Graham Badman and Ed Balls declare war on Home Educators

The Graham Badman review of Home Education in England has just been released. It is as bad as it could possibly be.

The review of elective home education, as the terms of reference (Annex A) make clear, has been triggered by a range of issues and representations, not least being the quite proper concern to ensure that systems for keeping children safe and ensuring that they receive a suitable education are as robust as possible.

Annex A says:

The Department is committed to ensuring that systems for keeping children safe, and ensuring that they receive a suitable education, are as robust as possible. An independent review of home education is part of this continuing commitment.

If the department is committed to keeping children safe, it would not be rolling out ContactPoint. It is clear that they do not have the best interests of children at heart. Home Education is not a child safety issue. This is the fundamental flaw with this review; it is built on the ignorance and personal prejudices of a single man, whose notions about Home Education are completely incorrect.

It is not the duty of the department to make sure that any child has a ‘suitable education’ that is the role of the parent. These are non negotiable, and set in stone. Any attempt to interfere with the right of parents to organize their family life as they see fit is a fundamental violation.

Parents have a well established right to educate their children at home and Government respects that right. There are no plans to change that position.

This is a lie. Logically if parents have this right then how they educate is their own business, and a part of that right. That means that the state has no place interfering with Home Education in the way that this report recommends.

However, where local authorities have concerns about the safety and welfare, or education, of a home educated child, effective systems must be in place to deal with those concerns. The review will assess the effectiveness of current arrangements and will, if necessary, make recommendations for improvements.

Home education has nothing whatsoever to do with child welfare and safety. Local authorities have no business or right to voice concerns about the education of children who are educated outside of the systems (schools) that they are responsible for. Those are just pretexts to engineer the registration and control of Home Education.

During the course of the review I have been struck by the passion and commitment of many parents who either as a result of deeply held convictions or absolute necessity as they see it have chosen to educate their child or children at home. Indeed for many it is quite clear that this course of action is not without personal cost, often financial and professional. I have met some extraordinarily accomplished young people who have prospered as a consequence of elective home education of whom their parents are justly proud, but I am not persuaded that I could argue this to be a universal picture, any more than the same argument could be applied to the schooling system, but the same checks and balances do not apply.

The same checks and balances do not apply because the family is private and not the responsibility of the state. Education of a child becomes the responsibility of the state only when the parent voluntarily hands over the responsibility, and this is always provisional. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between the individual and the state that both Ed Balls and Graham Badman share in common. They see people as property of the state, who have rights that are given to them by the state. This is incorrect.

I have read the many submissions made by home educators who argue their case from almost as many standpoints as there are children in elective home education – indeed to attempt to categorise the views of home educators or regard them as an homogenous group would simply be wrong. It is a cause of concern that although approximately 20,000 home educated children and young people are known to local authorities, estimates vary as to the real number which could be in excess of 80,000. I will discuss this later in this report. The degree of individualism exhibited may well be a strength but it militates against securing representative opinion and has led to factions within the elective home education community that actually distort the strength of philosophical commitment, achievement and need. I shall make recommendation in this regard.

There is no need for you to ‘secure representative opinion’. This is a fantasy requirement. The fact of the matter is what these individuals are doing is none of your business. How many there are is none of your business, and they are quite capable of getting on with their educating without your help.

I have taken account of the views of local authorities who are strongly of the opinion that the current guidelines are unworkable in that they are contradictory and confer responsibility without power. I agree with this view and will recommend accordingly. However, I also recognise that despite the excellent practice of some, there are local authorities who do not discharge their responsibilities properly, make effective use of current statutory powers or use the ingenuity referenced in the good practice illustrated later in this report. Good relationships and mutual respect are at the heart of the engagement of local authorities with home educating parents – this is evidenced in many authorities but such is the number of children now within elective home education that the development of these relationships cannot be left to chance or personality. The current disparity in practice across local authorities cannot continue – there is a need for a common national approach locally applied.

Local authorities should not be responsible for Home Educators. There is no reason for them to be responsible for them, and the irrational guidelines that caused them to be responsible for them should be withdrawn; that would solve the problem of the unworkable and contradictory responsibilities that they suffer. The wrong response would be to do what Graham Badman is recommending.

Few would argue with the assertion that parents are the prime educator within or outside of a schooling system. There is a considerable body of research evidence that points to this conclusion – parental attitude, support and expectation are the key determinants of educational success2. Indeed, as the national Children’s Plan makes clear it is “Parents not Government that bring up children”3 and there is nothing in this report which sets out to contradict or modify this contention. However, there has to be a balance between the rights of the parents and the rights of the child. I believe that balance is not achieved through current legislation or guidance, and the imbalance must be addressed. Not to do so could result in the concerns for a minority being applied to the vast majority of caring, motivated home educating parents.

First of all, it is an assertion that there has to be a balance between the rights of the parent and the rights of the child. Children are the sole responsibility of their parents or wards. It is the responsibility of the parent to protect and educate their child. Children do not have ‘rights’ that are separate from their parents in the way that this report suggest; Graham Badman, in making this assertion, is suggesting that the state act as a third parent to protect children. This is the true meaning of the phrase ‘children’s rights’. Children, since they are not responsible for themselves, must be in the care of their parents. What Badman is saying is that there is shared responsibility between parents and the state. Either children are in the care and under the protection of their parents or in extreme circumstances, they are wards of the state. If they are wrds of the state, there are laws that cover what that means exactly.

And as for “the concerns for a minority being applied to the vast majority of caring, motivated home educating parents.” that is exactly what Graham Badman is doing in this review; he is applying the concerns for a non existent minority (‘Home Educated children at risk’) to the vast majority, implying that ALL of them are at risk. Does he even know what he is saying?

As my introductory comments make clear, I am not persuaded that under the current regulatory regime4 that there is a correct balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child either to an appropriate education or to be safe from harm. That being said I am not in anyway arguing that elective home education is intrinsically wrong or that within the elective home education community there is not exemplary practice. Indeed, there is a strong argument to commission further research to better inform understanding of “personalisation” as an element of student progression and achievement. I shall return to this issue later.

