Some people who skimmed through the video of the session yesterday have told me that they thought at first that I didn't say anything at all! It is true that I spoke infrequently and then only in a sentence or two, but this was still too much for some people. One person commenting after watching, said that I was deliberately allowed to have the final word. More observant viewers will perhaps have noticed that Zena Hodgson and I both signalled our desire to speak and it was a toss-up which of us spoke last. Despite having said about a tenth as much as any other of the witnesses, what I did say was enough to enrage an old friend of mine, Firebird from Godalming. Her account of what was said may be found on the Home Education Forums site. Firebird ends her account with the words, "Simon sticks the knife in". This was in reference to my final words to the select committee. I find this such a peculiar thing to say that I thought I would set out what I actually said at the end and see if anybody disagrees with it;
"Parents might have responsibility for their children's education, but all the rights are with the child. The child has a right to a suitable education. If it's not getting that right, then I think that society has a stake in establishing whether the rights of the child are being respected in regard to the right to receive an education; in which case, parents will have to give way to society's legitimate interest in the case."
"Simon sticks the knife in"......... I am sure that not everybody will agree with me in what I said. That is inevitable. But to suggest that ending such a discussion with a mention of the rights of the child, as opposed to the rights of parents which were talked about earlier in the session, is somehow "sticking the knife in".....
Such an attitude tells me a good deal about the person who would make such a strange statement. It tells me nothing at all about whether or not I was right to bring the discussion to a close by reminding those present that it is the children who have the rights here, rather than the parents.