It occurs to me that a good analogy of the inspection of home education is provided by the market inspectors who keep an eye on street markets. There is just such a market near my office in East London and I have had ample opportunity to observe how it works.
Most stallholders view the inspectors as a bit of a nuisance, although they can see why they are needed. They are not popular, but neither are they particularly disliked. Most stallholders co-operate readily enough, although there are a number who are always complaining and refuse to do anything that the inspectors say without a huge amount of fuss and bother. These are the awkward squad, who in my younger days would have been described as "Barrack-room lawyers". Similarly among the inspectors, most just want to get on and do their job without too much trouble. Like most of us, they want an easy life. There are of course one or two really difficult types who set out to make life hard for the stallholders, but these are, mercifully, the exception.
It strikes me that this is very much a model for the world of home education and its inspection by local authorities. Most home educating parents, I think, see the need for inspections. As long as these are not too frequent or intrusive, they tolerate them. There are a number though who have a propensity to stand on their rights. They are shrill and voluable and some of them urge all parents to refuse visits and join them in a campaign of mass resistance to any attempt to check up on what they are doing with their children. Similarly, there are difficult and unpleasant inspectors and educational welfare officers who actively disapprove of home education and see it as their mission to give us a hard time. Like the awkward market inspectors, I think that this is a minority.
Something to bear in mind when one decides to go head to head with the state is that the state has far more resources than we do as individuals. It can afford to spend huge sums on lawyers, indeed it can actually change the law if it feels in the mood; as we are currently seeing with the proposed new legislation. It strikes me that a lot of home educators are spending so much time these days fighting the government, both local and national, that they must have very little time left to spend on their children. This seems sad and a little unnecessary. Which is likely to cause most disruption to their children's education; a brief annual visit or a sustained campaign lasting months on end fighting against such visits?