Some more organised thoughts

I have a nasty feeling that there is going to be a LOT to be upset and angry about in Mr Badman’s report so I’ll address the big issues that have been ‘leaked’ already and come back when the full report is available.


I was fully expecting to see compulsory registration of home educated children suggested and all ready to argue against it, but no, he’s going one big fat Stalinist step further and suggesting that every single child should be registered with their local council AT BIRTH and that parents further be required to sign in with their new LA should they move house.

Require monitoring of all home educated children on the grounds of welfare

We’ve heard this one right from the start, because our children aren’t at school they are allegedly invisible, unknown to the outside world and thus at risk of a host of abuses. On the basis of this “well it could happen” argument all home educating parents are marked as ‘potential abusers’ and can only clear their names by allowing regular access to their children by government agents. Parents who send their children to school only escape this indignity because it is assumed that teachers will spot any abuse, who knows how, and report it. In this brave new world we are guilty until proven innocent. Parents are not to be trusted with their own children without state oversight.

The broader than expected scope of registration makes it frighteningly clear that they aren’t going to wait until later to move on from home educators to target parents of younger children. They may well be planning on some careful wording under cover of regulating home ed that will allow them to demand Abuse Checks for every single child who, by virtue of being home with mum rather than farmed out to state sponsored care, isn’t already under their control.

Let’s be clear the current law grants Social Services a lot of power when concerns are raised about ANY child. They can investigate, they can insist on seeing the child, they don’t need the right to enter every home to talk to every child regardless of there being any hint of a concern. It’s hard to imagine that over worked, under staffed social workers would ever want such powers! Makes you wonder who they plan on giving this welfare role to and just how well qualified they’ll be?

“Guidelines on minimum standards for educating children at home”

What does this MEAN? Such a short phrase. It almost sounds harmless but it means measurement, testing and regular monitoring, because how can you have “minimum standards” without policing them? It also means proscription of content and method because once you’ve monitored and tested if you don’t like what you see you can demand changes and withdraw permission if they’re not made.

This is a matter of great concern and cuts to the heart of why many of us choose to educate our own children. We’ve seen what the system offers and we don’t think it meets our legal duty to provide an education which is both efficient and suitable to the ability and aptitude of the child. I missed out age because as any home educating parent knows, it’s both futile and counter-productive to worry too much about what anyone else says a child should know or be able to do at a given age. How could anyone from inside the system be expected to fairly judge any education which at its core rejects that system, particularly if they have a tick box list in their hand?

I doubt the Badman report will give any details of these “minimum standards” but that doesn’t matter because once there’s a list it will be oh so easy for it to grow and start including specific subjects and the number of hours that should be spent on x, y or z per week and before you know it you’ll be doing “school at home” and following the Ed Balls approved book list.

The current law is clear, we are responsible, and we’re fine with that. What isn’t fine is for the state to assume, with no evidence at all, and then set down in law that we are ALL failing in our legal duties. Not only with no evidence at all that this is the case but even where there is substantial evidence that it’s NOT. Compulsory monitoring says “not only do we as a default think you’re not providing a suitable education, if you mange to convince us you are this time we’re going to come back and demand you prove it again next year, or even next month.”

The current law allows Local Authorities to make enquiries IF they have grounds for concern. What more could a reasonable person want? If they’re worried about family X they investigate, and if they’re not happy they can force the children into school, they have in fact a great deal of power.

Last Modified: Saturday, June 6th, 2009 @ 12:37

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2 Responses to “Some more organised thoughts”

  1. I still do not think much will change LA’s are so slow and have not got the money or extra staff to spend on chasing after us! they can not cope now with all the school problems they have so it is just not going to happen Badman may want it but on the ground it will not work! All you do if you hear from an LA is say can you explain a bit more in wrting please he then writes back you can then write back saying not sure what you mean and ask more questions he then would have to write back and so on have done this and it works because we as home educators have the time an LA officersdoes not have the time! it all so fills his in tray up you can carry on wrting to him asking him why he not answered say point 2 of your letter we did this in other words you can turn the tables on them and they then just want rid of you!! it is just a report which we all know will not happen on the ground!! have Badman that have asked him where is the money for all these ideas of yours plust the exra staff your need? council are cuting back not hiring staff!

  2. Brilliant stuff, ducks.

    Yes, we can bugger up the system nicely, I think, should they want war.

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