Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The select committee

I don't think that there is much point in giving a detailed account of this morning's session; I'm sure that most people will have seen it by now. I thought that I would limit myself to a few impressions.

I got the feeling that with one or two exceptions, the committee was not opposed to home education in the slightest. However, I also got the distinct impression that they did not really "get" it a lot of the time. They honestly couldn't seem to see why anybody would object to registration. Similarly, they seemed a little puzzled about the fears that some parents had about visits. I at least understand the concerns, even if I don't share them; some of the MPs such as David Chaytor just didn't seem to get it at all.

I was interested to see the reactions of the other witnesses to a simple question about registration. I of course have no problem with this. Jane Lowe, Zena Hodgson and Carole Rutherford were opposed to them. The oddest performance when responding to this queston came from Fiona Nicholson of Education Otherwise. She seemed so dithery about the issue that in the end the Chair rather impatiently said words to the effect of, "You don't know", before moving on to the next person. I really cannot believe that in the four months since the Badman Report was published, Fiona Nicholson has not been able to make up her mind on this subject. I can only assume that she was hedging her bets and did not want to reveal her position on registration publicly just at the moment.

I have to say that I felt that the other witnessess did not really present their case very well, particularly Zena Hodgson. Too much waffle and wandering from the point, not enough simple, plain sentences. Still, that's really no affair of mine. I also noticed that like many enthusiasts, home educators seem to slip into the way of assuming that other people are quite familiar with their own special interest. I shall probably post a little more on this subject tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Well, as I said elsewhere, I watched and can't say that I think anybody said anything that will change the course of things. You did at least keep what you had to say brief and that is perhaps why it is more memorable; I am sure that it must have been really difficult for the other four anyway, (faced with the whole setup) so I am not saying that I would have done better.

    The trouble is that even though the Select Comm were generally open and willing to listen they can't possibly understand how diverse home edders are, and - I think this is the important bit,how everyones views are shaped by their experiences. You may have found LA visits mildly irritating but you are articulate enough to fend off any adverse consequences; many families either have bad experiences themselves or are deterred by those who have had traumatic times. Pessimistically though I still feel that nothing will stop the machine rolling on its way now it has started- we may get a tweak here or there, but that is about it.