The Children, Schools and Family Bill gets through another reading.

Graham Stuart MP is a sharp thinker and speaker. He has truly done the background work needed to decide whether Schedule 1 Clause 26 should go through or not. Reading what he has to say makes me believe he actually does support Home Education and this isn’t just a political game to him. For that I am truly, truly grateful.

Caroline Flint otoh was quite capable of pointing out some bad practice by an LA officer-who I dare say went on to continue that level of crassness with other families; but then still voted with the Govt to increase the powers of these incompetent people. What incredible hyprocracy!

There is a great deal in the debate from the Hansard transcipt that needs looking at but I think this quote from Mr Stuart will start things off here:

A 1999 study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner, vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which is the testing company that runs the GMAT test in the United States—the primary test used there—observed:
“Home schooling’s one-on-one tutorial method seemed to equalize the influence of parents’ educational background on their children’s academic performance. Home educated students’ test scores remained between the 80th and 90th percentiles, whether their mothers had a college degree or did not finish high school.”

I would have hoped that hon. Members throughout the House would be excited at that prospect. Home education could have a transformational effect on the chance of children from the poorest homes getting a good education—if the parents had the commitment and the desire to do it—even if their parents did not have a good education themselves. He continued:

“Students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families of comparable educational backgrounds.”

In other words, although that cannot be guaranteed for all by any means, not least because of the economic realities, parents who are not well educated and who live in a deprived community and are prepared to show such commitment will none the less make a huge difference to the outcomes for their children, who are of course most likely to fail at school.

We should support home education rather than using measures that suggest that the only way we are going to improve it is by forcing children back to school.
This is the kind of research Badman would simply dismiss. There must be no hint that families who are not of the upper middle class white variety could possibly be capable of properly educating their children. During the anti-family campaign remember Tony Mooney? The man from the LA who thought working class and poorer families were in dire need of help (and SAOs)? This research flies in the face of such a view.
This debate was almost opened with the question from Ann Cryer (Lab) on what would happen if an inspector found a family who were home educating but didn’t speak English.
As it happens I did once meet a family like this. At home they spoke German because they were Austrian and while out and about they spoke English.
Many hearing children of Deaf parents only use BSL at home and English with other hearing people.
Could there be problems for families where they didn’t get access to English? Well probably, but just as I am able to offer Latin, Chinese, Italian and Spanish to my children, despite not speaking those languages myself I am sure parents can offer English in the same way. I have met Deaf parents who have done so for their hearing children. In fact in this country English is a language far easier to access than Latin or Italian.
Children learn to be bi/trilingual far quicker than adults but even adults soon learn English when immersed in it, (obviously Deaf adults cannot always do so) just as I became fluent in BSL far more quickly by being immersed in the Deaf Community that I would have from mere lessons.
I suspect Ms Cryer (despite ALL THE EVIDENCE) is still of the notion that home education means never leaving the home. That a child who only uses punjabi or some other language at home would never leave the house to learn English anywhere else.
The ‘we don’t like these foreigners’ approach continued with the statement that traveller families fail to educate girls past KS2. I wonder how true this is. Apart from the fact that travellors come in a variety of forms; Irish ‘tinker’, some Romany people still travel and there are groups of no particular ethnic set up. I went to school with travellor kids- boys and girls at what nowadays would be  KS3 so I wonder how widespread this perceived problem is. The other question I would ask is what kind of education? 
I realise these might seem like small side issues that don’t effect the vast majority of EHE families-but it does underline the shoddy thinking of the whole approach to EHE.
Mr David Laws  (LibDem) was somewhat confused over some aspects of safeguarding it seemed to me but he did go on to say:
In paragraphs 19 onwards, we see clearly—it is especially clear in paragraph 28—that what is at the moment an entitlement by the citizen in a free society to make a decision to home educate, has become an application in the Bill. In the future, instead of having the presumption that we are allowed to home educate, we must apply to the state for that right. That is an extraordinary change that I find deeply objectionable in a free society. We must not underestimate how serious that change in presumption is. It is clear that the application is not simply a process of notification, which is what we are trying to make it through some of the amendments that I will discuss in a moment. It is a fully-fledged process that involves having to supply huge amounts of personal information.
I do wonder therefore why any LibDem MP would want to support anything in this part of the Bill. It is after all the crux of the problem; these are not as I think Ms Cryer calls the “our children” they are my children or yours. The State does NOT own my children …yet.

5 responses to “The Children, Schools and Family Bill gets through another reading.

  1. Those words, “our children” were the last straw for my husband and me. We’d been considering it since our first child attempted kinder a few years before (we pulled him out) and during his second attempt at another school (in which he was miserable) but we just weren’t sure what we should do and thought about it for a couple of years.

    When a particular woman in the school was recommending some craziness for “OUR CHILDREN”, that was when we stopped going back and forth and made the decision to homeschool. We knew her/their philosophy values and “world view” were far from our own. We knew it wasn’t just maths facts or English rules and we were no longer undecided. Our children, indeed. grrr.

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