Home education and Iran

Lord Soley

I have spent some time reading the comments on the post concerning home education. I still have some more background reading to do but it has been useful. I think that some of the comments are unnecessarily aggressive and do not add to the argument. Hotly disputed issues like this need cool heads. I will consider taking part in the debate and I will also consider coming to a meeting as suggested by some of the posts.

I also worry about some of the comments on my Iran post. What is happening in Iran is part of the challenge of the 21st century. It is about democracies with the rule of law and more authoritarian societies. There is a danger in a number of western countries where a significant minority of people seem to equate countries which have the rule of law and democratic processes with the authoritarian regimes. Anyone who thinks there is equivalence should try living in a dictatorship – it is a very sobering experience. That is why we should be clear about giving moral support to the opposition in Iran.

58 comments for “Home education and Iran

  1. kizzy
    22/02/2010 at 12:23 am

    Dear Lord Soley,

    When people are defending their children, they will dispute hotly. We do not expect a tigress to defend her cubs half heartedly do we? No more than we expect citizens of a supposedly free country to allow automatic entrance into their homes. This is a hotly disputed issue because the proposals are so outrageous. I don’t think you can expect cool heads when people are having their world turned upside down. Many citizens presume that our parliament works for us not the other way round. So when legislation is introduced (in a particularly authoritarian way) to impose draconian legislation, then what exactly do you expect?
    Taking part in the debate is of course the preferred option. I hope you do not see people’s passion as a reason not to engage.

  2. Elaine
    22/02/2010 at 1:02 am

    Many of the elderly and infirm are abused in their own homes and those of relatives in whom they have placed their trust, many lay in sodden beds drinking only water, dependant on their abuser to offer them some form of nourishment but knowing that any nourishment they do get will probably be basic. Many of then fear the carer entering the room preferring the semi concious state that malnourishment leaves them in than the beating they will get when it is discovered they have soiled.
    Why is there not an inspection and monitoring system in place ? why are you not highlighting their plight in the press?
    Should I answer my own question? It is because thousands upon thousands of caring relatives day in day out provide our elderly and infirm with a standard of care that cannot be found in any state provision, it is because these same people give their loved ones the emotional security of knowing that no matter how painful and debilitating their journey to the end of life may be they will be loved and cared for.
    Should we explore the impact that bringing in a scheme of inspection and monitoring would have on the elderly and infirm and their relatives/carers ? Or is there any point in exploring such a suggestion because we both know, don’t we, that to suggest such a thing would be met with an outcry.
    May I go so far as to suggest that you dwell not on the what if’s, the false statistics etc but concentrate your mind on the good that twice the amount of money Ed Balls has quoted this as costing, it has to be double because we have a 2006 DFES/DCSF document showing they estimate the number of home educators to be 40,000 , take that money and use it to reduce the national debt because that is the biggest threat to the majority of children in England today, they face a future working not to provide for their own children but to pay of the excesses of the past few years of Labour Government .

  3. vinny
    22/02/2010 at 1:35 am

    Aggressive like insisting suits should have the legal right to force their way into our homes and grill our children to ascertain as to whether or not we are good parents or the other kind?

    Aggressive like insisting all children should be forced into learning from the same national curriculum on the same timeline in the same ways with no room for individuality, difference, or for even asking the kids themselves what they might prefer to be doing?

    There is a lot of aggression about, for sure. What you’re seeing from most home edders is a defence, a drawing of the line, an emphatic statement: No.


    When someone says No, and the other insists anyway, that is aggression. We have in this country a right to demand respect of some boundaries, such as the one that lies at our front door, or the one that allows strangers access to our children.

    Are we aggressive for protecting these rights, or is this Bill aggressive for trying to snatch them away from us?

    How would you feel, Clive, if they were trying to storm their way into your home, instead of mine?

  4. The Sewist
    22/02/2010 at 1:42 am

    I appreciate that you would prefer us all to have cool heads but considering that we find ourselves being pilloried here on your blog as well as in the media and by the DSCF we are perhaps understandably a little past being cool about the discussion.

    I hope that once you have read more about home education, met home educators face to face and really thought about the needs of our children you will realise, as MPs and other Lords have before you, that you cannot find any evidence for the need to pass this bill.

    I would urge you to view the Select Committee evidence from 19th January 2010 which can be found here http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=5645

  5. Sharon
    22/02/2010 at 8:06 am

    Lord Soley, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that it is becoming increasingly difficult for home educators to keep a cool head. The government has consistently tried to interfere with home education for the last five years, this last year has been perticularly bad. Not only have we had to continue with educating our children but we have had to try to educate MPs, Lords etc. Unfortunately, some people just aren’t receptive to learning the truth about home education, they just continue to wear blinkers and dig away at us. We have also had to educate ourselves further on legal matters and also on the ways of parliament. We didn’t ask for any of this government interference (nor do we want it), we just want to be left alone to continue to provide the best possible start in life for our children.

  6. Sharon
    22/02/2010 at 8:19 am

    Sorry, I meant *particularly* bad (my excuse is that it’s still quite early!)

  7. Dave H
    22/02/2010 at 8:33 am

    Most of the hotter heads have been banging themselves on the solid walls around DCSF, who keep parroting the same line, and pretty much have done so since the start of the sorry saga. I’m afraid you got off to a bad start because you managed to come up with all the standard misconceptions about home education.

    If you considered that your children were under threat, wouldn’t you be standing up and prepared to fight for them? That’s what has happened here, people see what you wrote and you get categorised as part of the problem. I prefer to meet perceived ignorance of the subject with an attempt at education, which is why I hope you will attend the APPG meeting. I’m happy to have private discussions with you or any other member of the Lords who wants to find out more about what really happens, rather than the well-spun, sanitised stuff that comes from Planet DCSF. I’m planning on bringing my family up on the day of the meeting to have a look around Parliament – I have to admit I’ve driven past but never been inside, so it’s an education for me as well.

    On the Iran subject, yes they are far worse off than us, because no matter what the people want, the government does as it pleases. However, we are getting a taste of that because the ministers in charge have so far ignored an overwhelming response against what they’re going to do and are continuing with their intentions. It’s even written explicitly into the legislation that failure to cooperate (and what a wide definition of ‘cooperation’ that is) is a reason why they may revoke the right to home educate. No mention of what’s best for the child, it’s simply “do as we say or else”.