And who, exactly, is Graham Badman? Who is this man, that he can, with a single report, change the relationship between parents and their children -by the force of law- in ways that would have been inconceivable at any other time in the history of Britain, and that in many parts of the world would be rejected outright? By what authority does this man operate? Who selected him, what is his expertise? And even if he were the ‘perfect man’ to write such a report, how is it that in a ‘free country’ a single report can change the lives of free people in a way that is wholly unacceptable and a violation of the most fundamental kind?

I for one, do not accept the authority of Ed Balls or Graham Badman to make these pronouncements and assertions and then turn them into law, any more than I would accept the right of Caesar to mandate slavery. At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to; wether or not you accept that these people have any right to control and destroy you and your children.

Graham Badman is the worst sort of person, who on the one hand says that he feels that Home Educated children need to be kept safe from harm, but in the same breath says that “I am not in anyway arguing that elective home education is intrinsically wrong…” It is only if it is intrinsically wrong that you would be able to justify intervention or a change in the law. That is obvious. These are weasel words to damp down the incandescent outrage that is about to burn this report to ashes. It will not work.

The question is simply a matter of balance and securing the right regulatory regime within a framework of legislation that protects the rights of all children, even if in transaction such regulation is only necessary to protect a minority.

This is incorrect, and it is the same ‘thinking’ behind ContactPoint; put ALL children into a massive database to protect the small number of children at risk. It is a completely backwards, wrong headed way of thinking, and betrays Graham Badman’s lack of intellectual rigor. Legislation to protect the minority should protect the minority without affecting the law abiding and properly behaving majority. That is the principle which should operate here.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) gives children and young people over forty substantive rights which include the right to express their views freely, the right to be heard in any legal or administrative matters that affect them and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Article 12 makes clear the responsibility of signatories to give children a voice:

“Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.” Yet under the current legislation and guidance, local authorities have no right of access to the child to determine or ascertain such views.

This is utter nonsense. The rights of man do not emanate from the United Nations. These ‘rights’, as I say above, are actually designed to give a voice to government via the child. They are completely bogus, and have no business in this review.

Furthermore Article 28 of the UNCRC recognises the right of the child to an education. Education is compulsory in England and it can be provided at school “or otherwise” 5. The responsibility for the provision of a child’s education rests with their parents who also have a duty to ensure that any education provided is “efficient”, “full time” and ”suitable”. This is set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which provides that:

Here the report goes into what we have discussed before during a previous review.

  • It is the responsibility of the parent to educate their children, not the state.
  • It is the judgement of the parent ALONE as to what is suitable education. That too is not the business of the state.

Any legislation or guidelines that cause a local authority to have to measure what education is being provided for by Home Educating parents is absurd on its face, and must be removed so that they are not in the position of having to act as parents. Once again, Home Education has nothing to do with child safety issues.

The terms “efficient” and “suitable” education are not defined in law, despite the detailed prescription of expectations in schools.

These need to be defined for schools because schools are not the parents of children, and they have different responsibilities. Once again, Graham Badman cannot distinguish between the duties of the state and the responsibilities of parents. The two are not equatable in any way and should never be confused with each other.

Within current guidance local authorities are “encouraged to address the situation informally” 8. Such an approach may or may not be sufficient. How can local authorities know what they don’t know with no means of determining the number of children who are being electively home educated in their area, or the quality of what is provided, without rights of access to the child? For many, perhaps the majority of home educating families, this approach may be sufficient. However, I do not believe that such arrangements are sufficiently robust to protect the rights of all children.

Notice how this report has been written in a vacuum of information. Graham Badman BELIEVES that such arrangements are insufficiently robust. What his beliefs are are irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that Home Education presents no problem whatsoever to anyone, and this whole scenario has been artificially constructed by a series of irrational and absurd guidelines that have caused secondary actions to be needed.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Article 2 of Protocol 1 states: “No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”

3.9 This Article is much quoted by home educators in defence of their rights as parents to educate their children as they see fit. However, case law on the ECHR challenges any claim that home education is a fundamental right:

“The second sentence of Article 2 [of Protocol 1] must however be read together with the first which enshrines the right of everyone to education. It is on to this fundamental right that is grafted the right of parents to respect for their religious and philosophical convictions. …Furthermore, respect is only due to convictions on the part of the parents which do not conflict with the fundamental right of the child to education”9

It is absolutely clear that the right of parents to follow their religious and philosophical convictions means that the state is excluded from interfering with Home Educators. The fact that the EHCR (who also upheld the Hitler written Nazi era Home Education ban in Germany) are using sophistry to destroy the rights of parents is irrelevant. If the ECHR says that slavery should be permitted, that does not make it right, no matter what the case law says.

This review does not argue against the rights of parents as set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 outlined above, nor their deeply held convictions about education. I believe it would be wrong to seek to legislate in pursuit of an all embracing definition of “suitable”. However, such is the demand and complexity of 21st Century society and employment that further thought should be given to what constitutes an appropriate curriculum within the context of elective home education. Such a curriculum must be sufficiently broad and balanced and relevant to enable young people to make suitable choices about their life and likely future employment.

Once again, a self contradicting section. On the one hand, Badman says that it would be wrong to legislate to define what is ‘suitable’ but on the other hand, he says that, “further thought should be given to what constitutes an appropriate curriculum”. I find it hard to believe that any intelligent man can write such a paragraph. It is obvious that setting a curriculum would de-facto mean defining what is suitable; the curriculum itself would be what the state feels is suitable.

I am sure that all unschoolers / autonomous learners now have two fistfuls of hair in their hands. Many Home Educators do so explicitly to get away from from the state curriculum. To now say that they must adhere to it in their homes is frankly, an outrage of an unspeakable kind.

Look at what the core of this curriculum would entail:

“State Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:
(a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
(b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; (c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
(d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
(e) The development of respect for the natural environment.”

(a) The development of the child’s personality is not the responsibility of the state.

(b) Respect for human rights is not a universal truth. People from Saudi Arabia have a very different view of this, and those Saudis educating at home should not be forced to swallow the ideology of another country, and neither should any child be forced to learn and accept the Charter of the United Nations, should the parents of that child not agree with that document.

