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Archive for April 9th, 2010

Politics.  Makes no sense.  So.. after all that angst, the home ed parts of the children, schools and family bill have been dropped – all part of that hasty tidy up business that comes before an election.

From education otherwise:

Home educators today feel a huge sense of relief as the Government has been forced to drop the home education parts of the Children Schools and Families Bill in a last-minute wash-up agreed by front benchers of the three major parties at the end of the current Parliament.The Government had mistakenly attempted to rush through changes to the home education law in England without pre-legislative scrutiny.

Ministers and civil servants rashly dismissed the findings of the Select Committee Inquiry, which reported that the plans were “too aggressive”, based on “less than robust” evidence and should be scaled back.

In my opinion the plans were way too aggressive.. and of course offensive to home educators, and the implication is always that some how, being educated outside of the school system puts children at risk.

Ed Balls writes

Finally, you and your colleagues have been clear about your opposition to the proposed registration scheme for home educators. I do believe this is profoundly misguided and will put children at risk in the future. We have always been clear that the vast majority of home educators do a good job and that they have nothing to fear from the proposals we brought forward. However, without our reforms the small minority of children at risk will remain so.  By opposing these provisions you have removed a potentially valuable tool for local authorities in their work to safeguard all children.

What is noticeable, is nothing in his statement is about children receiving an education… its all about ‘safeguarding’  – which was the whole crux of the proposed reforms anyway – as though – if the children are in school, they are magically safe.  If you just think back to some of the more notorious child abuse cases, the majority were already known to social services. Recent news stories  include a nursery teacher who turned out to be an abuser, teachers having relationships with their pupils, and a recent sad case of a lad suffering an asthma attack being left  to sit in a corridor (he died later).

So it’s fairly easy to see why the bill upset so many home educators.  Ironically, I think a lot of the badman report made sense, but the proposals, as always, went way too far.

So what happens now? whilst the home ed forums are buzzing with the ‘good news’, that the clauses re home ed have been removed, I just feel sad about it. So much effort, wasted time and money..

Lord Lucas, now vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on home education said:

We are considering a section of the Bill which will cost £20 million per annum,which is about £1,000 per home-educated child. These children receive no moneyto help pay the costs of examinations; no money to buy textbooks; no money tobuy materials; no money and no tuition to help them over difficulties in education.Now the Government can find £1,000 for each of these children-and will spend it onauditing them. Not one penny will go to help the children; it will all go on auditingthem. What have these people done to deserve that?

and it’s not over.  The election will take place.. if the present government get in, they will put the bill through again.. if not.. well who knows what they will do. The home education groups are more aware now, the fight continues.

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