Select Committee on home education: Registration? pt 2

I continue from the post below:

Annette Brookes MP (Lib Dem): Yes, could I just ask a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question from each member of the panel? If we say, imagine a very simple registration scheme-get rid of all those screens and all those conditions that are part of the Badman report,[that bit is a very good idea] but literally saying given that if a child goes to a local school, there is knowledge that the child is at the local school[known because the parent has delegated that job to the school under the LA as parents may choose to do]-just to providing the knowledge that a child is being home educated at X address. [But still no answer to Fiona’s question of WHAT FOR?]Let us start with a very simple principle and at least we would get some indication of numbers, although I accept what you said, Fiona.[oh?] Do you feel strongly about the simplest of registration schemes?

[My response to this would be that this was a pointless question in the light of the fact no reason for registration has been made and it’s way too late to pretend Badman never happened. It’s just too late to pretend we don’t know what’s in store for us isn’t it? Everyone knows that saying ‘yes in theory’ means yes to being licensed to take care of our children]

Chair: Simon.

Simon Webb: I cannot see any possible objection to it, personally.[I object as it’s a waste of money on something neither wanted nor required. I object to being told I can’t exercise my rights nor protect my children’s rights without the state licensing us.] Actually, my daughter went missing because she was born in one local authority area but we moved to another when she was six.[As I’ve mentioned I have worked in this area and my dh still does. ‘Missing’ means someone disappears and those who need to know where they are; parents, carers-don’t and so there are said to be missing. Moving house with dad and having everyone in your life know where you are does not constitute missing. However should dad run off with you and he has not custody rights, you might then be missing] Nobody had any idea of whether she was at school and, when we moved, nobody knew what happened to her.[No one? No family, neighbours, shopkeepers, doctors. No one saw his child at all! London sounds awful.Is it really that bad? I am also sorry to learn that there is no family involvement here either. He seems to have had to do a lot alone-a tough job] I could have done her in and buried her in the garden in Tottenham, and then moved to Loughton and no one would have been any the wiser. She had no official existence in effect, so no, I cannot see any possible objection to a registration scheme. [Er. So saying he may have murdered his daughter-he would have been sure to register with the LA first and then they would have stopped him??? Eh? Granted a parent wanting to kill off their child wouldn’t be joining the local Home Ed group either. But There is no reason to believe registration would ever save a child in this hypothetical situation. Zena had already answered this. We know far too many children right under the nose of social services get murdered. If there was some precedent that showed registration anywhere in any country had stopped a home educating parent harming or killing a child-I would be very interested. Mr Webb obviously believes registration would protect children. I just can’t see why he does].

From now on I’m using the online transcripts as I didn’t get much further.

Carole Rutherford: It depends on what it leads to. We are going to have to re-register every year. When you enrol at a school, you don’t go back every year and ask, “Can I continue with my name on the roll?” The majority of home educators with special educational needs children are already known, because you cannot have a child with a disability who isn’t seen by somebody at some point. In a way, we are already there; people already know us. If you have de-registered, and the vast majority of them have, you are known. [I think Carole got a bit muddled here; understandable in the high stress environment but a shame. Anyway I got the impression she was saying parents who have children with SEN have more than enough poking and prodding from official agencies thank you and the annual registration is a remarkable imposition.]

Chairman: So if it is already known, you wouldn’t mind having a register as well?

Carole Rutherford: The parents who I speak to tell me that yes, they would actually mind that.

Chairman: They would mind having a register?

Carole Rutherford: They don’t want to be registered because they feel as if they have been pursued enough by local authorities. That was probably the reason why they have come out of the system; they don’t want to have to start all over again with the local authorities.

Q54 Chairman: So your answer to Annette is no? [Her answer was very clearly NO and for very good reasons.]

Fiona Nicholson: My answer is that it is a really bad time to be asking this-at the end of the Badman review.[ Yes it is way too late to pretend Badman didn’t come after us and the Government’s puppet charity the NSPCCs little efforts in the media. Way too late] If that had been the question at the beginning of the review, we would have put all our trust issues on the table and said, “Call us paranoid, but we fear that it would lead to a definition of suitable education and efficient education and that it would be far more intrusive.” We would have hoped that somebody would give us some kind of reassurance. We have all had a look at the big blue book, the Graham Badman report, and it is really difficult now to answer a hypothetical question about how we feel about simple registration. If we could stop the clock and things such as the Badman review had never happened, and we had not seen what is entrained for us-


Q55 Chairman: I am sorry, but this is a bit hypothetical. Are you against a register or not?[ Sigh. I wondered at this point if he was listening. Maybe he was tired. It is obvious that the question cannot be treated purely hypothetically because we already face our rights as families being removed.] Before Badman’s review and now, were you or were you not in favour of a register so that we would know where our children are in this country?

Fiona Nicholson: I thought it was inevitable that it would happen. [Same here sadly. But the fight goes on]

Q56 Chairman: But you would not approve of it happening?

Fiona Nicholson: I am not taking a position on whether I think it is a good or a bad thing. [This surprised me. I realise she is registered-so am I. Maybe she was thinking of the research that might be useful. I don’t know. I would be interested is Fiona would expand on what made her answer like this at this point.]

Chairman: Okay, that’s a don’t know.



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