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.