This is the letter posted to Mr Graham Badman of the Elective Home Education Review, on May 6th 2009, calling for the review to be scrapped and including AHEd’s dossier of information and responses:
Dear Mr Badman,
AHEd members call for the Review of Home Education to be cancelled immediately on various grounds, not least because of the illegitimate Terms of Reference. We have completed the consultation document, not in recognition of the value or legitimacy of the review, but as a means of being statistically included and conveying important messages about the errors inherent in the consultation process and questions.
We attach a copy of the response of AHEd members to the six question consultation “Home Education – Your Views” on the DCSF consultation web site.
AHEd object to the claim that this is not in fact a consultation, thereby allowing for avoidance of the regulations governing public consultations set by the Better Regulations Executive. DCSF Public Communications Unit state:
“Mr Badman has decided that he wants his review to be informed by material from a wide range of stakeholders, so he decided to offer the opportunity for organisations and individuals to contribute to the review by filling in a questionnaire.”
Quite how this aim can be achieved by avoiding good consultation practice and thus limiting the scope of those reached is a mystery, especially as the major and only really valid stakeholder group, home educators, are likely to be those most frequently excluded by this methodology. Despite efforts from within the HE community to contact a wide range of home educators, it is not possible to reach anywhere near the majority of the estimated 20,000 to 50,000 home educators.
On the other hand, local authorities who also had access to the six question consultation (and who are known to be often hostile toward and uneducated about home education and who are largely responsible for the calls for unwarranted increases in their powers) have been asked to complete an exclusive 60 question missive. The questions in this document demonstrate a shocking lack of understanding of the law and constitute a blatant incitement to local authorities to illicitly harass and persecute home educating families. They also highlight the DCSF’s and Review Team’s disdain for the Elective Home Education Guidelines for England which were only recently published by the DCSF after an extensive public consultation.
AHEd members believe that the review has been composed in this skewed manner in order to attain predetermined answers for the purpose of supporting the government’s desire to impose compulsory registration, monitoring and tracking of electively home educated children and their families, including state control and prescription of educational method, content and outcome for all children. The government’s motto seems to be “If at first you don’t succeed (in getting the answers you want from your consultation) try, try, try again (using increasingly devious techniques to try to thwart those who oppose you).
Further evidence of the predetermined outcome of this review was provided by yourself in a meeting with home educators when you declared that the “status quo” cannot prevail and changes WILL be made. Saying this before the review is complete is a clear indication that you have a predetermined outcome.
AHEd members are aware of the document “Education Otherwise Prospectus for Improving Support to Home Educating Families” presented to the review and wish to distance ourselves from it and dismiss the proposals out of hand. The document was written by a handful of home educators with no reference at all to the wider home education community or even to Education Otherwise members. In our opinion it does not represent proposals we would be happy to engage with and is extremely unlikely to have support in the wider home educating community. On the contrary, it has caused outrage.
AHEd members insist in the strongest possible terms that the only necessary changes are for LAs to stop ultra vires activity and instead learn to use the legal powers they already have. If changes in legislation that reduce the freedoms of home educators are proposed, this would be an act of the utmost hostility toward home educators and would be rejected out of hand by the home education community.
The public, especially those actually involved and likely to be affected by the outcome, do not have a taste for accepting such invasion into their private business. Our members will not co-operate with their own oppression and will continue to act and speak for our historic freedom to raise and educate our children in accordance with our personal philosophies, religious beliefs and conscience. Please see our Parents’ Declaration, attached.
You may also be aware of our petition which gathered 3,126 signatures in a short time plus that of the petition creator: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Homeedreview/
Further material supporting our call for cessation of the review is included.
This is a great thing.
It draws a line in the sand, and gives the enemy a chance to back down. Sadly, they will not back down.
We all know that petitions do not work, that the declaration is flawed because it relies on the law as a basis of rights, etc etc, but in the main, this is probably the best thing a Home Education group has ever produced.
What needs to happen next is that every parent in Britain should be made to understand what this review really means. It is actually about the rights of all parents to look after their own children in any context, wether they are in school or not:
There is no current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home. There is no need for such a system, there never has been a need and there never will be. Children who are educated at home are exactly the same as those who are educated at schools. If you think there is a need for a system to safeguard children who are educated at home, then you need to start one to safeguard children who are educated at school. All schoolchildren have home lives just like home educated ones do. There is no more risk in either type of education. This consultation is the result of the fantasies of ignorant aparatchicks who are desperate to destroy the family, and to put every child in a government brainwashing centre. It simply will not wash. All the assumptions of this are completely wrong, and everyone knows it.
