Pincer Movement: Home Education in Britain on the way to banishment

“Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends… …when millions are slaughtered, when torture is practiced, starvation enforced, oppression made a policy, as at present over a large part of the world, and as it has often been in the past, it must be at the behest of very many good people, and even by their direct action, for what they consider a worthy object.” Isabel Paterson ‘The God of the Machine’

There is a new consultation, hot on the heels of the last one outlining the proposed guidelines for Local Authorities who have a ‘…a new duty to establish the identities of children missing education.’

Everything that could be wrong, is wrong with this. Lets pull it apart section by section:

1.1.1 There is wide agreement about the outcomes we all want for every child – they should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing.

That is completely wrong. There is no ‘wide agreement about the outcomes that we want for every child’. That is why millions of families are home educating. There is no ‘we’ in all of this. Each family is separate, and there is no collective ownership of children. Any normal parent wants their child to, “be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve”. The shape that that takes is up to each family, and has nothing to do with and cannot be defined by the state.

None of this is negotiable.

The same goes for ‘economic well-being’ this is not something that can be defined by the state, especially when it concerns future economic well-being. And for an idea of what a country looks like where everyone has a degree, just look at third world countries where there are so many people with them that many of them are bus conductors. No parent wants their child to be a bus conductor, and yet, if everyone in the country achieved a university degree, would not this eventually be the case? But I digress.

1.1.3 The guidance in this document aims to help Local Authorities (LAs) to effectively implement the duty to identify children not receiving a suitable education. […]

Everything in this document (except the database references) would be acceptable if all mention of home education was removed. Home education is not relevant to this in any way, and if this document was designed to guide Local Authorities for all cases of bad children or children at risk (which home educated children are not a subset of) then it would be fairly innocuous. Sadly, the imbeciles who authored this are clearly against home education and have, from the outset, wanted to create a system of organized harassment to suppress home education in the UK.

As I have said before, no one in a Local Authority has the right to tell a parent what is or is not ‘suitable education’ anyone with even a single brain cell can see that this is the case. A parent may want their children educated and nurtured in their culture and religion; no Local Authority Apparatchik has the right to come into your house and tell you that your child must receive facts deemed by the state to be necessary to life. The very idea should be anathema to all decent people.

1.1.4 Children not receiving a suitable education are clearly at risk of a range of negative outcomes that could have long term damaging consequences for their life chances. For example they are at risk of not attaining the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life, and are at significant risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) once they have reached the compulsory school leaving age. They are also are more likely to be vulnerable in one way or another. They may be from disadvantaged families, (experiencing multiple risks such as poverty, substance misuse, mental ill-health and poor housing), travelling communities, immigrant families, be unaccompanied asylum seeking or trafficked children, or be at risk of neglect or abuse or disengaged from education.

The schools that the state runs produce negative outcomes that have long term damaging consequences for the life chances of British children. That is why so many people choose to home educate. Many state educated children do not attain the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life. The system is so bad that they have to reduce the difficulty of exams so that these educationally impoverished children have a chance of getting a ‘passing’ grade. This is why universities and commercial enterprises have to set their own exams to see who can do what after 100 candidates all with 5 grade ‘A’ A-Levels come to interview but none of them can spell.

Disadvantaged families, families in poverty, substance abusers, mental health cases, travelers, immigrant families, asylum seekers, trafficked children – none of these categories have anything whatsoever to do with home educated children, and it is illogical and offensive to mention them in the same breath as the unfortunates in that list. The Local Authorities already have many duties related to these groups. They cannot run the schools they are already tasked with organizing. New Labour ministers avoid them like the plague; what is it that they fear so much about home educators that they must lump them in with these trouble cases?

This is a direct attack on a philosophical difference that home educators have with the collectivists in New Labour. New Labour does not want any child left behind…from the indoctrination and brainwashing that creates mindless drones who will believe anything that they are told, who cannot think at all, never mind think for themselves. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’; look at the results of the schools they have been running. They produced a generation of people capable of enjoying ‘Lad Mags’, an epidemic of binge alcoholism, feral street children and decent people fleeing their ‘education’ system.

1.1.5 Local authorities, through their Children’s Trust, must have robust measures in place both to identify quickly when a child is not receiving a suitable education, and to follow through with effective tracking and enquiry systems. These measures should be at the heart of the local strategies for preventing negative outcomes for children and young people, and ensuring their safety and well-being.

The best way to ensure that children do not have ‘negative outcomes’ is to make the schools that they attend good enough to achieve these results. When they are able to make the schools perform properly, the incentive to home educate will be eliminated, and the only people left doing it will be those with children who have special needs. Until they have done this, they do not have a leg to stand on on this front, quite apart from the moral aspect of a parent’s right to educate and nurture their children in whatever way they see fit.

