Home Education Select Committee Report published

The Select Committee Report is out. In the summary I note this:

Debate has centred on the tension between, on the one hand, the absence of prescription in relation to home education and the ability of home educating families to refuse contact with their local authority, and, on the other, the duty on local authorities to ensure that every child in their area is receiving a suitable education.

This is a definite focus shift isn’t it? The whole thing began, not with concern over the “absence of prescription” but with accusations that we were a bunch of abusers hiding behind home education to keep our children “hidden” for “domestic servitude” and “forced marriage”. Remember? We were shoved in together with those who murdered Victoria Climbe and Kyrah Ishaq as though neither child had been well known to social services and as though Kyrah Ishaq has never been in school. Remember?

There was absolutely nothing at the beginning of this attack (it would be a stretch to call it a debate) that had anything to do with suitable education.

Of course plenty of us saw immediately where this would end up- prescriptive suitable education ie the government agenda being forced on our children. It is interesting to see them come out from the shadows and just say so.

The Committee think registration should be there as a voluntary thing, presumably with some carrot attached, but they also think we should all be providing  a “statement of intended approach”. The impression I get is that they would like to have a database of philosophies and have this as a base to measure outcomes at the end. Curiosity would make be comply-but that would have been had the other things never happened. We can’t turn the clock back now though.

They admit the whole review process was a bit of a farce and they are critical of Badman and Ball’s approach-but nevertheless they say that after two years if registration isn’t working for THEM then it will be made compulsory.

On outcomes I would suggest that research could be done in the usual ‘self-referral’ way without  too much variability being a problem. I would think that if home educated children were seen to be illiterate or criminal then we would have had some note made of this already. It’s the fact that certain populations (eg white boys of ‘working class’ origins) are doing very badly educationally in schools that has triggered some research. The fact that home educated children in surveys and research always come out smelling of roses should be a good sign.

Anyway. I need to read the whole thing and I’ll come back to this.


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