    Perhaps you can see why some people are getting aggressive – they see their families being threatened and it’s been going on for most of a year now.

  8. Gareth Howell
    22/02/2010 at 9:36 am

    Both Oz/NZ and Iran have political theocracies of one sort or another, the ones in the antipodes theocracies organized by the government of the UK way back in the 19thC and functioning as such even today.

    I agree entirely with Clive, Lord Soley, that
    a less drastically right wing democracy should be supported in Iran by the UK government, and by ourselves.

    I do not believe that the UK government/FO should sponsor unrest in a country where Democratic elections of one sort or another had just had their results declared. The Facebook/Twitter campaign was sinister in the extreme, but then so was the banking crisis in Estonia organized by a 16 year old Russian school boy.

    Let us look forward politically to the future
    of Iran, hoping that it will be ale to elect a more moderate centre, or left party, before long.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury is the number five or is it number six leader of the UK, and has a particular political role to play after wars, and things; “is it a just war; was it a just war” and so on.

    The difference between the political structure of the UK and that of Iran in the rights of its religious leaders is that the Ayatollahs are the Supreme Leaders; two of them at the moment.

    In the UK, the Archbishop is not a supreme leader. He is a little lower down the pecking order.

    In Australia until recently, (an embarrassing moment at the beginning of the Iraq war to discover that the supreme leader was a clergyman appointed by the Crown) the supreme leader was a clergyman.

    I object to BOTH and ALL religious theocracies, in what are otherwise modern Nations State. I agree with Clive, but I think that we should put the Oz/NZ house in order before attempting to tumble those of a
    religion and faith entirely alien to our own, albeit theirs with a cultural history of 4000 years maturity.

    The HofL IS into the business of religion; if Lord Soley were still in his former important incarnation in the other place he would have a better axe to grind, Sword to wield, pen to apply, camera to use, with regard to the modern state of Iran.

    It is, at least not a Kingdom of a small part of Iran, known as Persia. A kingdom is only a little less reactionary than a theocracy, I am sure he will agree.

    The future of Iran lies with Central Asia as a supranational political entity from the edge of the Aegean to the Uighur Chinese border, including Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

    The USA/EU/NATO/INDI/RF all have a great interest
    in the future of these countries as an international grouping and power.

    We should do our best to support them in their ambitions to represent themselves on the world stage, so as to include the acronym
    ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization), amongst the list of international governments highlighted above.

    I am interested by the Argentinian threast agaonst the UK possession, knowing full well, as they do that sending a navy to the Falklands again would be well beyond the scope of the British govt.

    There is ,or was, a Euronewss press report giving the real opinion of the South American leaders, by the President of Ecuador, of the hypocrisy of the British and other EU state governments about Central Asia, including Iran, Afgh and Pakistan.

    I COMPLETELY concur with His Excellency’s opinion, and that of the Kirschers on the subject!

    Sometimes Clive, you have got to laugh!

  9. Ria
    22/02/2010 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for taking the time to read the comments on the issue of Home Education.

    I for one am very appreciative of any time taken to further ones own education on this topic.

    Perhaps it is worth remembering that, while aggressive and hot headed comments may be unnecessary, this is an issue of passion.

    Home educators have an awful lot to lose here, and much like a mother in the animal world will defend her children to the death, parents who accept their responsibility and feel the weight of it daily in very real ways, may sometimes react the same.

    And while debate is best engaged in with a cool head and well thought out words, one might take a look at why people reacted so.

    Time maybe to look to the verbally uneducated log that was in your own eye, before pointing out the fierce and passionate speck in others?

    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

  10. Carl.H
    22/02/2010 at 9:53 am

    My Lord as far as I am aware Iran is a democracy, a unicameral body Governs.

    Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979 when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so.In December 1979, the country approved a theocratic constitution.

    Although accusations were made of vote rigging in 2009 nothing has been proven, though plenty have doubts.The European Union said it was “concerned about alleged irregularities”.

    Demonstrations by Mousavi supporters were SAID to have been met by brutal reaction. I have heard similar about our police forces regarding demonstrations and those of many others.

    If one is looking for regimes to oppose because of repression of peoples then one also has to look to regions of China, Zimbabwe and a few more African Nations.

    What it appears you are doing is asking for the type of support Catholics in Belfast had from America in the 70-80`s.

    More importantly at this present time you are asking the British people to act in aggressive manner toward a Nation and it`s legitimate Government on very flimsy evidence of wrongdoing toward it`s own people based entirely on European culture and “concerns” over an election.

    I am not saying Iran is correct and all is well but neither am I saying that your points are.

    Britain has been a democracy for many years, yet our repression of peoples and dictates are well documented. America within living history has only just freed the blackman. I don`t think the moral highground is ours yet.

    Do not get me wrong, I think Iran is a threat to peace and stability in the region but in itself is a reasonably stable country.

    Amnesty International stated in June 2009 after demostrations that upto 10 people died, they stated Security forces
    violently handled protesters exercising their right to demonstrate and express their views. Similar calls have been made against our Police.



    Dealing with demonstrations is not an easy task and people do get hurt. When the Police force is far outnumbered by protesters yet still have to be in control there are limited tactics one can use.

    I do not live in a dictatorship, nor as far as I`m aware was Seven Kings or any part of Ilford ever under the rule of one. I`m sure my Lord refers to people he spoken with and atrocities have been alleged but have they also not been alleged against Britain ? Complicity in torture, Amnesty report of 37 deaths that are disputed in Iraq etc.

    I don`t like your regime is not enough evidence to go warmongering with.

    Of course I may not know all the facts or have got them wrong but this is how I see things at present.

  11. Naomi
    22/02/2010 at 12:03 pm

    I am very sorry that you seemed to have percieved the passionate replies on your “Home Education” and ” Home Education ,Round Two” posts as aggressive.

