Another filthy attack on some of the hardest-working and sanest people [UPDATED]
I’d say it’s NOT offensive to someone I’ve never met to call them a potential child abuser.
Read on before you flame me. The clue is in the word potential. EVERYONE IN THE WORLD is, potentially, a child abuser. Everyone you haven’t met yet.
BUT it is, deeply, offensive if I tell a parent I’ve never met that they ought to spend less time with their children, because they could be a child abuser. Or to say they should put less energy and attention into their child’s education than they currently do.
Which is what the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) is doing.
Before you investigate the links below, consider these points:
- In British law the parents/guardians are responsible* for ensuring the child gets a suitable education. Even if they choose to do so by (the route of least resistance) sending her/him to the local state school. I reckon that covers taking the child out of school if they perceive s/he is receiving less than a good-enough education, or being damaged by the people or environment there.
* This is the bit: ‘The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable— (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.’ (My emphasis.) Just down from that, the Government’s own guidelines (in paragraph 2.12) state: ‘Section 175(1) [of the Education Act 2002] does not extend local authorities’ functions. It does not, for example, give local authorities powers to enter the homes of, or otherwise see, children for the purposes of monitoring the provision of elective home education.’ (My emphasis.)
- Without having done any studies myself, instinct says a parent who does things by the book, deregistering their child from school, is less likely to be an abuser, and that the percentage of parents who simply don’t bother getting their children into school is more likely to contain abusers. Nor can i remember hearing of any cases of abuse where the child was not registered at a school.
- In British law, even when you’re officially charged with a crime, you’re innocent until proven guilty.
Now look at these to see why I’m hot under the collar about this:
- The official Government press release: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2009_0013(Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288, email@example.com)
- Ann Newstead blogging about it for the Telegraph: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ann_newstead/blog/2009/01/22/the_government_is_victimising_parents_who_home_educate – and all those comments below!
- The DCSF Consultation Document: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1605&external=no&menu=1
- Action for Home Education: http://ahed.pbwiki.com/About-AHEd
- UPDATE: Petition the Prime Minister ‘to to remind his government that parents must remain responsible in law for ensuring the welfare and education of their children and that the state should not seek to appropriate these responsibilities’: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Homeedreview/
- A home-edding blogger – have a search; there are lots out there: http://www.swsurrey-home-ed.co.uk/wordpress/2009/01/20/another-consultation-another-rant/ – This latest move by the British government may seem to be of interest only to home educators but hear me out, it goes much deeper than that. [… …]
- Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE): http://www.crae.org.uk/
- A letter to CRAE: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=45453211491&topic=7515
- And if you’re on Facebook, join this group: Stop the UK Government Stigmatising Home Educators! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45453211491. (Loads more links from there, too)
We can’t just sit back and let home education be outlawed (which is where this is heading) when our state school system is of such erratic quality.
And if you disagree about where this is heading, you can’t claim home-educating parents deserve the spirit-sapping job of coping with this kind of bullying – which takes their time and energy away from their (unpaid) job, their children’s education.
If the Government wants to ‘guarantee all children their right to a balanced education in a safe, healthy environment’ as Delyth Morgan says in that press release i cite above, it needs to start with the demoralised, and in some schools ineffective and/or dangerous, state system. It’s a minority who sacrifice career and income and status for the years that in their own lives are only a few but for their children are the only childhood they’ll ever have. But it’s a growing minority and this is why.
Some of what you’ll find in the articles I’ve linked to may sound extreme. I’m one of nature’s cynics and would have dismissed some of it as sensationalism. But I have seen an academically-selective state school fail its very able students, academically. I have fought an LEA that staunchly ignored all my complaints. It takes a lot to change my ever-reasonable views but on this I’m a convert.
I can think of a few topics that matter as much, but none that is of more importance than the education of our children and the freedom of parents to parent their own children. Spread the word.
I waive copyright on this blogpost; you are free to reproduce it in full or in part anywhere. If possible and appropriate, i ask that you attribute it to mmSeason and/or link here: https://travelhopefully.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/dcsf-attack-home-education/. Thanx – mand.