Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homeschooling consultation: last call

Everything you need is below, courtesy of Christian Concern for our Nation.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families published a consultation on home schooling. Please respond in order to preserve the freedoms of those parents who wish to educate their children at home. The closing date is Monday, 19th October 2009.

Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children receive a “suitable” education. The Government wants to usurp the role of parents and impose more governmental control, thus intruding upon families who choose to educate their children at home. Both the Bible and the law recognise it is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children, not that of the Government. Education is compulsory, but school is not. Parents can choose either to send their children to school, or to educate them at home. The Badman Report reviewed elective home education. In our opinion, the Badman Report makes disproportionate and unreasonable recommendations for compulsory registration and invasive monitoring of those families who choose to educate at home.

The point of most concern to all parents, especially Christian ones, is the proposal that those who choose to educate at home will have Government officials interview a child alone—without even a parent being present.

To read the Badman Report, the Consultation, or to respond on line, click here. Please note that the Government have produced a full response to the Badman Report very recently. To read the press release or the Government’s response, both dated 9th October 2009, clickhere.

To read our response click here.

To watch the YouTube Response by Education Otherwise to the Report on the Review of Elective Home Education, please click here.

Send your response headed “Home Education—Registration and Monitoring Proposals Consultation Response” by e-mail

There is no need to answer all of the questions in this Consultation unless you wish to do so; you could instead send two or three points by e-mail.

Please say that you reject all of Graham Badman’s recommendations and ask the Government to abandon them. We would also suggest you make some of the following points, in your own words:

Interviewing Children Alone

  • It is a violation of parental responsibility and rights to interview a child alone. Even the police do not do so. Under no circumstances should this proposal be allowed.

National Register

  • Annual registration of children will make no difference to safeguarding them. The current guidelines for local authorities already make it clear that safeguarding applies both to children who attend school and to those who are home-educated.

  • Compulsory annual registration and inspection visits by the Local Education Authority is not welcome, as in many cases it is precisely because of the education system having failed them, that parents have chosen to educate their children at home.

  • The suggestion of criminalising parents who educate at home for failure to register their children is totally inappropriate and disproportionate. It is the parent’s choice to send a child to school or to educate at home. It incorrectly implies that it is the Government who has the responsibility for education, not the parents.

  • No evidence has been provided of the need for a national register. The idea of registering children who are educated at home is akin to the Government imposing a licensing scheme on home education, when it is not the Government’s responsibility to do so.

Freedom of Choice

  • Christian parents may wish to educate their children according to Christian values and should be free to do so. Undergoing a state education may result in children learning more about other religions than about Christianity. The UK is subject to international legal obligations that require it to respect the right of parents to ensure their children’s education is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.

  • The freedom to educate at home should not be taken from parents. The Government appears wrongly to be set on a course of eroding parents’ rights in this matter by compulsory means.

Misapplying Child Protection Systems to Home Education

  • The Badman Report and the recent DCSF press release of 9th October 2009, inappropriately apply child protection methodology to home education implying that home education can lead to child abuse. In doing this they have cast an unjustified and unfair shroud of suspicion over home educators.

  • Home educators have been tarred as "guilty" merely because they are home educators and are feeling the need to prove their "innocence" in relation to safeguarding issues. The DCSF needs to produce a measured response rather than allowing a small number of safeguarding cases to make “bad law”. Home educators have pointed out that the most dangerous and damaging abuse of children often takes place in children too young to go to school, where children have been withdrawn from school, or where they are already known to social services.

Expensive and Unnecessary

  • The proposals are both expensive and unnecessary, because there are already powers the local authority can use to make a School Attendance Order where it appears that a child is not receiving a “suitable” education.

Government Control

  • The Government should not seek to control or to intrude on family life.

  • The Badman Report states that, “Few would argue with the assertion that parents are the prime educator within or outside of a schooling system”. The Report then seeks totally to undermine that assertion in the recommendations made which will erode a parent’s freedom of choice over their own child’s education.

  • The proposals reverse the correct presumption of family freedom to educate one’s own children as a matter of parental duty rather than governmental duty. Thus, the Badman recommendations should be rejected as they are founded on this incorrect principle.

  • Children may be withdrawn from school because parents are dissatisfied with the school system for one reason or another and the last thing they would want is more Government intervention.

Unjustified Government Control

  • It is of real concern that the proposals include asking parents to provide the local authority with achievement and future attainment data. This question is indicative of the Government’s attempt to assert control over what the child is taught and is eroding the basic freedom of parents to educate their children at home.

  • The recent Government proposal to clarify what a “suitable” and “efficient” education means, threatens the freedom of parents to devise a tailored or flexible educational approach for their children in their own homes without one being dictated to them by the Government.

Procedural Concern

  • The Department for Children, Schools and Families (“DCSF”) published their Response to the Review of Elective Home Education in England on 9th October 2009, which creates uncertainty for respondents to this Consultation. Members of the public are bound to wonder whether their responses to the present Consultation are actually going to be taken into account in the formulation of policy on home education. The correct procedure should have been either to include the Government’s Response to the Badman Report in this Consultation, so that members of the public could comment on it, or to wait until all responses to the Consultation had been considered before producing a Response.

Please also click here to sign the petition to reject the Badman recommendations and retain the freedom for parents to educate at home.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen