Monday, 31 August 2009

Are the Tories the friends of home educators?

A spirit of cautious optimism is abroad among many of those opposed to the implementation of the Badman Report's recommendations. The feeling seems to be that if only home educators can fight a desperate rearguard action and delay any new legislation until the next election, then they will be home and dry. After all, this is a Labour government inspired piece of nonsense to which the Tories are opposed, isn't it? Well yes and no, but mainly, I am afraid, no.

New laws are seldom brought in these days because they are wise, prudent and principled. All politicians piss in the same pot and both the main political parties in this country are essentially populist in nature; they play to the gallery, rather than operating according to any abstract notions of justice and the good of mankind. Two things must be borne in mind about this proposed new legislation. Firstly, there are very few home educators, compared with the vast number of people who do send their children to school. Secondly, the average individual finds the whole thing somewhat fishy, grossly unfair and probably another middle class craze. After all, everybody else has to send their kids to school to be tested to destruction, why shouldn't these people do the same as the rest of us? What's special about them? Names like Victoria Climbie and Eunice Spry also resonate in the public consciousness in connection with home education, however irrationally. In other words, cracking down on home education would not be at all unpopular with most people and many would actively welcome such a move.

As a matter of realpolitic, Cameron would be mad less than a year before an election, to alienate perhaps a hundred thousand voters who have children being educated at home. His party have accordingly limited themselves to bland and anodyne statements to the effect that they support the right of parents to choose home education for their children. Since this is what Ed Balls and Graham Badman are also saying, this is not particularly reassuring. I imagine that the word has gone out from above that the official Conservative line on this is, "Keep it vague, make sympathetic tutting noises about this iniquitous government and for God's sake don't promise these lunatics anything definite".

My guess is that even if new legislation does not reach the statute books before the general election, then the next Conservative administration will introduce something very similar of their own. Opposition parties often pinch good ideas in this way as soon as they are in power. Remember that anything involving the protection of kiddies and old folks makes a government look caring and concerned. I should think that mid term, as they are slipping in the opinion polls would be a good time for such a move. Wait until some kid unknown to the local authority is neglected or even murdered by his mother and then pounce. Bear in mind that the majority of home educators are probably left leaning, so this would not damage the Tories' core voters.

In short, change is coming and it will not be particularly affected by the political complexion of the cabinet. Relying upon any Conservative assurance now, short of a manifesto pledge, is sure to end in disappointment for those hoping to avoid this change.


  1. Yes, that is one of the points I was trying to make to my fellow "home educator of Hampshire"-- I don't think any political party will deliver us from Badman. The Tories may be more natural allies than some because they are traditional supporters of independent education and have perhaps more sense of "family" rights than some...BUT if the legislation gets passed before a general election I don't see any politician of whatever hue voting to remove something that is dressed up as "child protection" - we live in a world where the Daily Mail relentlessly persecutes anyone who is seen to be failing in child protection; where there is still the dreadful case of the child who died in Birmingham (which I think goes back to court towards Christmas) and where anyway the Tories will have lots of fiscal stuff to worry about if they get in. The Tories are opposed now because it is something to battle Labour with.... and even their latest reply seemed to imply inspection will be part of the future....

  2. Julie_and even their latest reply seemed to imply inspection will be part of the future....

    What lastest reply? we not seen anything from the Tories to say that inpection will be made law by them for home educators when they win the next election,
    We have spoken to a number of Tories who do object to Badman ideas and will not vote for them! The Tories want a target approach based on evidence not for all parents/children home educated and lead with the view that parents are innocence unless evidence dictates otherwise? Peter will be following up on this this week to confrim and M.Grove fully supports the Shadow education team statement on home education.
    Badman/Simon view is that parents/children are guilty and must prove to be innocence of any crime.
    lets put a question to good old Simon we know that some where in england people have stolen goods in their house so should should we search every house for these goods simon? people have guns in their houses with out licence so again should we search every house just in case?

    I see that Simon is back tracking and now saying that new legislation may not reach the statue books i thought it was all going to go though with no problems? i also belive the cost of all of this will help to defeat it the money is not there to pay for it deep cuts are coming schools/teachers LEA officers? and other services as we just do not have the money to waste on crackpot ideas.the uk is in debt and it must be paid back the IMF will not allow us to spend vaste sams of money on crazy ideas!
    Cameron has not made a bland statement he said and i quote for you " should be entitled to the same presumption on innocence and competence that school going children's parents receive,unless evidence dictates otherwise"

    Does Simon have to check inspect his daughter when she says i am going out to see friends? or does he accept her word with trust she could be meeting or going some where else that is not safe? how would simom know unless he followed her? Because we know Badman would not belive her and want to check to make sure she was goin to see these friends and where just in case? Badman/simon leave in complete mistrust of everyone a very sad way to leave.

  3. oh repeating myself .....again - email from M Gove's sec last week..... I did tell you before honestly!

  4. Julie- but what does it say?

    Peter will be writing to him to see if he agrees with the Shadow Education team statement "should be entitled to the same presumption on innocence and competence that school going children's parents receive,unless evidence dictates otherwise"

    Badman/Simon live very sad life mis-trusting everyone very sad!