    ( Although by using the “Round Two” *ding *ding title it kind of set the atmosphere for a fight)

    I think you will agree that all loving parents naturally have the right to feel strongly about something that will badly affect their children’s happiness, health and education.
    Home educators have had a year of battling to be heard , only to be ignored .

    Our voices , our views and those of our children seem unimportant. Yet it is us that will be affected by this new draconian legislation.

    It is extremely frustrating to have to continually defend yourself against every Tom ,Dick and Harry, who has an opinion on something they have little or no experience of.

    I do so hope that our passion for this subject will not distract you from learning more about exactly what we have been through and how we have been treated over the past year.

    The government has been incredibly unkind and unfriendly to the thousands of home educating families it plans to licence and monitor.
    Families who are trying to do the very best for their children, often where the state has failed.

    We do so for the love of our children and yet have been treated en mass as potential abusers.

    It has been incredibly disheartening and upsetting to be treated this way.

    I sincerely hope you can understand that.

  12. 22/02/2010 at 1:13 pm

    Whereas I agree that aggression doesn’t help, I understand where that aggression originates. It also seems unfair to say that when pathos is used in the form of statements like “if it saves one child…” and references to cases of child abuse. We could remove the pathos from our rhetoric. So could you.

    • Dave H
      22/02/2010 at 5:16 pm

      The trouble is that in possibly saving that one child that might be found by inspections, you are ignoring the several that might commit suicide if they thought they’d be forced back to school.

      Of course, “if it saves more lives than not doing it” isn’t nearly so catchy a slogan, but highlights that it’s not that simple.

      • lizardyoga
        23/02/2010 at 9:31 pm

        Absolutely. To me, this is a classic example of extreme cases making bad law.

  13. Jem
    22/02/2010 at 2:16 pm

    What you see as aggression in comments, I would read as the passionate expression of forthright views from people who are tired of repeatedly having to justify how they exercise their legal choice and moral duty. As has been said, this debate which you have just come to has been going on for at least 5 years in one form or another. Some of us remember the sneaky way regulation was attempted through statutory instruments a few years ago in order to avoid any democratic debate over this obviously controversial subject.

    We must also take into account the way, criticised by many including the Select Committee, in which the Badman Review was introduced and carried out, and its continuing impact. Despite the DCSF repeating ad nauseam that the Report is “all about education”, the banner headlines of the time – taken from the DCSF’s own press releases – proclaimed that Home Education may be a cover for abuse. The Review found no indication, by its own admission, that it was being used as such:

    “… I can find no evidence that elective home education is a particular factor in the removal of children to forced marriage, servitude or trafficking, or for inappropriate abusive activities.” (Sec. 8.14)

    And yet this phrase still persists in emerging from the lips, pens and keyboards of regulationists. Apart from the impossibility of negative proof (which is the basis of the English law requiring proof of guilt, not proof of innocence), it seems that whosoever says there is no evidence that this is so, someone new will pop up and say, “Ah! but it might be!” Perhaps you won’t understand why home educators are angry if you believe in the empty, palliative words: ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’. I however can see nothing but the same brick walls that I have been banging my head against for years. To paraphrase a fellow libertarian, you cannot find and prosecute the guilty by persecuting the innocent.

    There has also been a tendency for regulationists to respond to criticism by re-stating their objections to Home Education rather than by talking to the points raised by their critics. This is quite a common political tool, and gives the appearance of a person following their unbending personal opinion or some peremptory ideology.

    Merely saying “I am not convinced by your arguments” is not helpful or sufficient. It is much better to give reasons why one remains unconvinced. That way we can all see what lies behind the difference of opinion and debate around it. Unfortunately the DCSF, various government ministers, and yes, certain members of the House of Lords have an unfortunate habit of repetition that gets as wearing as it seems imperious.

  14. Outraged of Swindon
    22/02/2010 at 2:44 pm

    Personally, I think it’s ridiculous when a system has monumentally failed so many children that the denizens of that system should be allowed and, not just allowed but empowered by the Secretary of State, to come into home educators’ houses and inspect them for child abuse oh, no, standard of education… Or whatever the excuse is this week.

    The government plainly means to wipe out home education and that cost of that, if it happens, will be children’s lives. What do you do if you’re bullied beyond belief in school, are taken out by your parents and shoved back in by unthinking, uncaring bureaucrats (who patently don’t give a damn)?
    Where does a child who has had enough of the negative socialisation go then?

    What do they do then?

    They might well end their lives. And that will be Mr. Secretary’s fault, and all the people who think it right to vote on a set of ill-advised recommendations based on lying statistics.

    You would be up in arms about THAT in court if one of your family members was framed by lying evidence, wouldn’t you?

    All of the system would be against it. But, as it’s just a minority group with no legal protection, it’s OK to stomp all over home educators’ rights (and their children’s)

    If home educators are a little bit testy now perhaps you could understand why by putting yourself in their shoes.

    They been called child abusers, mothers with Munchausen’s by Proxy, women who keep their kids at home to be domestic servants, parents who want to marry fifteen year old daughters off to strangers from other countries, and raisers of Islamic terrorists!

    It gets a little bit annoying. If I slandered you now, Lord Soley, you could sue me. Home educators have been slandered, libelled and defamed for years and, as far as we know, we have no redress.

    One gets a bit ticked off after enduring a campaign like that.

    Added to all of the slander, libel and defamation of parents just trying to do their best for their beloved children, you may want to think that WE get no funding, no privileges from the state and may have to seek work, be in work, run businesses around educating our children. There is no support planned in the CSF Bill, only money for ‘monitoring’ and ensuring conformity to the already massively failing school system.

    So, you’re darn tootin’, I – a home educator who cares more about my children than to sling them into some failing pothole of a local school while I go off pleasing myself – am seething with rage.

  15. Jem
    22/02/2010 at 6:51 pm

    So what has the government done for us?

    – Ever increasing numbers of children placed into social care; up 36% year on year in 2008-9

    – The highest proportion of children living in workless households anywhere in Europe

    – The lowest level of social mobility in the developed world

    – The only G7 country with no growth this year

    – One in six young people neither earning nor learning

    – 5 million people on out-of-work benefits

    – Missing the target of halving child poverty

    – Child poverty in fact rising in each of the last three years instead

    – Falling from 8th to 24th in the world education rankings in maths

    – Falling from 7th to 17th in the rankings in literacy

    – One of the highest rates of family breakdown in Europe

    – The only Prime Minister ever to have to defend himself against accusations of temper tantrums and the bullying of his own staff

    Hmmmm…. Is this really the sort of government who should be telling us how to raise our children?

