Debating with home educating parents can, on occasion, be like wading through treacle! As soon as you laboriously establish one point, the terms of the argument change and you find yourself back to square one and arguing over a relatively minor point which you thought had already been conceded.
Unfortunately, I do not have a great deal of time today to spend on this blog, so I shall limit myself to one or two main points. The first of these is to observe that I hope we now agree that children with special needs and disabilities are more likely to be abused and neglected by their parents? I gave quite a few references for this yesterday; research ranging from America to Malawi, Turkey to Norway and even some from this country. I am therefore assuming that the debate now centres around the percentage of children with special needs in the home educated population of Britain.
As i say, I shall be going into this in greater depth in a day or two, but I will mention that one of those commenting here suggested that my own estimate of 25%, based on the available evidence, was hopelessly out and that the real figure would be more like 10%. Let us take that figure and see what the implications are for it.
Rates of abuse of children with special educational needs are, on average four times higher than for those without. This abuse is carried out by their parents at home. However, the rates vary, according to whether the special need is physical or intellectual. Almost without exception, the home educated children with special needs whom one encounters and learns of are not in wheelchairs, nor are they deaf or blind. They have what are broadly termed learning difficulties. The rates of abuse in that case are higher, ranging between five and seven times the rate of children without such difficulties. Let us work with the lower figure.
There is great controversy about the actual rates of abuse among ordinary children, a debate into which we need not go. Let us call it X victims per hundred children. In a groups of 1000 children without special needs, this rate would run at 10X. I hope this makes sense! Now let us assume that home educated children have no special needs. Their rate of abuse would also run at 10X. So far, so good. let us now make the assumption that somebody commenting here yesterday did, that only 10% of home educated children have special needs. Let us also take it that these needs are almost without exception, intellectual and not physical needs. Now for the sum. The 90% of home educated children without special needs will have 9X victims of abuse among them. The 10% with special needs will have 5X victims of abuse. Adding those figures together, tells us that overall, 1000 home educated children will have 14X victims of abuse, in comparison with the 1000 children without special needs. In short, that group would have a 40% higher rate of abuse than 1000 children with no special needs. I hope everybody has followed that, because it is all that I have time for today.