(c) Respect for the child’s parents is not the business of the state. Some parents allow their children to address them by their first names. Others think that is discourteous. Neither is the business of the state; the state should not define what respect is or is not, and once again, in many cultures, respect takes different forms. In many cultures, children kneel or bow horizontally before their parents. Graham Badman may feel that this is ‘humiliating’ for a child. It is not his concern what the customs of families are, and he would be well advised to keep out of these affairs. As for civilizations different from his or her own, Graham Badman and Ed Balls would do well to lead by example in this respect. Home Educators are, for all intents and purposes, from a different civilization to them. They should respect that, and not try and change Home Educators to fit in with their beliefs.

(d) This is almost laughable. Britain, as we can clearly see by the publication of this report, is nothing like a free society. Governments in free societies do not interfere with the private lives of citizens and families. What Home Educators are in fact doing, is creating a generation of TRUELY FREE CITIZENS who think for themselves, learn for themselves and who are not under the control of the state.

(e) Here we are talking about Anthropogenic Global Warming, and the agenda surrounding it. Home Educators sometimes use science books that do not teach AGW, and this is deeply offensive to Graham Badman. Once again, no respect for other people’s ideas or beliefs or culture; its all ‘be like us or we will kidnap your children’.

And here it comes:

Recommendation 1
That the DCSF establishes a compulsory national registration scheme, locally administered, for all children of statutory school age, who are, or become, electively home educated.

■■ This scheme should be common to all local authorities.

Home Educators refuse.

■■ Registration should be renewed annually.

Absolutely ridiculous.

■■ Those who are registering for the first time should be visited by the appropriate local authority officer within one month of registration.

Under no circumstances.

■■ Local authorities should ensure that all home educated children and young people already known to them are registered on the new scheme within one month of its inception and visited over the following twelve months, following the commencement of any new legislation.

Absolutely not.

■■ Provision should be made to allow registration at a local school, children’s centre or other public building as determined by the local authority.

Once again, totally ridiculous.

■■ When parents are thinking of deregistering their child/children from school to home educate, schools should retain such pupils on roll for a period of 20 school days so that should there be a change in circumstances, the child could be readmitted to the school. This period would also allow for the resolution of such difficulties that may have prompted the decision to remove the child from school.

This is interesting, and I do not disagree with it; it really doesn’t have anything to do with Home Educators.

■■ National guidance should be issued on the requirements of registration and be made available online and at appropriate public buildings. Such guidance must include a clear statement of the statutory basis of elective home education and the rights and responsibilities of parents.

Unless you are going to compel people to register and threaten them with fines, no one will register. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

■ At the time of registration parents/carers/guardians must provide a clear statement of their educational approach, intent and desired/planned outcomes for the child over the following twelve months.

Absolutely outrageous. Obviously Graham Badman doesn’t understand anything about Home Education, which is astonishing after having had so much contact with them. The idea of a ‘statement of intent’, outcomes for the year; these are how a school has to run, because it is responsible to the parent. Home Educators are not responsible to anyone but themselves; they set their own goals and use their own methods and these are all private.

Guidance should be issued to support parents in this task with an opportunity to meet local authority officers to discuss the planned approach to home education and develop the plan before it is finalised. The plan should be finalised within eight weeks of first registration.

Completely ridiculous; the local authorities cannot run the schools they are in charge of already; asking them to become involved (deeply involved) in Home Education like this is totally ABSURD. This also presupposes that the local authority has the capacity and the right to give guidance to parents; they have neither. How parents choose to Home Educate is a purely private matter.

As well as written guidance, support should encompass advice from a range of advisers and organisations, including schools. Schools should regard this support as a part of their commitment to extended schooling.

Many parents Home Educate explicitly to get away from the influence of schools, who are in any case already overstretched. This is total, unrefined insanity.

Where a child is removed from a school roll to be home educated, the school must provide to the appropriate officer of the local authority a record of the child’s achievement to date and expected achievement, within 20 school days of the registration, together with any other school records.

This is a violation of privacy.

■ Local authorities must ensure that there are mechanisms/systems in place to record and review registrations annually.

This means another database.

Recommendation 2
That the DCSF review the current statutory definition of what constitutes a “suitable” and “efficient” education in the light of the Rose review of the primary curriculum, and other changes to curriculum assessment and definition throughout statutory school age. Such a review should take account of the five Every Child Matters outcomes determined by the 2004 Children Act, should not be overly prescriptive but be sufficiently defined to secure a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum that would allow children and young people educated at home to have sufficient information to enable them to expand their talents and make choices about likely careers. The outcome of this review should further inform guidance on registration.

Home educators should be engaged in this process.

They, like Graham Badman, do not listen to Home Educators, so why should anyone waste time ‘engaging in the process’?

In any case, the process is not what Home Educators want. They do not want a curriculum imposed on them. They do not want to be monitored, registered or to have the goals of the state imposed on them. They will not accept it.

And now, the most outrageous, unacceptable and totally not going to happen recommendation:

Recommendation 7 The DCSF should bring forward proposals to change the current regulatory and statutory basis to ensure that in monitoring the efficiency and suitability of elective home education:

■■ That designated local authority officers should:
– have the right of access to the home;
– have the right to speak with each child alone if deemed appropriate or, if a child is particularly vulnerable or has particular communication needs, in the company of a trusted person who is not the home educator or the parent/carer.

In so doing, officers will be able to satisfy themselves that the child is safe and well.

■■ That a requirement is placed upon local authorities to secure the monitoring of the effectiveness of elective home education as determined in Recommendation 1.

■■ That parents be required to allow the child through exhibition or other means to demonstrate both attainment and progress in accord with the statement of intent lodged at the time of registration.

On the one hand Graham Badman says that Home Educators are not abusers, but on the other, he recommends this. Absolutely absurd.

Ofsted when they inspect a school, do not interface with children, they interface with staff. They do not take children off ALONE to question them; they observe lessons but that is as far as they go. There are even Ofsted recommendations that weak school teachers should not be inspected at all, lest they be ’caused stress’.