    No. Thought not.

  16. Bedd Gelert
    22/02/2010 at 7:05 pm

    “So, you’re darn tootin’, [Outraged of Swindon] – a home educator who cares more about my children than to sling them into some failing pothole of a local school while I go off pleasing myself – am seething with rage.”

    Isn’t this the real issue for discussion here – why there is such a toleration of falling standards of behaviour and discipline as well as educational standards in state schools, that there is a huge ‘pull factor’ towards home education ?

    If it were not broken, people would not be trying to fix it. I suspect that people do not ‘home educate’ because it is of benefit to their health, although I concede a small proportion would want to do it ‘come what may’.

    As a small point to illustrate, if parents want their children to have grammar and spelling corrected, rather than being seen as ‘free expression’ or, more understandably, not relevant to Physics homework, shouldn’t their feedback, input and preference be paramount ?

    Or are most parents so ‘laissez-faire’ and with such differing views on morals, ethics and religion that parental views must now be subordinated to the state lest chaos reign?

    • Outraged of Swindon
      24/02/2010 at 9:00 pm

      Well, considering that we use the autonomous education method which is where a child or young person determines what they want to learn, I’m afraid I disagree with you. If I had my time over again, I would not choose to go to school – it just wasted precious learning time for me – nor would I send my children to school to be brutalised by the local bullies.

      School is mere warehousing and exists to coerce young folk and to produce people who don’t understand that they do not have to purchase the latest and newest of every piece of rubbish.

      Home educating is the best thing we’ve ever done. Our children understand more of the real world than any child ever can banged up in prison every day. The world is their educational provision. They choose their own subjects, and that means they study more and harder and learn more of what they are interested in.

      But are there any famous home educators?

      Why, yes, there are. If fame is what rings your bells then check out this list:

      Ben Franklin? Home educated. Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Home educated. Charles Dickens? Yup. Noel Coward? Beatrix Potter? Claude Monet? All home educated. Alexander Graham Bell? Yes. Frank Lloyd Wright? Surely. Leonardo Da Vinci? Oh, yes. Yehudi Menuhin, Mozart? Yes, they were.

      The list goes on and on.

      We shouldn’t have to prove our education is superior. We are parents and have a duty to educate. If we decide to delegate that duty to schools, that’s our business. If we take it on ourselves, that’s our business too. Just don’t ask me, as a home educator, to restrict my children to the National Curriculum – it’s too narrow and slender to sustain their interest. They’ve got the whole of human learning to wallow in. Why should they settle for a few inches of a paddling pool?

  17. Alison Tindale
    22/02/2010 at 8:12 pm

    Dear Lord Soley,
    It is very heartening to hear that you have been carefully reading the comments and intend to do more background reading – this is a complex issue which is of urgent concern to home-educators but which involves basic principles which affect everyone. As you consider taking part in the debate please take into consideration the view that “hard cases make bad law” (in this situation it should really read “hard imagined cases make bad law”). It is worth asking the question whether or not the proposed legislation will do anything to prevent the horror behind the headline you imagined in your previous blog and whether it might deflect resources away from effective child protection. Please also be wary of the motives of people who talk of the child’s right to a “voice” about their own education (quite right in my view) but who have not given any thought to how a child in school might be given a voice.

  18. Jenny
    22/02/2010 at 8:20 pm

    Dear Baroness Deech and Lord Soley,

    Thank you for your engagement in this matter, however it is regrettable that the two of you remain either unconvinced or concerned that home education continues to be unregulated. Unfortunately your lack of flexibility in this regard is not surprising and undoubtedly you both will remain steadfast in your position despite the overwhelming arguments to the contrary.

    Alas I must confess that to put your minds at ease is simply impossible. Nothing can be said to defeat the dreaded ‘what if’. Nothing submitted can provide you and your like minded colleagues with a guarantee that no child educated outside the states direct or indirect influence will go uneducated or unharmed.

    No matter how may thousands of functionally illiterate children the state schools produce or the thousands of children Social Services allow to fester or slip through their ‘nets of safety’ each year, you will always be draw to highlight the inescapable reality that one day, one ‘home educated’ child will end up stupid, enslaved or dead in the basement of a madman’s home. This and the fact that some parents have the audacity to believe they themselves more capable than the state when it involves educating their children, is enough to make your skin crawl and reasoned justification to place further restrictions on our already dwindling freedoms.

    Instead of looking in the mirror and making radical reforms to this country’s educational institutions you slander a minority, hide behind a statistical insignificance and utilize the phrases “if it saves just one child” or “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.

    Perhaps I’m too cynical but I believe many people in this country would agree with your position (see follow on list). Products of a cultural pedagogy which celebrates consumerism, celebrity culture, instantaneous gratification, violence, fear, money and outsourcing child rearing has taken its toll. People today have forgotten how or perhaps lost the ability to think critically and as such, appear willing to blindly hand over their precious freedoms for the illusion of increased security.

    The CSF Bill, no mater the intent, is destructive and must be stopped. I urge the both of you to reconsider your positions once more, taking the time to reread many of these posts. The decision to rescind our freedoms should not be taken because you have concerns or feel uneasy but only as a last resort when overwhelming unbiased evidence demonstrates the need. At present you have only gut feelings and unfounded fear.



    List below…

    This is a composite of all the negative comments people logged on a BBC site when asked to give their views on the creation of a home education registration system. To be sure, these comments tell us that many adults no very little about education in general, even less about home education and absolutely nothing about the law surrounding home education. In addition these comments show just how damaging Baroness Morgan’s outrageous comments were to home education.

