An interesting aspect of my post below and the one by Baroness Deech is that they attracted few responses from many of our non committed bloggers. I would like to hear their views.
There is nothing wrong with a lobbying group of strongly committed people – they are essential to the democratic process but I do not believe that my concerns about this issue are not shared by many others in society. I have met and know families who home educate. I remember discussing these very issues when a parent at my son’s school was taking her child out for home education. She understood the need for some method of checking and recognised that if it became very common it would inevitably attract people who might want to take their child out for other reasons.
I think part of the problem here is the distrust in institutional systems of government but what I would like is some more recognition that children have rights as well as parents and that some parents fail, for many and varied reasons, to provide protection and minimal standards for their children. This happens in all walks of life and is not special to home educating parents.
Those who want home education must surely also want to ensure that parents AND CHILDREN who need help get it. Yes, it is and always has been a difficult judgement about how government at all levels can and should intervene but look at the background to the great educational reform Act of 1870. Opposition to state education in the 19th century reflected some of the complaints being voiced now. Home education without some protection of the rights of the child risks taking us back to the pre 1870 position.
There is another point I want to emphasise here. It is that we all refer to ‘our’ children or ‘my’ child. They are our children but they are not our possessions. Some of the comments do speak about the child as though they are born dependent and will stay dependent. All of us know how quickly children develop and express their own personality. Society’s ability to intervene to protect is not a safeguard we should casually throw away. Children have rights and we have a duty as a society to ensure those rights are respected.