1.2.1 This document is issued under the section 436A (inserted before section 437 in Chapter 2, Part 6 of the Education Act 1996 (school attendance) by the Education and Inspections Act 2006), which provides that local authorities must have regard to statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State. This document provides that statutory guidance and applies to England only. Local authorities in England must take this guidance into account and, if they decide to depart from it, have clear reasons for doing so.

My emphasis.

What this means is what I asserted before. These guidelines are not new law, they are guidelines, and as such, you are free to ignore them, just as the Local Authorities are free to ignore them.

1.2.2 This document is a revised version of original statutory guidance issued in February 2007, updated to place implementation of the duty in the revised strategic context following on from publication of the Children’s Plan (December 2007); to reflect priorities that emerged since the original version was published; and to reflect local authorities’ initial experience of implementing the duty.

Translation: “We could not have possibly put all of this in the original guidelines, otherwise there might have been a rebellion.”

1.2.3 Section 436A requires all local authorities to make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children residing in their area who are not receiving a suitable education. In relation to children, by ‘suitable education’ we mean efficient full-time education suitable to her/his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have.

And here is the true purpose of this entire exercise.

This is the way they are going to get every child in England into and justify the existence of ContactPoint.

Quite apart from that, this section is absurd on its face. It is not the place of the state to determine what is or is not a suitable education. It is not the place of the state to say what is or is not an efficient education, and neither is it their place to mandate full-time education.

1.2.4 The duty applies in relation to children of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll, and who are not receiving a suitable education otherwise than being at school, for example, at home, privately, or in alternative provision.

The goal of these guidelines is to create a way to sweep up all the home educating children in the UK, identify them, categorize them and put them on a database, together with the names of their parents, siblings, ethnicity and other details. See below. Once again, children who are being educated at home, privately, or in alternative provision should not be subject to being identified for this purpose, since they are being eductated quite legally. Are they going to go to all the private schools in the UK and ask for their student registers? If the Local Authority has a duty to identify every child who is not on a school roll, how are they to know which ones are being home educated and which are in private schools? The only way to know would be to collect in a database, a list of all children who are in any type of school and then the numbers that are left are ‘at risk’, and lo and behold, further in the report, we have:

Access to rolls for all providers
6.19 When the named person(s) receive notification about a child believed to be in their area it may be necessary to check the child’s name and other details, if available, against all alternative provision rolls in the local area held by the local authority and schools to see if they are already registered. One way to achieve this is to have all names of school-aged children kept on a central database which is frequently updated and can be checked by the staff members who require access. (This is not a requirement to set up new IT systems for children not receiving education. See paragraph 6.37 for suggestions for utilising existing databases).

6.20 Another way to check a child’s name and other details would be via communication links with all educational providers: this includes all schools; Pupil Referral Units; custodial institutions and other providers of alternative provision (local authorities and schools should establish a contractual agreement that providers of alternative provision will keep a register to check if the child is registered with them.

God help you if your child has the same name as another child who is a bad egg deep in the system. All it will take is for one of these Apparatchiks to misidentify you and your life will be turned into a living hell. If you let them.

They are actually saying that PRIVATE schools must turn over the rolls of their students to the Local Authority. It simply beggars belief, but it is totally logical; they want EVERY CHILD IN THE DATABASE, and being able to afford private education is not going to be an exception.

1.2.5 In order to help local authorities achieve consistency in how they share information in order to meet this duty, this version of the guidance includes, at Appendix 1, a workbook that provides standard data definitions. The data definitions were produced taking into account the views of local authorities based on their experience of implementing the duty since its introduction in February 2007.

This is unacceptable. Period.

1.2.7 Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to enable them to establish whether a child who is being educated at home (under section 7 of the Education Act 1997) is not receiving suitable education.

This is perhaps the worst part of all, and it is something we have covered at length. No public servant has the right or the ability to say what is or is not a suitable education, and by including this in the guidelines, they are opening the door for widespread harassment and abuse. Once again, for many parents the lack of provision of a suitable education by the Local Authority is the very reason why parents are opting to home educate. It is completely absurd that they should now be given guidelines that say they should pass judgement on families when they are manifestly incapable of providing themselves what they are looking for in a home educator.

What this boils down to is mandatory inspection. And if you do not measure up, you can be compelled to send your child to receive an inferior education.

1.2.8 ContactPoint, to be implemented across England by mid 2009, will help local authorities discharge the duty by recording the place where a child is being educated, where that is known. Where it is known that a child is being educated at home, that would also be recorded. This will enable local authorities to focus their efforts on identifying children who are not receiving education, and putting in place the necessary support. ContactPoint will also show whether a Common Assessment Framework has been undertaken with a child, and whether the child has a ‘lead professional’ co-ordinating any support required.

