone, in fact, that you’d expect to meet in the course of ordinary daily life. How is that ‘not access’? You would think that someone would notice if they were neglected, abused or unable to hold a conversation.

    The problem with this review, this issue, is that it is looking at the wrong sector of people. It should be concentrating on the children who have been excluded or are truanting, and parents who have been persuaded to de-register their child by headteachers in order to avoid prosecution. The LAs already know of these cases so that’s where they should begin offering ‘support’ instead of foisting it on those who do not want it, or are quite capable of asking if we did need it.

    I would be happy to provide a statement to my LA confirming that I home-educate and am satisfied with my children’s educational provision and their welfare. That’s all anyone in their self-declared authority needs from me… I and my partner should be trusted to take care of our kids, not held in suspicion because we have chosen a slightly different route to the norm.

    This current climate promotes suspicion before trust and that just isn’t right.

  30. But that’s the point – you don’t trust them and they don’t trust you.

    When you want to change something or prevent something (like overkill by the state)- and there are polarised views – what is the compromise position? Is there one? If both sides – ie you and the Government in this case – stick to absolutes then one of you will lose. That’s why it is worth seeing if there is any alternative way to suggest to the Government that might assauge its fears. And perhaps the Government could look at assuaging yours – with guarantees of non-intervention.

    Also it’s fine to say that children are seen – and of course that’s true of home educated children as you say. But as with everything – it’s not the ones that are seen that are the ones where there is a problem. It’s those who may not have that socialisation or visits to doctors etc. I am sure this is minute and therefore am very sympathetic despite the continued pasting on this blog to try and find how to provide the freedoms you seek.

  31. lynne featherstone says:
    14 October 2009 at 2:46 pm
    Thanks for all your comments. At the risk of setting you all off again – I am struck (given I am a supporter of your cause) by the negative tone of the comments.
    I can understand that the home education community is concerned about any infringement on parental absolutism but child welfare always overides other concerns.

    And what else but child welfare motivates home schoolers, Lynne? Again – the state has no right to interfere unless they have good reason to do so. And the fact that a child is being educated at home is not good reason, and indeed, until the ghastly evil Ed Balls, was not considered to be so.


  32. “How to gain assurance about a child’s well-being, when that child has no regular exposure to a teacher because they don’t go to school, without interfering or intervening in the parents right to home educate, is the challenge.”

    This should be done in exactly the same way we deal with any other crime that may or may not have been committed. Go to a judge, show him why there are reasonable grounds for suspicion and have him issue a warrant.

    We do not demand home inspections of families with preschoolers, why demand it of home educators? Answer – because this would be seen as a monstrous infringement of civil liberties and there would be uproar. It’s just that the bureaucracy reckons it can get away with it in the case of home educators because they are few in number.

    It is not the state’s role to gain assurance of a child’s well being any more than it the state’s role to gain assurance of my well being or the well being of any other person. This doesn’t happen in free societies, or at least it shouldn’t. It is police states where civil servants inspect homes to ensure that crimes are not being committed. The state has the police power, which enables it to investigate crimes and to punish transgressions of the law. This power is awesome and has been carefully curtailed over the centuries to ensure that it is not misused. That is why we demand that it present evidence to judges and obtain warrants before it can enter a home.

    Crime prevention is the proper role of ordinary members of society, not of the state. If you believe that your home educating neighbour is not educating their children then make a complaint to the relevant arm of the state and let them investigate accordingly, just as they would any other offence.

    If you transfer this crime prevention role to the state then you are inviting disaster. At a stroke you invite the most lethal power in the land into every home in the country and sweep aside every restriction on that power. No more reasonable grounds, no more persuading a judge. Just bang on the door and demand access. Toe the line or it’s back to school for you. Toe the line or we’ll take your children into care.

    You begin an enormous game of Russian roulette and you can only hope and pray that everything turns out all right.

  33. Bishop Hill – you put it far better than I can. Well said. Absolutely spot-on, and if a “LIBERAL DEMOCRAT” can’t see this, then she is no liberal and no democrat.

    Damn our politicians. They have betrayed us. Damn them all. And to think my father risked his life for this shower of traitors to end up ruining our country.

    Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you, Ms. Featherstone. And by the way, you have just lost my vote. We have an excellent Lib Dem MP, and – despite the referendum about turn – I intended to vote for him. I won’t now, if this is the way the Lib Dems are heading.

  34. “I do think that home schooling is something that parents should have a right to choose – but despite the protestations from my visitors that all home schooled children are happy and safe – I have heard about less happy outcomes.

    I suppose it’s getting that balance right – that’s the challenge.”

    And absolutely NOTHING to do with you. You are merely a member of parliament. Children do not belong to the State. They belong to society. You are paid by the State, not by society.

    I still have that Baby P Email from Ed Balls by the way.

  35. Dear Ms. Featherstone:

    I am Canadian. I would urge you to consider large jurisdictions where the law recognizes home educators’ right as parents to choose their children’s education, and take complete responsibility for it themselves. These include California, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, Ontario, and British Columbia. In British Columbia, where I live, we (provincial home education organizations) have been monitoring all court cases in which an allegation of child abuse has been made against a home educating family for more than twenty years. We have an annual home-educating population of more than 15,000 children. In twenty years, there have been two cases with such allegations. Both found in favor of the family. Therefore, we have not had a single case of child abuse tied to home education in twenty years.

    In New Zealand, they have recently decided to end annual visits and monitoring of home educators because they are such a “low-risk” population.

    Why would the U.K. government decide it needs to more monitoring of this low-risk population when other governments are realizing that they can spend their money and resources more effectively elsewhere? Why would you worry about “hidden” children, when, as Bishop Hill points out, you already have ample legislation in place to investigate when there is any grounds to suspect a child is being harmed or neglected?

    Child abuse and hidden children have nothing to do with home education. This has been proven the world over.

  36. “They mentioned the way things went in Germany, starting with state intervention and ending with a complete ban on home schooling.”

    If the logical outcome is what happened in Germany, no wonder parent fear state intervention!

    “BERLIN, July 30, 2007(LifeSiteNews.com) – Booklets from a subsidiary of the German government’s Ministry for Family Affairs encourage parents to sexually massage their children as young as 1 to 3 years of age. Two 40-page booklets entitled “Love, Body and Playing Doctor” by the German Federal Health Education Center (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung – BZgA) are aimed at parents – the first addressing children from 1-3 and the other children from 4-6 years of age.

    “Fathers do not devote enough attention to the clitoris and vagina of their daughters. Their caresses too seldom pertain to these regions, while this is the only way the girls can develop a sense of pride in their sex,” reads the booklet regarding 1-3 year olds. The authors rationalize, “The child touches all parts of their father’s body, sometimes arousing him. The father should do the same.”

    Canadian author and public speaker Michael O’Brien who has written and spoken extensively about the crisis of culture in the West spoke to LifeSiteNews.com about the shocking and extremely disturbing phenomenon. It is, he said, “State-encouraged incest, which in most civilized societies is a crime.” /quote


  37. “I can understand that the home education community is concerned about any infringement on parental absolutism but child welfare always overides other concerns.

    How to gain assurance about a child’s well-being, when that child has no regular exposure to a teacher because they don’t go to school, without interfering or intervening in the parents right to home educate, is the challenge.”

    What monstrous thinking.