This recommendation makes it clear that Graham Badman thinks that Home Education is a cover for abuse. If he did not think that, he would not have made this recommendation. This is a very sinister, pure evil recommendation, and I am sure that every Home Educator in the UK and world-wide is incensed that these words have been delivered in this report.

In the main, home educators in their responses through questionnaire, email, letter and interview were fiercely defensive of their rights and actions. There were some who welcomed the visits of local authority officers and the support offered through drop-in centres, resources and materials and some argued for more regularised monitoring and intervention. However, there were those who wanted nothing from the local authority nor any contact with it.

I do not think that Graham Badman understands just what it is he is recommending, and what the word ‘fierce’ means in this context. Parents have pulled up stakes and left countries in order to Home Educate without interference.

I am not going to go over any more of this review. It is clear that it should be rejected in it’s entirety since it is based on a fundamentally flawed initial premise.

This review is a declaration of war. In the end, the state will not win. I do not know a single Home Educator that will comply with any of this, and they will fight it vigorously. In the end, if the pressure gets to be too much, as it is in Germany, parents will simply move their families to free countries. In the end, the state cannot win; the ultimate maneuver, to escape, is always on the cards. Families who can sacrifice to Home Educate will be predisposed to doing this.

Yet another group of people leaving the UK; in the end, there will be no individuals left.

But we are not at that point yet.

Ed Balls is going to lose his seat at the next election. Labour is going to be wiped out. The economic crisis has not yet peaked; Britain is facing a budget deficit unprecedented in its history. There is no money for any of this, and in the end, this single factor might be the bullet that kills off this garbage.

Between now and then, I would recommend to all Home Educating parents that a PR campaign be launched targeted at Tory MPS, who are unquestionably going to make up the next government. They are already committed to scrapping ContactPoint, and it is in this context that this incredibly offensive, Orwellian review should be put.

If a campaign is not launched, and the case not made, You can be sure that more difficult battles are going to be in store.

Finally, and I have said this before, Home Education is the future. In the USA millions of families are doing it, and their numbers are growing. New Liebor, as usual, is destructive and authoritarian in its approach to anything that is unfamiliar or ‘out of control’. Up till now, Britain has respected parents rights, and Home Education has flourished undisturbed. Home Educators have organized themselves, produced spectacular results and demonstrated that they do not need any help from anyone.

Home Educators need to act now, and point blank reject the results of this review, with a stern warning that it is indeed a declaration of war.

And remember all you parents who do not Home Educate; this is a right that is being taken away from you also, even if you do not choose to exercise it. Recommendation seven will apply to ALL homes; the local authority will have the right of access to your home, and the right to speak to your child without you being there.

This is SPARTA!

+++++++

UPDATE

We have been writing about Home Education for some time; by all means, go through our archive of posts on this subject. You will find it has everything you need to understand the why, what and how of Home Education. Every myth is dispelled, facts are laid out and the position made crystal clear.

The press has reacted to the Badman report. Thanks to Dare to Know.

The Telegraph has a piece that is right and a special comment that is absolutely correct. Someone out there GETS IT.

The Guadian has a piece that restates and reinforces the review. That newspaper is a staunch, unquestioning supporter of New Labour; they are totalitarian control freaks, and their token attempts to appease people who want real liberty do not fool anyone (Henry Porter).

BBC News has a similar piece, with this unrepresentative pull quote from ‘Have your say’, “It’s a shame that some children do not get to have the interaction of the classroom and other children of their same age” Once again, a nameless aparatchick peddles propaganda for the state. No surprise there. And watch out for the glove puppets in there, they stick out like sore thumbs.

The Times has the following paragraph:

The reforms are necessary because twice as many home educated children are known to social services as the normal school-aged population under current arrangements, the report revealed.

At least in this case we know the name of the ignorant swine who wrote it, ‘Nicola Woolcock’. A shameful piece of garbage masquerading as journalism.

The Independent, who published a scandalously bad piece in September 2008, published a short blurb with this title, “Children educated at home more at risk of abuse”. Just about what you would expect from bird cage liner imitating a newspaper.

Finally, the newsletter ‘Community Care’ has this very strange title to a piece on this review, “Parents face being struck off for failing to safeguard children”. ‘Struck Off’? Struck off of what exactly?.

It will be interesting to hear the reaction of the Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Everyone should remember that it does not matter what review they publish or what laws they enact. You do not have to obey them. If this nonsense is not struck down, you will be just like the Germans; in a fight for your lives against Nazi law. Thankfully there are so many Home Educators it will be impossible for them to police them all. They do not have the money or the resources to do it. In any case, this is just the beginning of this war.

This piece by Gerald Warner deserves to be reprinted in full:

The dying scorpion still has venom in its tail: this decomposing Labour government, rotting like a fish from the head down and with a maximum life expectancy of 11 months, is still doggedly pursuing the destruction of British society – the Project on which it embarked 12 years ago. Its latest assault on the family is an offensive against home schooling.

Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary – the very title is a totalitarian evocation of Maoist crèches and collectivist indoctrination – is to compel all parents educating their children at home to register them with local authorities (whose property they evidently are) and “extra support” (ie taxpayers’ money) will be made available as part of “significantly strengthened” regulatory guidelines. In other words, the state, furious that 50,000 children have eluded its clutches, is intruding further into family life.

The pretext for this intervention, even more offensive, is the claim by Baroness Morgan, the Children’s Minister, that “in some extreme cases, home education could be used as a cover for abuse”. Note the weasel-worded “could be used”. The review whose findings are being used to justify this intervention was charged, as part of its remit, to investigate claims that lessons at home could disguise “neglect, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude”.

So, order your home-schooled children to wash the dishes and whoops! you’re nicked for domestic servitude. The irony of the sexual insinuations is that some parents prefer to educate their children at home to protect them from state-imposed pornographic “sex education”, immoral peer pressure and the outrage whereby a schoolgirl can be given an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. The story in the Telegraph immediately above the report on this latest anti-family aggression concerned a nursery shut down over sex abuse charges.