    Why home educated children should be registered:
    To make sure children are truly alive and well and at home.
    To protect children from parents who what to hide them from the authorities for whatever reason.
    It is in the children’s interest.
    For the sake of the children.
    Why not?
    What difference will it make either way?
    It sounds like a good idea in principle.
    Parents should be accountable.
    Because the LEAs need to know that parents are home educating.
    To ensure these children are not simply truant with their parent’s consent.
    So parents who don’t care about there children don’t use home school as an excuse.
    To prevent the abuse of too many children.
    To help the authorities spot abuse.
    To prevent abuse.
    To make sure there is no abuse.
    To close the loopholes which prevent access to children in general.
    To ensure every child has a right to a good education.
    To help support home educators.
    To maintain educational standards.
    To ensure that children do not “drop out of site”
    It’s common sense really.
    To ensure they are not merely being kept off school.
    Because I think it is right.
    To protect the few children who suffer.
    To prevent Chaves from home educating.
    To facilitate the better distribution of materials and supplies.
    Because a register affirms home education is legitimate.
    To prevent another Baby P, Victoria Climbie, etc.
    To get these parents off their moral high horse.
    To control & monitor this worrying trend.
    To make sure the child is known and remains happy.

    HE Parent Characteristics:
    Not capable of covering all aspects of the curriculum
    Not capable of actually teaching
    Limit their child’s futures
    Do not allow interaction with other children
    Can’t teach
    Too arrogant
    Self obsessed
    Care only about themselves
    Think that they know best when it comes to their children’s education
    Discourage social and personal development
    Don’t have the education to teach their kids!
    Had personal and educational issues in their early lives
    Choose to inflict personal issues on their offspring by keeping them out of school.
    Least qualified
    Least competent to instil values
    Least competent to educate their own children
    Are child abusers
    Prevent science education to preserve religious dogma
    Middle class snobs
    Have an amateur knowledge of how kids should be taught
    Dysfunctional lunatics
    Middle class elitists
    Child hiders
    Think they are a cut above the rest
    Think they can do better than those trained to teach
    Self serving
    Religious nutters
    Narrow minded

    HE Children Characteristics:
    Are not in the real world
    Will be unable to cope in 21st century society
    Child is barred from advanced education like university/medical school etc.
    Do not get classroom interaction and interactions with other children their same age.
    Miss out on education
    Do not have the advantage of having properly trained teachers to educate them
    Kids are harmed
    Deprived of their right to a decent education
    Truants wandering our streets
    Won’t get use to being around other children
    Isolated and stunted both socially and academically
    Deprived of social and cultural diversity
    Unable to deal with the rough and tumble of everyday life
    Miniature adults with views beyond their years
    Tomorrows liability
    Not able to socialise with people from different backgrounds
    Dysfunctional adults in the making
    Hidden from society
    Minds filled with lies
    Live under the regime of a closed environment

    Why home educators should be monitored/inspected/regulated
    Because no one knows the exact numbers in home education.
    To check on the child’s education.
    For the protection of children, let us poke our noses in and see what is going on!
    We have all read about the other sort [of home educator].
    To monitor there welfare and progression.
    You would not trust a school that refused to be inspected so why should a home-school be closed to criticism.
    So the children will know who to blame for their inabilities.
    To ensure curriculum and safety needs are being met.
    Because withholding a child’s access to education is a form of abuse.
    Because the vast majority of home educators must be terrible.
    Children could be abused.
    To verify that they are receiving an education and not being used as child labour in a sweat shop or whatever other horrors the authorities might dream up to justify their interventions.
    To ensure the children reach a certain standard and that their welfare is in order.
    For the sake of the child.
    To help and advise the home educating parent.
    To ensure their children are being taught is in line with the National Curriculum and meets quality standards.
    To maintain standards so they can get qualifications and a job.
    To ensure the proper standards are met.
    Children could loos out for life if not educated properly.
    To confirm the children were receiving the correct level of education.
    To ensure that they are being given an adequate education.
    To ensure that children are not being exploited.
    To ensure Afghani girls are educated properly and not abused.
    Because some home educators could used their power to raise suicide bombers.
    To ensure every child has the right to a good non-sectarian education.
    To ensure they are following a recognised and approved syllabus.
    To ensure against abuse at home.
    To protect them from growing illiterate.
    To protect our children.
    To make sure the children are happy with the education they are receiving.
    To protect against shoddy, insufficient or inappropriate teaching.
    To check for appropriate levels of education and care.

    Other thoughts:
    Regulate home schooling or abolish it altogether.
    Should have lessons plans etc.
    Parents should take a test or attend an annual lecture/course to obtain the skills needed to teach.
    How can you teach your kids without any qualifications?
    A significant percentage of these cases are where parents are hiding abuse or using it as an opportunity to fill their child’s mind with their own narrow minded views on religion etc.
    Education is enabling you to grow as a person and you won’t do that stuck at home with yr Mom!
    There is no way any parent is able to teach Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, French or German, etc, etc. at least to GCSE and probably A level.
    Should follow the same basic curriculum as in school, with tests to make sure they are actually learning.
    The social benefits of going to school far outweigh any justification to educate at home.
    They need to maintain a record of time spent on education and regular tests to ensure children are keeping up with the curriculum.
    Both the parents and the state are responsible for the education of children.
    If you have nothing to hide then let the inspectors in.
    If schools are inspected then home educators must be inspected.
    Children should be immediately removed from parents who use the word “evidence” as if it were a transitive verb.
    There is no reason to home educate when there is a perfectly good education system in this country.
    I would never support home education.
    Parents should undergo checks and inspections just like everybody else who works with or educates children.
    Home education could be used to keep children hidden away to cover up abuse.
    I can’t imagine why anyone would oppose a bit of extra care towards the well being of children in this country.
    I think parents should expect some monitoring/interference from the state.
    The fact is 80% of kids being taught at home are being taught at home because they’ve been expelled from school and typically these are dysfunctional families.
    Should not be permitted unless the parents are educated to degree level.
    If parents want to take responsibility to educate their own children, they need to demonstrate their ability of provision is comparable to the state.
    Any who seek to home school their children should have to undergo rigorous testing to assure their competence in education.
    Parents should have some qualifications to home educate.
    Have those who are home schooled examined on the core subjects (English, Maths, Science, History, Geography) and if they pass then there’s no need for added state intrusion.
    Home schooling is just a cop-out and fails to provide the child with the skills needed to cope in the real world.
    Children’s education is not just the parents’ business but all of societies.
    This is a threat for equality; the children should be educated together.
    If you’ve got nothing to hide you shouldn’t have a problem with it.
    All educational syllabi and all home educating parents should be tested and supervised by Joint University Boards of Education
    They need to sit the same examinations as their peers so that they will not be disadvantaged.
    No wonder you’d be against someone checking on how the home schooling is going, you’re a bunch of child abusers.
    Parents wanting to educate their children should be thoroughly vetted as a minimum.
    Apart from the super rich I have suspicions to what these people are teaching their kids.

