Sunday, 24 March 2013
The association of flexi-schooling and child abuse: the parent of a persistent truant writes…
I have written before of the flexi-schooling of my older daughter. She loved school, particularly the social side, but was not receiving there what I regarded as a suitable education and so we began taking her out for a day or two each week and teaching her at home. This was a reasonable compromise, with which the child was quite happy. She did not wish to be entirely home educated. The school though were not happy about this arrangement and we were on more than one occasion threatened with prosecution. The technical situation was that our daughter was truanting once or twice a week and that we were condoning her truancy.
I mention this because yesterday I drew attention to Graham Stuart’s views about this sort of thing. He feels that schooling and education are more or less synonymous and that failing to send a child registered at school to school regularly is ‘tantamount to child abuse’. I do not think now and nor did I at the time, that we were abusing our child by flexi-schooling. This attitude on the part of an MP who is supposed to be home education’s greatest supporter in parliament in worrying. It is especially worrying at the moment, since a man who is allegedly fighting for the right of parents to flexi-school holds such views. I believe that I was flexi-schooling for a couple of years; Graham Stuart regards it as child abuse. Am I really the only one who can see a problem with that?
We have had parents on here who talked about the awful situation of dragging a school refuser to school against her wishes and the trauma that this entailed. Some parents feel that it is less traumatic for the child to let her remain at home and only attend school when she is able to. This too is child abuse, apparently.
I am certainly not the only parent that I know who was in this position; that of taking a child out of school regularly in order to teach her at home. Some of these children were marked down as Code B, that is to say educated off-site. Others, like my own, were marked as being absent without permission; in other words, truanting. This has always been a bit of a theme in flexi-schooling where the school is uncooperative. The same goes for holidays. We often used to take our daughter from school in order to go and stay in Wales. She learned far more on those stays up in the mountains than she did in the classroom. Again, this was technically truanting. The idea that education equates with school and that a child out of school is being neglected is an absurd one. I am merely pointing out that one needs to be very careful relying upon a person with such views to support home education. I have seen my own flexi-schooling condemned by this person as child abuse; I cannot help but wonder what other strange views he holds on this subject.