Until recently it was impossible to imagine a Government minister being more loathed than Harriet Harridan, but lately Ed Balls has been coming up strongly on the outside. For 12 years this abomination of a régime has used every weapon at its disposal to destroy the family, the basic building block of society. In that prejudice it follows the precepts of the Frankfurt School of Marxism and, in particular, Herbert Marcuse.

The premise on which this latest aggression is based is that parents are unfit to care for children: only the state can be trusted. Fortunately, parents are also voters. Beleaguered families are just another element, though an important one, in the vast coalition of resentment that is gathering force to annihilate Labour (and any other party that seeks to imitate its PC tyranny, Dave) at the next general election. Here is a laudable ambition for any patriot to pursue: Britain as a Labour-free zone.

Amen to that.

And after Britain has been cleansed of the disease that is New Labour, as I have said before, everything that they did during these terrible twelve years should be undone, so that not a trace of their sick ideology and pernicious influence is left. Only the scar in the minds of all Britons should be left, and that scar should remain forever so that never again will such a government be allowed to poison this beautiful country.

UPDATE 2

Renegade Parent links here moves to the bigger picture:

[…]

Remove home education from the equation: it’s irrelevant. What Badman is proposing places primary responsibility for education (and welfare) on the state, rather than the parent. It assumes that the home is an inherently unsafe or unhealthy place for the child to be. It tramples over family freedom in its haste to bestow additional “rights” on children that only an anonymous third party can adequately minister to. It destroys the very possibility of autonomy in learning. It operates from a position of requiring proof of parental innocence rather than reasonable suspicion of guilt. It universally uses the coercive and interventionist tools of compulsory registration, entry to the home, inspection according to external standards, and power to see the child without the parent present.

By implication this applies to anyone who has their child at home with them: particularly parents with under 5s, but also those with school-aged children who are at home in the evenings, over the weekends, and throughout the summer holidays. Think on: the possibility of parental inspection, with or without your presence, based on the very human whim of a local authority officer.

Is that okay with you? Despite those officers being instructed by the author of this review to doubt your every word, to put their fears of error aside, and to act swiftly if they have even the slightest doubt? Because it’s better for an innocent child to be removed into care than for one to be abused. Even yours.

Are you still comfortable with the recomendations of this home education review? Despite the system being riddled with people like this or this, undoubtedly CRB checked, who rape, abuse, and photograph children for their own vile purposes? When we already know, unsurprisingly, that they are statistically far more likely to do this to our children than you or I?

[…]

Renegade Parent

I agree with this entirely. This is an attack on ALL FAMILIES and the family itself. It tries to re-engineer the family and Home Education is just the pretext. As I say above, once the local authorities are given the power to enter your home, they can enter ANY home, not just the home of a Home Educator.

UPDATE 3

UKIP denounce the review:

UKIP slams home education review

Thursday, 11th June 2009

The Badman Review into Home Education, out today, has been slammed by UKIP as a heavyhanded Government attempt to tell parents how their children should be taught

“The release of the Badman Review into Home Education today is yet another example of this government’s controlling, heavy handed approach to society,” said UKIP chairman Paul Nuttall MEP.

He said: “Calling for local councils to have the right to interfere in the responsibility of parents to provide sufficient education for their children may sound reasonable but amounts to a grab for power.

“Worse still the Government is using appalling scare tactics to justify its actions by suggesting that home education is a cover for the worst forms of child abuse. No evidence is presented merely smears and threats.”

The newly-elected North West region MEP said: “UKIP believe that it should be up to the parent to decide how their children be educated.

“Child abuse must be tackled, but the tragic failures of the systems have been due to local councils’ inability to follow basic procedures, not due to home educators.

“The fact that this report is being backed by organisations such as the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau should come as no surprise.

“Those organisations are these days largely adjuncts to the state and appear to see for themselves a role in the monitoring, inspecting and running of Home Education, all for a nice taxpayer-funded fee. They are not independent voices and mustn’t be seen as such.”

An Action for Home Education spokesmananother an has called for the Badman review to be abandoned, saying: “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.”

UKIP’s home education policy can be found here (PDF).

And here is the text of it:

Freedom must extend to Education

UK Independence Party Statement on Home Education

There is a growing attempt by the Government to marginalise and to attack those who choose entirely legally, to educate their children at home. UKIP strongly endorses the right of parents to offer Elective Home Education

The 1996 Education act states quite clearly:

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable: 1. to his age, ability and aptitude, and 2. to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

The UK Independence Party in 2007 stated that it is fully behind the principle of Elective Home Education:

“We will nonetheless guarantee that those wishing to educate their children at home will still have this option available to them”.

This was our position and remains so. UKIP utterly opposes attempts by the Government and state funded charities like the NSPCC to demonise Home Schooling. Home Education is a choice and one that should be supported.

Attempts to bring Elective Home Education under the authority of local government should be opposed wherever they are found. The Every Child Matters Program of the Government is a scheme by which the Government, under spurious grounds, wishes to take control of those who elect to educate their children at home. It must not be allowed to do this.

To that end UKIP will work to:
1) Ensure that parents remain responsible for the upbringing and education of their children within or without formal schooling.

2) Fight against current and proposed policies and legislation which may affect the rights and freedoms of families who choose home education.

3) Support the right to fair and equal treatment for those who choose independent, elective home based learning for their children.

Clearly, this is 100% correct.

This next piece is by Dr Sean Gabb from the Libertarian Alliance. It describes very neatly how Home Education is going to be banned in the UK and how this review is only the first step:

[…]

“The right of people to educate their children within the values of their family, their faith or their community has always been respected by the British State. Parents have been legally obliged to proved their children with an education – but have never been obliged to send them to school, or even to notify the authorities of what they intend.