And there you have it. They are going to use ContactPoint to list all home educators and then pick them off one by one for inspection and shut-down. This section is completely absurd. It says that where a child is being EDUCATED at home, ContactPoint will enable Local Authorities to find children who are NOT BEING EDUCATED!

1.3.2 The duty to identify children not receiving a suitable education can make a cross-cutting contribution to a number of local priorities and should strengthen and complement existing duties. It should be incorporated into the local authority’s Children’s Trust governance and strategic planning arrangements, which are made under section 17 of the Children Act 2004, and the cross-cutting arrangements of safeguarding and inter-agency co-operation to improve the well-being of children. (Children Act 2004 Guidance http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/strategy/guidance/).

1.3.3 The relevant partner agencies are: (these are the partners referred to in The Children Act 2004 in relation to a number of duties)

  • Education (maintained schools, independent schools, Academies, Pupil Referral Units, special schools and City Technology Colleges)
  • Children’s Social Care
  • Health (Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts)
  • Police and police authorities
  • Youth Offending Teams
  • Community safety teams, anti-social behaviour teams
  • Young Offender Institutions
  • Secure Training Centres
  • local authority Secure Children’s Homes
  • Housing providers.

Other key partners are

  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Connexions
  • statutory and voluntary youth services
  • UK Border Agency
  • the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Other Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership agencies
  • voluntary and community organisations.

There may also be others, depending on local circumstances.

1.3.4 Information Sharing Guidance was published April 2006 and can be found on the Every Child Matters website.

??!!

No doubt sensitive data from ContactPoint will be shared with all of these agencies.

Simply ASTONISHING.

6.24 Local authorities should not make “blanket” enquires (by email or hard copy). Contacting all local authorities with a list of children asking them to search their databases is seen as poor practice and the majority of local authorities will ignore this request, as it is time consuming with little reward (very rare that they find the child in their area). It is also not secure. Best practice is for local authorities to carry out thorough local checks in their own authority area before contacting specific local authorities that they believe to be linked to the child/young person that they are looking for.

Amazing. Fishing expeditions are ‘seen’ as poor practice, they are not ACTUALLY poor practice, and, “don’t bother doing it anyway, since your request will probably be ignored”. Well, I feel so much better that these goons are concerned about security!

Of course, we know that ContactPoint itself is not secure, and here, we can see an example of why that is the case. They are going to share information on every child they can get their hands on, between all agencies with a computer, and Local Authorities will be able to search private and public databases at will for any child that they cannot find in their own databases. This is going to be one of the leakiest databases ever…and it will be a database of CHILDREN!

It gets worse:

Useful information to share with another local authority in England
To enable local authorities to make their best efforts to search for a child/young person on behalf of the enquiring local authority the following basic information could be shared (as appropriate) with the named officer:

  • Name (plus any know aliases)
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Parents/carers names including who has parental responsibility
  • Siblings names
  • Previous Address
  • Previous school and date of last attendance
  • Possible new address and school if known or suspected
  • Previous home education
  • Date child/young person left area
  • If recent entry to UK – their country of origin.

Absolutely unbelievable and unacceptable.

6.26 Care must be taken to ensure information is factual and evidence based. (Also consideration should be given to guidance on “custodians of child protection register”

This is absurd. First, they want to check every home educator to make sure that the provision is ‘suitable’, and then, they want to make sure that information is ‘evidence based’. You cannot have it both ways; you cannot on the one hand lump all home educators in one basket and say that they are all putting their children at risk based on no evidence at all and then say that information should be factual and evidence based. In the law, you are guilty until proven innocent. You cannot enter someone’s house or data or communications without probable cause. These guidelines violate some of the most important principles of the law and of free countries, this is quite apart from violating the sanctity and centrality of the family.

6.27 The following may give an indication of the level of vulnerability of child:

  • reason for leaving if known
  • home educated child where the local authority considers that the parent is not providing a suitable education
  • the child is or has been the subject of a child protection plan

[…]

You see? Suspicion is generated by the mere fact that parents are home educators. Unacceptable!

6.34 Local authorities should keep a record of children who are known to be educated at home by parents. Parents are not, however, required to inform the local authority if they decide to home educate a child who has not previously attended school.

This is insane. Local Authorities need to keep a record of all home schoolers (why?) but parents are not required to inform the local authority. How are the Local Authority going to keep records of all home educators, as the guidelines say they must? Any self respecting parent will not offer up their children to this system, and so when the Local Authority come calling and the parent says nothing (as is their absolute right), a conflict will occur.

This is bad guidance, and like the last set of guidance that ignored all the consultation entries, it is full of contradictions, prejudice, ignorance and offensive, immoral twaddle.