  38. I think a lot of misunderstanding comes from the phrase “there are xthousand unknown” which is bandied about a lot. It sounds dark and shadowy and like a murky underworld of home educators. In reality the profile of unknown home educator is more along the lines of a parent who realised they wanted to home educate before their children reached school age; spent much time and effort researching home education and is confidently providing a great education for their child; usually much involved in their community and in touch with many home educators and not wanting to take the lottery of becoming known to their LA. It is not a dark and murky picture of people lurking in their homes doing nothing with their children.
    Home educators are often accused of being uncaring when they try to talk of proportionality in terms of numbers of children being abused being so small that these measures are disproportionate. However the reality is that for every crime that their is, some will go undetected and fall through the net. In terms of school the number of children falling through the net must be huge in comparison to the home educated community. In order to catch these cases should we be doing home visits for ALL children. No because we do not think it is proportionate and would definitely be seen as guilty til proven innocent.
    All the major cases of abuse involving ehe or not – have been known to services in one way or another.
    There has been no problem of not knowing children exist but of knowing what to do to support them.
    Registration would not have made any difference to Khyra Ishaq or Eunice Sprys children. They were all known about.
    I have not seen any definition of what exactly the problem is except an uneasy feeling that children must be less safe if they are not seen by state employees on a regular basis and cannot be learning unless they demonstrate it to the state. I also have not seen any convincing reasoning as to why the proposals would effectively solve the perceived problems.

  39. As to the state monitoring of state education this is not done on an individual level. Schools are monitored but as far as the education of each individual child goes – this is not routinely monitored at any level above the actual education provider. eg the school who are the provider look at individuals but not the LA or ofsted who are monitoring the quality of education overall.
    Outstanding schools may well fail individual children but not lots of them.
    Therefore it is up to the parent (as they have ultimate responsibility for their child’s education) to assess if their child is getting a good enough education at that school.
    If they are not convinced then they have the right to change schools, go private or home educate. They may even move their child to a less outstanding school because they think it will better suit their needs.
    head teachers may say that they know best but at the end of the day it is the parent and not teachers or LA officials that know their children best and so have ultimate responsibility and the ultimate say in whether their child is getting a good enough education. This is as true in the state system.
    This will fall down in a small number of cases. But it is still the parents who will most often have the best interests of their individual child at heart when compared to the state where averages and statistics are used.
    Will we then also licence parents to have the right to change their child’s school?
    If 99.6% at least of home ed families are well functioning and have their child’s best interests at heart then we surely don’t need research to show outcomes are good enough. Parents who are that interested in their child’s education would not continue down an educational path that did not meet their child’s needs so the outcomes must be at least good enough. The number of cases where this doesn’t follow will be tiny and surely no greater than the proportion that fall through the school system.
    In state education, parents are also the final arbiter of whether their child’s education is good enough. They are the ultimate inspector/evaluator of education provision for state schools too – in terms of their own child.

  40. It is because I am interested in finding a way to back home education and the freedoms you seek that I firstly took time to meet constituents at parliament, secondly took time to write about the issue very broadly on my blog; thirdly took time to read and response to comments – and am open to the arguments people people have made. But the home educators’ responses that simply attack me for raising questions and even wanting to hear the arguments, daring to examine the concerns raised by the Badman Review and see what the challenges are to complete and absolute freedoms – then how liberal are they? If you cannot tolerate discourse and scrutiny ……..

    Anyway – you have all helped shaped my views and there are a few really good posts that I have found helpful and constructive. I do now have a much more informed position on home education than before and a much clearer one.

  41. “I do think that home schooling is something that parents should have a right to choose – but despite the protestations from my visitors that all home schooled children are happy and safe – I have heard about less happy outcomes.”

    Good lord. On the other hand, all state school pupils come out supremely qualified to cope with the adult world, don’t they?

    Lynne. Home education has gone on for decades without the state seeking to intervene. Apart from the fact that the state would, if it could, have CCTVs in all our houses (Helloooooooo Mr. Balls), what has changed to make the state decide this?

    And does the state serve the people, or vice-versa?

    There are basic matters of liberty and democracy at stake here. Already, damn near any public servant can knock on your door now and demand entry without warning. That never used to be the case. How has society benefited from this, apart from alienating many of us from the concept of “the state”.

    Certainly, 12 years of Labour means that I now see the state as my enemy, and I the enemy of the state. This farrago over home education is yet another case of the state overreaching itself, and forgetting how it serves – which is US, not itself.

  42. You’d think the economic argument alone would carry some weight with this over-spent government. Every child in HE is saving them thousands of pounds a year!