“The current proposals sound moderate. The talk is of giving support, not of forbidding. But they are the first step to outlawing home education. Registration will, for the first time, let the authorities know who is educating their children at home. Once these parents are known, they will be visited and inspected to ensure that they are providing a ’suitable’ education. What this means – though not all at once: it will take several years of salami slicing – is that parents will be hit with impossible and ever-changing health and safety rules. They will be forced to keep records in rigidly prescribed formats – records that will almost certainly demand disclosure of the race and probable sexuality of the children, and that will (if not first lost on a railway train) be shared with foreign governments and private companies. paper qualifications may be required from parents. They will eventually be forced to teach the feared and discredited National Curriculum.

“At no point will home education be made into a criminal offence – as it is in Germany and Belgium, among other European countries. Instead, it will be surrounded by so many rules and by so much supervision, that most parents who now educate at home will give up. Many who carry on will be picked off one at a time – their children conscripted into a state school for some trifling infraction of deliberately conflicting and arbitrary rules. In extreme cases, parents will have their children taken into ‘care’.

[…]

“As for regulation as a guarantor of safety, we only need look at the nursery worker arrested this week for sexual assaults on children. Since this is a matter before the courts we make no comment on the woman’s guilt or innocence. We do note, however, that she will have been closely examined by Ofsted, and checked against all the relevant databases, and judged officially safe with children. Anyone who thinks regulation makes children safe needs his head examined.

“This current proposals will lead ultimately to a state of affairs in which children can be torn from their homes and forced into schools where they will be brainwashed into values that their parents find abhorrent – and where they will probably be kept illiterate and innumerate as these things were once measured, and where they might also be bullied into suicide or lifelong depression.

“Ed Balls, the Minister concerned, wants all this because his Government has turned Britain into a soft totalitarian state. No child – except, of course, of the rich, who can always buy their way out – must be permitted to escape the ideological apparatus of the New Labour State. Home educators are the equivalent of the Kulaks in the Soviet Union. They show too much independence. They must be destroyed.

“The Libertarian Alliance denounces Mr Balls and the Government in which he is a Minister, and calls on people everywhere – British or not, parents or not – to write to him expressing their own contempt of and opposition to this attempted mass kidnapping of our children.”

[…]

Libertarian Alliance

UPDATE 4

Renegade Parent attacks again with clarity:

This morally corrupt government has already caused too much damage with its ever-expanding, power-seeking, controlling agenda. For the government to target our children in this way is the beginning of the end unless we just say NO:

It is NOT acceptable for the state to have ultimate control of the education of our children

It is NOT acceptable for the state to make ultra vires judgements about the welfare of our children and then act in loco parentis

It is NOT acceptable for the state to operate on a presumption of guilt

It is NOT acceptable for the state to demand access to our homes without reasonable suspicion that an actual offence has been or is about to be committed

It is NOT acceptable for the state to demand access to our children without reasonable suspicion that an actual offence has been or is about to be committed

It is NOT acceptable for the state to demand unsupervised access to our children

These are all contained within the recommendations of Badman’s review document. The government has them accepted in full as “proportionate and reasonable”.

[…]

And to add to this, just saying ‘No’ is outlined here. It means non-cooperation. It means ignoring all correspondence from the local authority. There is no way that they can compel all 80,000 home schoolers in the UK to comply with these proposals, should they become law. It is important to remember this, keep it in mind and focus on it. If they telephone you incessantly, block number so that they cannot call you without revealing their number. Ignore all the letters they send to you. These simple measures will be enough… but we are not at that point yet.

Renegade Parent also adds these links:

Adam Smith Institute

This Labour government has been especially bad at dealing with difference, and its latest stance against home schooling is indicative of this lack of tolerance and understanding. Specifically, the government is considering forcing home educating families to have to register annually and demonstrate they are providing a suitable education. It would mean that local Councils would be given the power to force children into school against their parent’s wishes.

The BBC reports that: “Some teaching unions say they feel home educated children do not develop certain skills such as co-operation, conflict management or relationship-building.” The irony of teaching unions holding up these virtues is comically ironic given their track record for militant power battles between themselves and the government. If that’s the kind of co-operation, conflict management or relationship-building a state education can give you, I am not at all surprised people prefer to privately educate their children or teach them at home in increasing numbers.

Bishop Hill

The Badman report on home education is out, and it’s monstrous. Forced entry to people’s homes is recommended. Revolutions have been started over this sort of thing.

LPUK

Ian Parker-Joseph, leader of the Libertarian Party says: “LPUK will oppose changes to HE. Parents must be free to educate children as they see fit, they are yours not the State’s.”

That is the position of the Libertarian Party. The state does not own your children.

Mark Fields MP

As Conservatives, we should be vigorously defending the rights of parents to reject the state’s ideas on education and the constant testing, restrictive curriculum and poor results that often stem from them. Home educators are self-reliant, pursue excellence, cost the taxpayer next to nothing, believe the parent, not the state knows best and firmly reject the idea that government has the answers to everything. A home education can also be an excellent option for those who cannot afford private schooling but have no confidence in a failing local state school.

reflections in the greenhouse

This blogger does some BLOGDIAL style substitution to make it clear how absurd the recommendations of this review are:

* All vegetarians are required to register with their local authorities, and inform the authorities whenever they move house.

* Vegetarians must be visited annually by an inspector (usually a former employee of the meat industry), who will assess their dietary plans for the coming year against government standards.

* Inspectors have the right to interview children in vegetarian families, without their parents present, in order to find out whether the children are safe and well, and ask them if they are happy to be living on a vegetarian diet.

Insane isn’t it?!

Telegraph Letters

“Parents should educate children as they wish” ran the heading of your leading article yesterday. This not just a slogan but an aphorism.

It states a basic human right and points the way to achieve the best education – and I write as one who was for more than 20 years a head of schools, independent and maintained.

The Government’s intention to regulate – in effect, nationalise – home education is spiteful, dictatorial and simply anti-educational. There is no evidence that home-educated children do worse than those in schools. To suggest that home education might lead to abuse ill becomes a Government at a time when a state-regulated nursery is being investigated over horrific crimes.

Instead, the Government should ask why parents want to educate children at home. Almost always, it is because of dissatisfaction with state schooling.

Britain’s independent schools are among the best in the world. This is because they must educate children as the parents wish, since no one is compelled to send a child to an independent school.