Home educating families should not be monitored, any more than families who send their children to schools should be monitored. Both of these groups have family lives; the only difference being that home educating families have more of a family life than those that send their children to school. Once again, this question is borne out of complete ignorance of what Home Education is, why it is done, who is doing it, what the proper role of government is, and what the fundamental rights of parents are.
I will give you an example.
There is talk about provision for kindergarten being made available nation-wide for children of three. Imagine that you do not want your child to attend one of these state kindergartens, and that you want to keep them at home…just because you want to.
If your child is in ContactPoint (if they do not scrap it) the Local Authority will know that your baby has reached the age of three. They will also know that you have not registered your child at one of the local kindergartens. They will then assume that you are an incompetent child abusing parent because you will not avail yourself of their ‘free’ ‘service’.
This is essentially what they are saying to all parents; you are not capable of looking after your own children – only we have the necessary skills to look after children…THE STATE.
This is why I have been privately advocating for a professional PR company to engineer the reality of Home Education; to put it into its proper context and head off the inevitable smear campaign that is going to go into full gear once the review is nearing completion and the results published.
Now for the hard questions
Our members will not co-operate with their own oppression
What does this actually mean? You will have several options, and the Germans are years ahead of you when it comes to this.
You will be obliged, first of all, to ignore any and all legislation that attempts to take away your rights.
You will then have to make a choice.
You could go into hiding. In police state britain, that will be a great challenge. People are being encouraged to tattle on their neighbors over garbage – literally – and so it will be a simple thing to convince a propagandized public to report home schoolers, since, ‘everybody knows….’. You would have to restrict your movements, only going out when school is out, lest the truancy officers spot you. It would be a difficult existence to say the least.
You could opt for taking a stand and Home Educating no matter what. As in the case of the Germans you can expect huge fines, jail, and being threatened with the loss of custody of your children. Without a large fighting fund behind you to give the authorities pause, we could call such a strategy a ‘Martyrdom Path’. It might actually be a good thing, as it could wake the nation up to the insanity of the State raising all children from the age of three, wether the parent likes it or not.
Finally, you could opt to flee the country with your family. Iran is a nice place to live compared to the UK if you Home Educate and they change the law. Certainly going to another western country is not a good idea. France is out of the question (for example) since:
In France, homeschooling is legal and requires the child to be registered with two authorities, the ‘Inspection Académique’ and the local town hall (Mairie). An inspection is carried out twice yearly once a child reaches the age of six (it is obligatory from the age of eight).
Not very nice. Its exactly what you do not want; the state interfering in your private business through invasive and pointless registrations and inspections.
Take a look at this map:
(Yellow) Mostly Legal; may be disputed in most political subdivisions
(Orange) Generally considered illegal, but untested legally
All the places in red are where Home Education is illegal. The Brutish government wants to join all the bad places on this map. Absolutely SHAMEFUL.
According to that map, and the Wikipedia page it came from Austria looks like the best country to move to if you have an EU passport. Home Education is just legal; no registration, no interference, no nonsense. You will not have any problems with immigration, you can travel anywhere in the EU…
Which gives me an idea.
Why not take an address in Austria, and say that you live there? Think about it; how long do you have to be in the UK before the State requires that your children attend school? If you are from Austria, and you decide to spend some time in different parts of the EU as a family exploring Europe, how can the State expect you to register your children in every country as you move around? Its completely ABSURD.
Which brings us to the final conclusion of all of this. Eventually, the government is going to have to implement exit visas for all UK subjects. You will have to apply for permission to leave Britain with your children, so that they can make sure that you are not leaving during term time, or so they can catch Home Educators. When you apply for a visa, you will of course, have to get a signature from your schools headmaster, confirming that you have his permission to leave the country with ‘your’ child. The E-Borders project will facilitate this nicely.
Think about it; it is the logical end to all of this madness. As long as you have the right to leave the country at will and relocate anywhere you like with your family, their law means nothing. As long as you are free to live anywhere in the EU and can return to Britain at will, and there is no rule about how long you have to be in Britain before you must send your children to school, all of their Home Education laws will have no meaning. In order for these laws to be enforceable, what I have just described needs to be rolled into the equation.
This is why everything that they are planning now needs to be stopped. Once all these pieces are in place, they will have a system of total control over everyone. The keys to it all are the databases. Never before in the history of man has such a comprehensive grid of control been possible. Never before have such an evil group of monsters been in a position to make it a reality.
The war on Home Education is only a part of this. All groups, need to stand their ground in their own corner, and absolutely refuse to cooperate with anything that destroys their rights. Together, as we act individually, we will be transformed by emergent behavior effects into an unstoppable force for good.
Thankfully, it appears that this is actually happening!