  19. Carl.H
    23/02/2010 at 11:59 am

    Can I just take the time to ask the home ed`ers to calm down a little. Baroness Deech and Lord Soley had no need to post this subject, nor do they need to read your posts but I`m sure they do. Accusing them of unwillingness to change opinion or of blindly following Badman, is I feel unfair and not helping the debate.

    In another thread I have put forward all FOIA on child abuse showing that Home Ed is well below the National average, I have put forward the expert memorandum to Parliament showing Badman ignored vast quantities of professional scientific study by experts. I have shown my personal frustration with the state school system in a factual case where I very nearly became a home edder myself and I have shown that state schooling does not necessarily make for good education or children/teenagers that good parents would want their children mixing with. I have tried to show that bullying in state schools has escalated out of control.

    What the case needs is firm evidence to go forward, we are asking the Lords to go against the Government WE elected.

    I feel what we are missing in terms of evidence is that home educated children go on to be wholesome parts of society, that they aquire good careers that make them happy and that society is better for them. I personally can`t supply such evidence but feel it would help in this instance.

    The evidence so far:

    Child abuse :
    National Average 1.30%
    Home Education 0.31%


    DR. Alan Thomas & Harriet Pattersons memorandum to Parliament


    My own evidence that state schools are badly run. Emails to DCSF etc.,

    My personal evidence of bullying that is prevelantt in state schools, spilling into homes via the internet.


    I feel the case will be stronger if evidence is put, not only of the safety of the children but of the level of education and being able to show that what is produced by home edders are far better people that maintain a place in society above the average state school leaver, as I believe they do.

    What is needed is firm evidence not the squabbling we see daily in the House of Commons. I realise that for Home Ed`ers everything is at stake right now and that this legislation could possibly ruin thousands of lives. All I can ask is that you put your case in a way that puts forward why the Lords should go against the elected Government without the need for the anger or resentment against two people who have kindly allowed this debate to take place.

    I apologise if this causes offence, it isn`t meant.

    • roadslesstravelled
      11/03/2010 at 11:10 pm

      I watched Soley and Deech’s address to the House of Lords on Monday night just past.

      And to be fair in retrospect, while your intentions where good Carl, watching their addresses did nothing to quell our fears as home educators.

      In fact it became apparent that neither had any kind of ‘real’ grasp of home education, but rather preferred to rest on the laurels of their ill informed opinions and bigotry.

      I appreciate you having the decency to stand up for someone you feel is being treated unfairly, but having watched the address, I think you might be batting for the wrong team.

  20. Dave H
    23/02/2010 at 12:17 pm

    Go look at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/nsdu/downloads/birmingham-event-05-feb.pdf for the sort of thing we have to put up with, page 43.

    The state seems to think that if it can stick that label on for long enough, they’ll be able to invoke special measures on all home educators because of the label. The only thing to which we and our children are vulnerable is a police/nanny state such as the one the government are attempting to impose on us.

  21. Bedd Gelert
    23/02/2010 at 12:41 pm

    This is another ‘hot topic’ which I feel needs to be discussed. The law on libel is a travesty, but things are starting to move in the right direction, albeit at a glacial pace.


    But for every two steps forward we take, there is a step back because of things like privacy law from Europe. Very worrying.

  22. Carl.H
    23/02/2010 at 1:18 pm

    This morning Gordon Brown and the Government announced planned changes to state education giving parents more power.

    Quote “As a parent I want the best for my children. And I know all of us do. We want them to have better chances than we had. And that starts with education.

    “So it’s understandable that parents will go to great lengths to give their children the best possible start in life. Because what they want for their children is exactly what I want for my children.”


    The proposals appear to show that there are indeed problems with state schools, that parents believe children are suffering and at present are unable to do anything.

    Mr Ed Balls said

    “If your local schools are not doing well enough, and if you are dissatisfied with the progress your local school is making, you will be able to demand change and get a new and quality-guaranteed provider.”

    At present this is only a proposal but it clearly shows Government acknowledgement of problems. The opposition too has plans acknowleging a problem.

    I ask is this the right time to put forward a bill where no evidence is put forward that Home Education has problems yet all evidence points to problems in State Education?

  23. 23/02/2010 at 1:56 pm

    The state should need a warrant to enter the home. End of story.

  24. sally
    23/02/2010 at 2:34 pm

    I think it is a significant step forward that you will go to the meeting. Good news. Maybe the Baroness will go too. I hope you find it useful.

  25. chelostar
    23/02/2010 at 3:37 pm

    Hello, Not sure what happened to my earlier post? I cannot find it here. Carl H, I do not think that there is resentment towards Baroness Deech and Lord Soley. It is appreciated that there is this forum to share our views. This one of many places where home educators have been invited to share their views and demonstrate their passion and commitment to home educating their (our) children. Home education is something that we feel passionate about, otherwise we would not have made the choice to do so. Of course we are passionate and strong in our views. More so, because we have presented strong evidence that the Badman Report was based on fiction and not fact. We have lobbied, educated those who do not know about home education and much, much more in a balanced and well documented effort to have our views listened to and our rights upheld. No-one it seems is listening!

  26. Gareth Howell
    23/02/2010 at 3:49 pm

    “That is why we should be clear about giving moral support to the opposition in Iran.”

    It is a bit rich for a whipper in of the Iraq war, which has provided so much strength to the elbow of Iran, then to complain that we should do something about Iran!