One thing is for sure; these guidelines will only affect the most vulnerable home educating families – the ones without money or influence, the ones who are debilitated by having children with problems. Any parent with a powerful solicitor can simply have a single letter written and these Apparatchiks will be frightened off.

These new guidelines are offensive. They are offensive because they illogical, and do not take the reality of home and state education into account. They do not take the needs of children into account. They do not take the rights of parents into account. They recklessly and violently violate the privacy of parents and children, and then share their sensitive and private data with anyone they care to, without the consent of anyone.

These guidelines are what we expected; another step in the incrementalist approach to total control and outlawing of home education in the uk.

Another interesting aspect of this is related to the German home educators experience of their Hitler written home education law (its completely banned). Germans wishing to home educate have moved to the UK and even to Iran to live freely. When the state finally decides to outlaw home education here, will they deny parents the right to move out of the country? Will it be the case in the future that everyone needs an exit visa to leave the UK? Just as it is in Germany and as I said before, if all of this is genuinely being done for the good of the children, how cold you possibly let them leave the fatherland to be educated outside of the German system in Iran, or Britain or the USA? Logically, you would have to bar all movements of all children out of the country so that you can ensure that they are receiving a suitable education in the state system.

Under ideal circumstances, we would never be confronted by Local Authority guidelines like this, or the sinister databases or anything else in this wretched document. In a a slightly less than ideal world, we would expect to see a union of all home educators in the UK to combine as a single voice to say that these guidelines are moot and will not under any circumstances be obeyed. There would be a fighting fund, the most powerful lawyers hired, a hell of a stink raised and the state humiliated and sent packing.

Sadly, we live in the worst of all possible worlds; there are many home educators who will feel that all of this is perfectly OK, who will go along with it and who will deride anyone who thinks otherwise.

We have Local Authorities and government bodies that are completely and willfully ignorant about and hostile to home schooling, who will do anything to stamp it out and will hurt any number of children that they can in order to achieve their nefarious goals.

This document is literally sickening. Every aspect of it is nauseating and what is most insulting is the fact that no matter who complains and no matter what logic is applied to it, it will be published as written, without change, because the evil people behind it (and some of the dimwitted on the receiving end of it) simply do not care about anyone’s rights.

Another nail in the coffin of Great Britain.

Read all our other posts on this subject.

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2 comments on “Pincer Movement: Home Education in Britain on the way to banishment
  1. […] Movement: Home Education in Britain on the way to banishmentirdial: From The Times: It appears my […]

  2. irdial says:

    From The Times:

    It appears my wife and I have upset the Government, as part of the small minority of parents who refused to have our 11-year-old child weighed and measured in school last term. The authorities worry that it was the parents of fat children who opted out. Or it could have been parents like us, who object to being conscripted into a fat-headed crusade against child obesity that is heavy on political intrusion and light on proven effectiveness.

    Letters are to be sent to parents whose children were weighed, giving a “mark” ranging from “underweight” through “healthy weight” to “very overweight”. There has been a predictable PC-gone-mad reaction to the Department of Health’s predictably stupid decision to drop the word “obese”. But whatever words they use, the message is clear: that the authorities have the right to decide whether or not our children are living “healthy lives”. They want to measure not only body mass but moral worth, to decide whether our children fit the State’s model. The most likely results will be to produce miserable kids and anxious parents.

    Despite overegged talk of a child obesity “epidemic”, the real extent, causes and health consequences of children being overweight remain uncertain. What is more certain is the lack of hard evidence that campaigns of intervention in school or family life have any beneficial effects. But whatever the intentions, they do single out kids for more pressure, harassment and ridicule – which is all that our body-conscious pre-teens need.

    Yet the authorities throw their substantial weight behind every stunt from policing lunchboxes to weighing children like little piggies. At a time when governments have lowered horizons from creating the Good Society to moulding the Healthy Citizen, the anti-obesity crusade legitimises public monitoring of private behaviour. Ours is an age when bullies can no longer call children fatty in the playground. Yet it is deemed legitimate for government to bully them and their parents, using obesity as a bogeyman in scary stories about how we are killing our kids.

    It will be a joyless world for children if we turn the pleasures of food, drink and play into problems of “healthy living”. At the Museum of London yesterday, my daughters learnt about the statue Fat Boy of Pie Corner, erected where the Great Fire of 1666 ended to warn Londoners that it was caused by “the sin of gluttony”. Today the pious warn us about our unhealthy lifestyles rather than our sins. Back home, the children borrowed a neighbour’s Wii Fit game. The first thing it does is decide whether you are ideal, overweight or obese. What fun!

    Mick Hume gets a taste of ‘suitable education’!

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