Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Government moving in on homeschoolers

Graham Badman was asked by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, to review arrangements for home education in England. His report has now been published: Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Elective Home Education in England. On the same day as the publication of the review, Ed Balls wrote a letter in reply, in which he says:
I accept all the recommendations in your report that call for urgent action to improve safeguards for home educated children and we will introduce these as soon as possible...
(But he is, er... "issuing a consultation.")

The report gives prominence to the concern raised by the British Humanist Association as follows:
“some of those who choose to educate their children at home for religious reasons may not be providing schooling that is adequate, either according to the Every Child Matters agenda or the principles of Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”.
I did think at the time it was introduced that the "Every Child Matters Agenda" would take on an increasingly sinister tone.

The review's proposals include a national registration scheme for home educators, to be renewed annually. There will be national guidance issued which will include a
clear statement of the statutory basis of elective home education and the rights and responsibilities of parents
Homeschooling is therefore no longer to be considered something that parents have a natural right to do, but something that has to have a "statutory basis."

Parents will have to:
provide a clear statement of their educational approach, intent and desired/planned outcomes for the child over the following twelve months.
Designated Local Authority officers will have the right of access to the home and the right to speak with each child alone "if deemed appropriate."

The Badman-Balls approach is a fundamental contradiction of the true relationship between state education and the family. The school should be considered as acting "in loco parentis" (in the place of the parent) because the parents are the first educators and carers for their own children. This latest review and its recommendations assume that the state is the primordial educator and carer and that if parents "elect" to educate their children without the help of the state, they are effectively acting "in loco rei publicae" (in the place of the state) and must therefore be registered, monitored, reviewed...

... pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed and numbered?

"In your heads must still be the remnant of a brain. In your hearts must still be the desire to be a human being again."

"This is a most serious breach of etiquette."
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