Thursday, 3 December 2009

Badman: Government responds to Home Education petition

Home educators, and others of us who have misgivings about the proposals in the Badman report (see here), petitioned the government to express our concern. The government has now responded, and has indicated that it is not going to give an inch by saying "The recommendations set out by Badman are proportionate and reasonable." Of course, it says "We will take into account the responses to the consultation and any report arising from the Select Committee Inquiry into the review of home education when deciding how to proceed," but it looks like it intends to implement most of the proposals in the Badman report.

The key line in the government's response is "Most home educators do an excellent job but we can’t afford to let any child slip through the net – in terms of their education, or safety." In other words, the government believes that it is responsible for every single child, and that it is potentially capable of ensuring that every child in the country is kept safe and given a good education.

Hmmm. There are at least four problems with that statement that jump out at me immiediately.

1) No one seriously thinks that the state is actually able to keep every child in the country safe.

2) Even to keep every child in the country safe from his or her parents would require incredible intrusion into family life.

3) Note that politicians believe that it is for them to define what constitutes a good education.

4) If you speak to a lot of parents in this country, you will discover that several of them have real doubts as to whether their local state schools actually do provide a good education. Some also have concerns about how safe their children might be in their local school.

The general impression I get is one of incredible hubris on the part of the government. They really do believe that they can solve all the world's problems.

[Note that whatever action the government takes will not apply to Scotland. However, Scotland's rules concerning home education are actually slightly tighter at the moment than those of England and Wales - in that in Scotland, parents already require local authority permission to withdraw their children from school, and there is a recommendation that home educating families be visited once a year by the authorities. (For more on the prospects for home educators in Scotland, see here.)]


Stuart said...

Come on let's be frank here, the government simply seeks to mold our children into its own morally relativistic image. They want to rest control away from parents and become the parent themselves and indoctrinate them with a worldview that is suitable for the government.

As a home-schooler, I am deeply disturbed by the Badman proposals, not least the fact that they wish for the power to interview the child without the parents present, which is a power that even our police do not have!

Our 'educators' are so tied up in government targets and beauracracy that they simply cannot educate our chuildren anyway.

I was aksed to do a guest post on this subject if you are interested:-


I accept that non-Christians won't appreciate my comments on that blog, however, if we have a problem with state sponsered education, then all I ask is the right to educate my child without state interference. It is supposed to be legally MY responsibility after all.

patently said...

1) New Labour do. OK, they accept that sometimes things go wrong, but believe that this is because they weren't radical enough; they didn't spend enough; they didn't set up enough quangoes and employ enough inspectors.

2) Suits them. The State is, in their eyes, such a kind and benevolent force for good that who would want to prevent such intrucion - except, of course, for those who have something to hide.

3) Absolutely. It is for the State to decide what is best for all of us.

4) Which goes to show that these people are so misguided as to be unsuitable parents. The more they say this, the stronger the argument for intervention becomes.

I read things like this, and I read through my comment, and I feel sad that 12 years of this shower have made me so cynical.

Then I feel sadder still when I realise my cynicism is wholly justified by experience.

Stuart said...

I too have become cynical patently and now I just want the government to STOP legislating and reverse the process and get the hell out of our lives....

Young Mr. Brown said...


Come on let's be frank here, the government simply seeks to mold our children into its own morally relativistic image.


The leading social commentator, Leg-Iron has a slightly different perspective: "When Tiny Blur said 'Education, education, education', we all thought he meant 'literacy and maths and actual skills'. What he really meant was 'teach a whole generation to be useless and dependent on Labour so they'll vote for us forever'."

Who knows? Perhaps you are both right.


What can I add to that? I think I want to weep. Maybe I should amend point 1), and change "seriously" to "serious".

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatly, this "outsourcing" of parenting seems to be spreading. One of the adverts for Windows 7 is one with a mother programming her computer to control when and what her children can access on-line! I mean, WTF? It used to be the case that parents would tell their child "no more television, read a book," or "go to bed". Now, parents are being told to alter what their children do, covertly, using a computer program. When did parenting start to mean not telling your child "no"?

Sadly, I do not see a way out of this state-supported malaise, without at least some children dying. The state has to cut down on the ammount of welfare it gives out to feckless parents, to get them back to work, or at least make people consider a little more before having children ("can I afford to have children" etc. That will mean that some inadequate parents will not be able to feed their offspring, even if local charity meets a lot of the need.

Young Mr. Brown said...

even if local charity meets a lot of the need.

It is one of my beliefs that if society moves in a libertarian direction, we are going to need a lot more charitable activity.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Oh, and by the way, mentioning no names, part of one of the above comments gets a very hard stare.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sorry about that. Will monitor more closely next time