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. Ms. Featherstone,

    I must say I am a little surprised to see your complaints about the “slagging” you were receiving from home educators. I think, considering the rights they stand in danger of losing, their treatment of you and your colleagues has been relatively mild. I think Bishop Hill has said it better than I can:

    “…there is a conundrum for us on the outside looking in at our representatives. When we observe our parliamentarians discussing the abolition of long-cherished freedoms, are we really expected to stand and watch with equanimity? Are we to make polite representations suggesting that perhaps the abolition of the assumption of innocence is not such a good idea and maybe politicians might like to reconsider? Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue….should it not concern us that we outside parliament are having to point out to our elected representatives that what they are proposing is such a disastrous infringement of our rights? How is it that we have elected people who need to have this explained to them? Isn’t the first job of parliamentarians to defend the liberties of the people?”

    My question for you is, why on earth would you feel the need to examine proposals that would violate the time-honored principles of innocent until proven guilty, the parent has primary responsibility for the well-being of the child, and there will be no invasion of the family home without just cause (and a warrant)? You spoke of complete and absolute freedom. Such a thing does not exist! We are all subject to law, and there are ample laws currently on the books to protect children, right now. Home educators don’t need special ones.

  2. I can’t see that there’s an awful lot of attacking by home educators going on here – a couple of the more negative commenters actually refer to home educators as if they themselves are not HE.

    Please do not mistake our passion in defense of our children and our lifestyles as anger at you personally. Many of us are angry and feel betrayed by the libdem party line – I am one of them. I was a paid up libdem, but no longer, as I can’t even have a constructive dialogue on this issue with the party, I just get this conundrum line. We are adults, it’s supposed to be a grown up party. Please recognise that parents are best placed to look after their children and make choices for them, and it is only the state’s place to get involved as a last resort. Not as a just in case, which is very very different.

    Surely you can see that this step towards interfering in families is another reach from the overall control and surveillance state that I believed libdems were committed to scaling down?

  3. In Europe lifelong learning takes now has a different approach, we hope to see more development as a result of new legislation, good luck all teachers!

  4. Pingback: Home schooling: what is the liberal approach?

  5. I think your absolutely right. its about getting a balance. there must also be some form of monitoring system in place to ensure the quality of education.

  6. I’m trying to compile a collection of outcomes of home education..
    Most of the outcomes I’ve heard of so far have been good, but I
    would like to try to make the collection be as representative as
    possible. If you could contact me with some details of these
    outcome I would be very grateful.

    I can kind of understand peoples’ concern for the education and
    welfare of home educated children. As I see it the lee way that the
    current law allows has given space for the growth of autonomous
    education. To outside observers this could be mistaken for no
    education, but from all I’ve heard and experienced it is very
    effective. The attempts to give more power and access to officials
    who do not understand it could be very damaging and wreck the lives
    of many children.

    Best wishes