Home educators are not always rich. Parents able to choose an independent school would hardly need to educate a child at home.

State schools have, in practice, been nationalised. Governors, heads and teachers, many of them excellent, must do as politicians dictate. It is notable that the best maintained schools are usually church schools, which have rather less interference from politicians. Schools known by the Labour term of “bog-standard comprehensives” are among the worst in the world. No wonder parents go to any lengths to avoid them.

The Government has no authority to dictate to parents how their children should be educated. The measure to subject home education to state control should be resisted.

Eric Hester
Bolton, Lancashire

Now we read that almost instantly, there is a new consultation that they want everyone to fill out, to discuss how Home Educators are to be monitored and registered. The arrogance of these people is breathtaking. They have presumed in advance that Home Educators agree with Graham Badman, and will co-operate with the elimination of their rights and the giving up of their children.

The fact of the matter is that no one agrees with this review. I strongly suggest that you do not engage with this consultation.

Answering the previous consultations did not result in government listening to the concerns of Home Educators and then acting on them, and this one will be no different. This consultation must be boycotted by Home Educators. By engaging with it, you give legitimacy to the state; legitimacy that it has completely lost. If you answer this consultation, they will be able to say that Home Educators were consulted, allowing them to portray themselves as reasonable and fair, no matter what it is they are doing. Look at the questions:

Question 1 Do you agree that these proposals strike the right balance between the rights of parents to home educate and the rights of children to receive a suitable education?

Question 2 Do you agree that a register should be kept?

Question 3 Do you agree with the information to be provided for registration?

Question 4 Do you agree that home educating parents should be required to keep the register up to date?

Question 5 Do you agree that it should be a criminal offence to fail to register or to provide inadequate or false information?

Question 6a Do you agree that home educated children should stay on the roll of their former school for 20 days after parents notify that they intend to home educate?

Question 6b Do you agree that the school should provide the local authority with achievement and future attainment data?

Question 7 Do you agree that DCSF should take powers to issue statutory guidance in relation to the registration and monitoring of home education?

Question 9 Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises where home education is taking place provided 2 weeks notice is given?

Question 10 Do you agree that the local authority should have the power to interview the child, alone if this is judged appropriate, or if not in the presence of a trusted person who is not the parent/carer?

Question 11 Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises and interview the child within four weeks of home education starting, after 6 months has elapsed, at the anniversary of home education starting, and thereafter at least on an annual basis? This would not preclude more frequent monitoring if the local authority thought that was necessary.

Now I have a question for YOU.

Question 12 Do you really believe that if you answer in the negative to all of these questions, that the Badman proposals will be dropped?

If you do, you are COMPLETELY DELUSIONAL.

DO NOT RESPOND TO THE CONSULTATION.

Your fundamental rights cannot be erased by dint of a consultation that anyone can answer, or a review by a paranoid imbecile or a minister from a totally discredited government on its last legs.

UPDATE 5

This blogger, who is a victim of abuse, chimes in with pure reason against Badman and Balls:

[…]

As a victim myself, I’m the last person to make light of the importance of safeguarding children. But having bureaucrats interfering in the lives of innocent people will not safeguard abused children and in itself could represent a form of abuse. I’m thinking of a more subtle form of abuse where children are denied the completely individualised education they can currently enjoy at home, because they are made to jump through the same stupid hoops as the poor children at school. I’m also thinking of this one-to-one interview, without parents present, where children will be quizzed about their achievements. For children who have been withdrawn from school because of special needs, academic problems, or bullying, this could be a terrifying ordeal.

[…]

http://frabjousdays.blogspot.com/2009/06/badness-from-badman.html

UPDATE 6

This was written by James Bartholomew, renowned author who wrote “The Welfare State We’re In“:

What is wrong with the government inspecting all home schoolers?
1. If the state starts to inspect all home educators, it will soon start to dictate to them. It will tell them what to teach, when and how. This is an infringement of freedom and free speech.

2. The parent is the correct person to have primary responsibility for a child, not the state. The state should be the servant of the people, not the boss. The state already has the power to take a hand if it has reason to think a child is being abused or not getting an education. Anything more than that would mean the state was taking over the primary responsibility of the individual.

3. Through inspecting and then prescribing what should be taught and how, the state will reduce the diversity of home education. In doing this, it will damage home education. Some children are currently taught in ways that are a response to the individual problems and opportunities that exist in the particular situation. For one child, lots of confidence-building activities may be desirable after that child has been badly bullied at a school. For another, trips to China, Egypt and elsewhere in the world may be possible and highly desirable to give a world perspective. Freedom allows the ulitmate in individualised education.

4.Inspection followed by increasing prescription of what should be taught will deter an unknown proportion of parents from home educating. This will deprive their children of the benefit that they would otherwise have had from home education. The benefit includes plenty of on-to-one teaching and a great deal of parental contact. Already some local authorities are somewhat hostile to home education. Further powers to inspect and regulate will give those bureaucrats greater power to obstruct and discourage parents who would otherwise have home-schooled.

5. Mr Badman has apparently said that there is no apparent correlation between home education and child abuse. In admitting this, he has removed the main argument for automatic inspection.

One supporter of moves to inspect all home educators every year said on Radio 5 Live that “We want to know where children are” as though this was a clinching argument. It is an absurd argument. For the vast bulk of the time, the state has no idea where people are nor does it need to know nor is desirable that it should know. We, the people, should be free to live our lives under the law. The state should not be monitoring us or dictating to us. The idea of “we want to know where children are” is based either on the notion that “the state knows best and had better be in control of everything” or else on some psychological problem which leads individual administrators or parties to want to control others. The first notion is wrong and the second is positively disturbing.

The whole history of the welfare state tells us one thing above all others: the state starts by inspecting, goes on to regulate and finishes by taking over. In the process, the state demoralises those who perform a service; it makes that service inferior to what it would otherwise have been; the bureaucrats dominate frontline providers; the numbers of bureaucrats increase and the cost of what it does escalates. So one ends up with an inferior service provided at great expense to the taxpayer. Both of these consequences in turn lead to damage to the economy and culture of a country.