    The question of Morals “Idealism and Realism”
    has been addressed in a recent Foreign Affairs series of 3 by Sir Christopher Mayer.
    Lord Douglas Hurd’s amalgam of the two, philosophy is the best one of course.

    You have got to be realistic in day to day foreign policy, but you also have to have the
    distant view of the mountains, the ideal world so far away, across the plain of reality (my words)…

    Think big re Iran and Central Asia and you will get some small rewards; otherwise you will get none. ecosecretariat

  27. Mary
    23/02/2010 at 6:21 pm

    reasons to vote against the HE parts of the CSF bill:

    – they are disproportionate (an awful lot of undefined power to be handed to the secretary of state for education, an awful lot of intrusion and fear and damage to educational provision in order to jump through hoops, to solve a perceived problem so small that Graham Stuart had to do a remedial maths lesson for the DCSF team in the committee hearing. You’ll have heard about this – a spot of double counting of proposed benefits. Oops)

    – they are uncosted (the impact assessment, as you know, is a complete fiction. Again, read Graham Stuart at the amendment committee)

    – they are discriminatory (against home educators in general, against autonomous home educators in particular, also – and tragically – against children with SEN and particularly those on the spectrum, for whom the proposed system of licensing and monitoring will be completely impossible)

    – inconsistent: state schools do not endure annual inspections, despite being answerable to the taxpayer; children in state schools are not interviewed alone by ofsted inspectors.

    – inconsistent: rather than judging the educational provision, the new law would mean that the LA judged the educational take-up by the child – this does not happen in schools.

    – ineffective: the hypothetical child abusers, child traffickers, domestic servituders, deny-them-an-education-ers will simply move to a new LA and not apply for a license. They have nothing to lose. Those who will lose are the law-abiding with the wrong accent or the wrong religion or the wrong family dynamic.

    It might well be that some change to the law or to LA practices is necessary in order to allay anxiety about this (mythical?) tiny minority of putative home educators actually damaging their children. But first, the DCSF needs to explain clearly why the current law is not fit for purpose – LAs already have power to act if there are either welfare or education concerns. They already have power to make enquiries about the education being provided and, if not satisfied, to go to court. What, precisely, is broken here? We should have had clear answers to that before Ed Balls and his team drafted a new law.

    There are no benefits whatsoever to the HE community. There is going to be mass civil disobedience.

    If I have an autistic child who simply cannot cope with the intrusion of strangers into his home, then I have a legal and ethical duty to protect him from some hostile LA staffer or agency worker. I’ll send in the sworn affadavit of our private Greenspan Floortime therapist that he’s well cared for, I’ll provide evidence that he’s learning, and that I am providing opportunities and support for developing social skills, but I cannot and will not traumatise the child by putting him through the State’s hoops. The drafted legislation directly opposes our parental duty of care, and we cannot comply with it.

    I really don’t think the DCSF had any idea of what they were unleashing when they started attacking Home Educators. We are mammals, protecting our young – our deepest, most primal instinct, and an instinct which, as parents of children previously bullied, ostracised, marginalised in school, we have allowed ourselves to listen to and act on.

  28. Mary
    23/02/2010 at 6:41 pm

    “I feel what we are missing in terms of evidence is that home educated children go on to be wholesome parts of society, that they aquire good careers that make them happy and that society is better for them.”

    Thing is, they are busy leading perfectly productive adult lives… so we don’t have stats for them. There are plenty of stats in north America – HE outperforms school on every measure – but the DCSF doesn’t want to know about that…

    We shouldn’t have to prove we provide a BETTER education, just one suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of the child, and any SEN they may have. The thing is that we aren’t measuring like with like. Schools are measured on whether they provide an education, regardless of whether or not the pupils as individuals _receive_ it; you are asking us to provide evidence about what our children _achieve_ as individuals. My child is learning at absolute optimum under the 1996 education act – it’s 1:1, child led, completely tailored to the child’s interests and ability. But I can’t produce a plan, and I often can’t produce any kind of educational product, since practising writing on steamed up windows is transient, a conversation at the zoo about snakes is unrecorded, learning to read is happening gradually over time with sudden phase shifts as the child processes a new bit of the jigsaw, not with a tick list.

    You’re never going to get the neat little stats about HEers because we tend to think in terms of the individual’s optimum trajectory rather than how they compare with their age group. What’s the point in preening because she’s on fractions early? Just got to get on with satisfying the desire for fractions. What’s the point in agonising because he’s not ready to read yet? Just got to get on with finding ways to help him access information, help him on the journey to literacy at his own pace in his own way. I’ll be happy if my children’s educational outcomes are optimal for them. Not “good enough” on some sort of national average, but optimal for them.

  29. Concerned Home Edder
    23/02/2010 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you Lord Solely for looking at the comments and into the matter further. This is what we wanted you to do.
    I agree with much of what the other Home Edders have said here. We may seem aggressive because we have been treated very badly (and that’s putting it mildly) by the DCSF for a long time. Yet we have nothing to hide, have done nothing wrong. But because we choose to be different, we are persecuted for it.

  30. Dave H
    23/02/2010 at 9:39 pm

    Here we go – the CSF Bill is in the final 30 minutes of its Commons Report stage and home education has not yet been debated. I hope the Lords will take the time needed to do a proper job of debating each clause and addressing the concerns of home educators.

    Of course, there has been insufficient time spent discussing many other parts of the Bill, highlighted by some speakers this evening, so I would hope that the Lords will examine those parts in depth as well and address the concerns raised that generated Commons amendments.

  31. Bedd Gelert
    23/02/2010 at 11:33 pm

    Can I just say, even though I’m not a Roman Catholic, I do think the DCSF are being very high handed in their approach to sex education.

    They are between a rock and a hard place with rates of teenage pregnancy rising, but I’m not sure imposing their will compulsorily on the schools is going to achieve anything. It seems a feature of this administration that they think improving behaviour or winning hearts and minds can be done solely by legislation.

    Life is rather more complicated than that.

    • Gareth Howell
      24/02/2010 at 3:37 pm

      One country GP was heard to say that the most enjoyable part of his surgery was the teenage mothers, so I have often wondered why old women are against it, presumably having been through that phase of life themselves.

