I am quite interested to know what game Barry Sheerman MP, former Chair of the Children, Schools and Families Committee, is playing. Late on the night of October 16th this year, he tweeted that;
Home education is the next scandal which will eventually come to public
attention. It is being used in ways that deeply concern @Ofstednews
This gives one the impression that he is simply reporting something about which he knows. Ofsted are concerned about some aspect of home education and it will be coming to the attention of the public. Then, three weeks later, he is asking the Secretary of Sate for Education questions such as:
Barry Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education
what estimate he has made of the number of (a) girls and (b) boys
registered as being home-schooled who are not receiving an
Barry Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State
for Education what steps he is taking to
ensure that girls and boys who are home-schooled
receive an equal education.
Rather than just reporting this new scandal, Barry Sheerman now appears to be paving the way for it, by hinting that some home educators are providing an inadequate education for girls. The clue is plain; home education is being used as an excuse for sexism by some ethnic minority and Barry Sheerman is the boy to expose this racket!
Probably, the community which is being talked about here is that of the Gypsies/Travellers/Roma. There are many of them and it is no particular secret that a lot of their girls leave school at 11 and don’t progress to secondary education. Often, these girls are officially being home educated; a polite fiction which fools nobody, but satisfies both the families and the local authority. Here is the problem though and what some would regard as a danger for other home educators. If you wish to crack down on the spurious use of home education in this way, then you must either introduce a law aimed specifically at Gypsies, limiting their ability to choose home education for their children, or you must change the law for everybody. Historically, a good deal of bad publicity has attended the practice of passing laws designed to target particular ethnic groups such as Gypsies, Jews or blacks; I think South Africa and the Third Reich know who we're talking about here! This means that the first option is a non-starter. Which in turn, of course, means that any action taken to tackle this supposed ‘scandal’ will inevitably affect every home educating family in the country.
There is an outside chance that this business about boys and girls receiving an equal education is aimed at Muslims, but I wouldn't have thought that there are large enough numbers of such families to make up any sort of 'scandal'.