[…]

http://www.thewelfarestatewerein.com/archives/2009/06/what_is_wrong_w.php

From every corner, people are coming out in support of Home Educators, the sanctity of the family and fundamental personal liberty. There is widespread understanding that the proposals of Badman and Balls are entirely unacceptable.

When the parents of children who are sent to school get wind of this and realize that the local authority will have new powers to interrogate THEIR children without supervision, there will be a groundswell of rage that will put an end to this.

UPDATE 7

This appeared in The Times; astonishingly, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing at that ‘newspaper’. They can repeat government propaganda unquestioned and in fact bolstered, but they can also print this piece, which demonstrates why Home Education is so very great:

As the government’s review into home education is announced, a (home-educated) teenager gives her view

Home education is back in the spotlight, with the news that the government is to set up a register for parents choosing to home-educate. The register is part of the government’s review into home education which was set up in January, and which one mother wrote about on School Gate. The homeschooling community was not happy about suggestions that teaching their children was being used as a “cover” for some kind of abuse.

The issue of home-schooling splits visitors to School Gate. To put it crudely, many just don’t understand why anyone would want to home-educate, while those who do are evangelical about its benefits (and often critical of the millions of us who send our children to school). Today Schools Secretary Ed Balls talked of “striking the right balance” in this area, “between two important principles: giving parents the right to decide how and where their children should be educated – because I am clear that parents bring up their children, not government; and ensuring that every child gets the education they need to help them fulfil their potential.

“Graham [Badman, who carried out the review] recommends action to address the very small number of cases where home-educated children have suffered harm because safeguarding concerns were either not picked up or addressed urgently,” Mr Balls continued. “Home education is a well-established and important part of our education system. And Graham’s review will – rightly in my view – stress the importance of maintaining those principles.”

Within all the arguments about home-schooling it’s rare to hear from a child who was home schooled. But on School Gate today 15-year-old Charley Mountney (whom you can see above) gives her view. It’s a real eye-opener…

“I have been home educated for nine years and I don’t regret a moment of it, if I had been in school I think I probably would be a lot different to how I am now.

I only did my first year in primary school, and all my memories of it are horrible! I used to get really badly bullied all the time.

This isn’t the case now; I have loads of home educated friends and friends that go to school. Bullying is not something that goes on in the home educated groups because the kids aren’t trying to get one up on each other all the time, no one feels threatened, and we have a lot of parents and adults around us to see every one is behaving appropriately. We all mix with different ages so there’s no peer group pressure. We don’t judge each other, we get to know each other and help when we can. There’s no competition and no intimidation.

The way I learn is very different to the way the children in school learn. I think we have a lot more say in things that we learn and what we do.

I choose most of the things I want to learn about, although mum and dad set me things to do that they think I should practice. I normally do my work in work books and on the computer, by studying text books and watching programmes, but we also go out lots to museums and galleries, and do field trips and activities with other home educated children. We use the library, sports halls, parks and playgrounds, swimming pools, places of interest, nature reserves and go ice skating and wall climbing. I do the usual after-school clubs as well, like pottery, youth club, SCUBA diving and in the past I’ve done gymnastics, dance and drama, horse riding and swimming lessons like other kids my age.

Other kids my age are doing GCSEs but at the present time I have no interest in doing them because the only way you can study for them is all academic and boring. I am interested in some of the subjects; I’m always doing science and biology, I did a lot of human biology in preparation for my diving exam, but when I do the biology GCSE course work it just makes me switch off! I feel GCSEs are forced upon most children and they don’t really want to do them.

I’ve always been encouraged to work for the things I want to achieve. At the moment I don’t know my own mind on my future, I don’t want to do GCSEs just for the sake of doing them because that’s a waste of my time, I could be working towards other things. When I’m completely decided on what I want to do in the future I will go for it, and there are other ways to build my future apart from doing GCSEs.

All the people I know that go to school absolutely despise being there and going to school. Everyone at youth club when they know I’m home educated thinks I’m really lucky. I feel school has a corrupting influence because many of my friends do things that they wouldn’t do if they weren’t in that group, like smoking for example. Mum has offered me the chances to try school if I wanted but being home educated I’m more able to be myself, do the things I’m good at and be who I want to be, not what people around me want me to be. I know I wouldn’t like school; I wouldn’t like that environment and the way that school children treat each other, so I think that home education was the best option for me. I am amazingly lucky.”

[…]

http://timesonline.typepad.com/

What a wonderful and insightful person. A REAL HUMAN BEING who will not jump through hoops, who faces the future without fear, with confidence and with an appreciation that hard work gets you what you want. If only all schoolchildren in the state system came out like this; able to compose a coherent pice like this that is correct in both its form and its content.

Of course, the collectivists see this sweet child as ‘the enemy’; she can think for herself, she is an individual. If the Home Educators are producing people like this in the hundreds of thousands, they represent a significant existential threat to collectivism, dishonesty and conformity that they represent and promote.

This corrupt and evil government has bitten off more than it can chew. The tide has turned against them in a most unprecedented and angry way, and the only reason why widespread rioting has not broken out is that an election is coming soon and everyone knows that New Labour will be completely purged from Parliament. That is the sole thing that is keeping this country from complete civil unrest.

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5 comments on “Graham Badman and Ed Balls declare war on Home Educators
  1. […] unanimity and with a single voice, claimed that they needed to be able to enter people’s homes to see their children without the parents present? Now you are being SILLY. On laws that have fallen into disuse, some people may ask ‘what’s the […]

  2. […] Badman in January 2009.  Despite an overwhelming response from stakeholders against any change Badman recommended a draconian regime of registration and monitoring which included a plan of education […]

  3. […] up pretext are they going to snatch some children and lock the parents up? Just when you thought it could not get more insane, it does. […]

  4. […] starting to feel what this is like, with the looming and soon to be destroyed recommendations of Badman and Balls. What this judge is proposing will end in people having to apply to the state for a license to […]

  5. […] I see that Blogdial has picked this up – well done, please tell everyone asap. There are a lot of other outgoing links in Blogdial […]

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