  5. It says "home educators would in all likelihood still be subject to inspection."

  6. Julie- but inspection can mean anything to any one such as is done now if a parents wishes samples of education or a philosophy of education and note the word in all likelihood!

    i quote again should be entitled to the same presumption on innocence and competence that school going children's parents receive,unless evidence dictates you agree with this statement or do you take simon view you must first prove you are not guilty! do you share simon mistrust of everybody unless you have gone though a number of checks and counter checks to see at that moment in time you are not guilty. Simon way is allways to mistrust parents what a sad way to live i suspect he mistrust his own daughter and i wonder if she has to prove to him where she has been and with who what she did that day i wonder how she goes about this? used to know a church man/wife the man was for ever checking on her where she been who was it with was it a boy where did he live he made her life terrblie because he just could not trust her and that is what simon is like no trust for anyone very very sad!
    Peter will be writing to M.Grove to get to the bottom of this matter as we have not had this email and copying to Mr David Cameron.
    I do enjoy our chats Julie.

  7. As far as Tory policy is concerned - we will see; I just don't trust any politician enough to believe they will or won't vote in any particular way until they actually do.
    I can't answer for Simon, but yes of course I don't believe that we should automatically assume parents are guilty of anything. The trouble with Cameron's statement about presumption of innocence is the phrase "unless evidence dictates otherwise". That is the way that all child care investigations always work....but when a doubt is raised, investigations will follow. Sometimes
    the allegations prove groundless sometimes sadly they don't; I suspect that the LAs want the same right of access to the child in order to assess whether (educationally) the child is recieving an appropriate education without the LA having to jump through all the hoops they currently do in order to obtain the info. I have mixed feelings - on one hand I want all children to receive a first rate education be it at home or at school; on the other I do not welcome families being stressed by LA action where none is needed or families being dragged through the courts either. I don't have an inherent mistrust of everybody, but it is obvious that just like some schools fail their pupils, some home educators may do too....what I want to do about it is to replace the adversarial battles of parents and authorities - or even different sorts of home educators with each otther with a bit more support and cooperation between everyone.
    Must go and feed children.....

  8. Julie I just don't trust any politician enough to believe they will or won't vote in any particular way until they actually do.
    No trust again! your just like Simon you can not trust any one until there proved by checks? that there are to be trusted? this is how Simon runs his life guilty untill i have checked a very sad way to live! you also not answered about if as we know in Hampshire some one has stolen goods or weapons in there house should all houses be searched to catch them.We know that some where in England some one may be planing bomb attach should we search whole of England to find them? or should we do what the police do now which is target who may be doing this?
    The LEA have the power not to take action if a child is not geting a suitable full time education there are no hoops to go though!
    I think you like Simon you want LEA to have more powers to search peoples homes just in case all for you own good of course.
    You never replace the adversarial battles between parents and Authorities over home education because most LEA do not like home education and can not trust the parents unless the parents are forever being visited and checked! its like asking a butcher to check a vegetarian.Hampshire is one of the worst LEA for Home Education because it just can not trust parents and is also obsessed with wanting to search people homes and intergate them.Hampshire County Council have NO respect for home educators and are oftern surspised when home educators tell them to F off.
    I must say i do enjoy these chats Julie i belive you where a teacher? if so this explain i guess why you mistrust so much,never knew you where out there in hampshire until i see this blog small world!

  9. "Julie i belive you where a teacher? if so this explain i guess why you mistrust so much"

    That told you, Julie!

  10. Simom mistrusts every one tell us how you check up on your daughter? do you follow her when she goes out or do you take her word that she is going where she says she is going? what about if she says i going to see a friend do you check simon? how do yo go about these checks? tick box? would you search the home of her friend to check that she had been there. it must be very sad to live like this never trusting any one.what happened to make you so mistrust everyone Simon something happen to you when you where younger?

  11. I think my trust or lack of it is directed at politicians ... and given the recent political fracas can you really say that we can trust those whose moral standards are so questionable? Take Mrs Thatcher for example - she promised a "light touch" government yet we ended up with more legislation than ever before in her era. Now I am not particularly anti Mrs Thatcher (she was after all a chemistry graduate so must be a good thing!) and I actually quite admire David Cameron (he had a profoundly disabled son - as do we)...but the point I keep trying to make is that I don't think that home education will necessarily be "saved" by political change. How can i explain why others sometimes don't live up to their original sin, human nature, it what you will.

  12. and gosh - why does being a teacher make me distrustful...I love teaching be it my own or others children.....

  13. "The LEA have the power not to take action if a child is not geting a suitable full time education there are no hoops to go though!" - but that is the problem for the LA - many parents (and aren't you one of them??) won't submit any evidence of what education is happening. So they can go to court and seek an SAO - but then the parent can turn up at court and submit evidence then and so the case is dimissed for another year; or they can involve social services and then the family end up in a worse predicament than they could have ever imagined...All of this is extremely time consuming and expensive for the tax payer - no wonder the LAs want legal right of access (I am not saying here that I support them getting it - merely that I can fully understand their point of view)

  14. Julie- people do not trust teachers because of the way many of them behave.Teachers are distrustful of parents you know what is said about parents in the school staff room!

    Evidence can be submited in a format a parents chooses which is what we did along with a long letter from our county council who fully surports our right to home educate and not to have meeting with any one from Hampshire LEA.We will see them in hell first and Jim knows that told him that 3 years agonot heard a thing since case closed!.
    it is not time consuming to issue a school attendance order who told you that?
    how will legal access work Julie to those parents and children who do not want anything to do with there LEA becuase of the way there have been treated what will he say when the child says go away i want nothing to do with you and the parents says the same thing you are not welcome in our house and never will be please leave at once.go away your not wanted here poking your nose into our house and if it comes to it F off will you?
    what you should be asking is why parents feel so strongly aginst there LEA it is often because of unhappy treatment at school by head/teachers governors and then to find the LEA side with the school untill these issues are looked into and not brushed under the carpet like simon does things will never change and Hampshire is one of the worst LEA in the UK Hampshire is a crap LEA and some of its officers tell lies.I have the proof should any one want it?