  32. Gareth Howell
    24/02/2010 at 8:43 am

    If you live and work at home, or are schooled at home, you certainly have far more life to live!

    There’s more of it, every day.

  33. Common Lawyer
    25/02/2010 at 11:14 am

    My Lord,

    I have come to this debate late, but have the advantage of being a former home educated child, now an adult in the workforce. I was not home educated in this country, however I was one of the first to be home educated in my own homeland of New Zealand and kept up with home education in many parts of the world.

    My homeland has random but ‘on notice’ inspections of home educating children. These inspections always cause much stress among those notified of a visit (as indeed they do for schools as well) but are almost always positive in that they find the eduction taking place is of a high standard. It is very rare to have an inspection take a poor view of a family’s home education, and such a finding is usually followed up by a request from the inspector to the local home education support group to assist. Of course, if there is no change then the certificates of exemption from attendance at a school can be withdrawn, but this is even more rare than a poor finding from an inspection.

    The reason, of course, is that most people who home educate do not do so simply to get out of sending their child to school, but in fact to provide a better education than the schools are able to give them. I note Baroness Deech’s comments about the activities and opportunities available at a school, but I can comment that almost all of those opportunities are available outside of school. I myself took part in speech and drama, public speaking, numerous field trips (with support groups and families organising them), as well as sports activities and cultural opportunities. The issue was sometimes that I had too many home educating friends through the house, not too few!

    Home education is not something that parents undertake lightly, in my experience. They are aware of the potential for lost opportunities and go a long way to make up for it. However, one must also understand the reason for taking their children out of school in the first place and not make the mistake (as some early inspectors in NZ made) of expecting them to be ‘home schooled’, or simply transfer school habits to home. That is not what home education is about, and why we call now call it home education rather than home schooling.

    In NZ the standard for home education is ‘as regularly and as well as in a school’. With all due respect to the effort the schools make (often with one hand tied behind their backs, it seems) but that is not a high standard and almost all home educators exceed it by some distance. Something about having very small class sizes and a lot more teacher/pupil contact, I think.

    For what it is worth, I got by very well doing no more than 3 hours of school work a day, even in secondary school. If you want to add in my extra-curricular activities then you might say 4 hours a day. There is a problem that if you get a school inspector holding home educated families to a school standard then that would seem to not be good enough. However, if you work out how much time school pupils actually spend working in school, then it is more than enough!

    The answer, therefore, is not to have no inspections, but to have irregular inspections by inspectors who are aware of how home education works and can make a real assessment, not just a comparison with school.

    Interestingly, in NZ the government also gives home educators a sum of money each year. This is paid per child, but in a reducing amount as you get more children! I don’t know if that happens here.

    I finished home eduating many years ago, went to work and then travelled. After travelling, I returned home to university and now, some years later, possess an LL.M (hons) degree and consider myself a fairly successful barrister. I have put my practice on hold to come to the UK with my wife for a bit of travel. Ironically, part of my work here has involved prosecuting truancy cases, so I am not unaware of education issues in this country. While here, I have enjoyed catching up with a fellow Kiwi home educator who is currently finishing her Ph.D and who has recently started work as a lecturer in the employ of one of your higher ranked universities.

    I can say, with some justification therefore, that home education has the potential for consistent high outcomes IF it is given its head by the State. I don’t oppose inspection, but would impose the micro-management that some education authorities would seek to impose. With that, there is some authority in what Concerned Home Edder, above, says.

    And, for what it is worth, my wife and I do intend to home eduate our children.

    • Gareth Howell
      25/02/2010 at 4:56 pm

      Interestingly, in NZ the government also gives home educators a sum of money each year

      When I gave tuition to two twins in the early 80s the father was a humble linesman on the BR, with quite a low wage.

      I wrote to the Inspector of taxes with his permission and obtained refund for all the fees that I charged them, on his wage bill.

      That was enlightened taxation, I thought, so NZ are not the first to think of this but it is a very good idea indeed.

      You are not using the place provided, in a school, so why should you pay for it?

      Bills and receipts, for books and extra tutors, should be provided by the parents, to obtain the refund penny for penny.

  34. Dave H
    25/02/2010 at 3:23 pm

    Normally I consider the BBC do a fairly good job in maintaining a balanced view. However, their reporting of the Khyra Ishaq case looks like it was written by a DCSF minion. There’s a whole load of gratuitous and inaccurate information in their report, much of which is irrelevant to the case and it paints a bad but erroneous picture of home education.

    For avoidance of doubt – she was removed from school, but the parents did not inform the head teacher in writing, so she was technically absent from school wiothout permission. As such, it was not a home education matter but a pure school attendance/welfare matter that was screwed up by the authorities, with tragic results.

    All the Badman stuff is irrelevant, given the incompetence of the system, more laws would not have saved her because she was not unknown. We’ve already discussed the fact that Badman’s evidence was challenged in the Select Committee and is considered to be flawed.

    They also missed the important point that hard cases make bad laws.

    • Anastaisia
      25/02/2010 at 6:28 pm

      Not too mention the DCSF press release

      Which suprisingly places the blame firmly on Home Education. Which skims over the fact that Birmingham Children’s Services has been indentified as ‘not fit for purpose’. And neglects to mention that for at least the months of January to March (and no letter of deregistration was produced so perhaps for even longer) Khyra was a Child Missing Education and not home educated. Or that Social Services could have been granted a right of access to the children with a warrent at any time if they had engaged the proper child protection protocols when concerns were reported to them, instead of making a decision that there were no safeguarding issues.

  35. Dave H
    25/02/2010 at 6:54 pm

    This is the sort of hate campaign that the government is waging against home educators: Ed Balls being misleading:


    He’s obviously on a different planet, because social services had all the powers they needed, if only they had gotten around to using them. Perhaps someone in the Lords could ask Baroness Morgan how exactly the new powers would have saved her, and why, given the importance attached to children being seen by ‘responsible adults’, the abuse of the other children who were attending school wasn’t picked up.

    We don’t need new laws,we just need the state to learn to use the ones it has properly.

  36. Concerned Home Edder
    25/02/2010 at 7:56 pm

    Khyra was withdrawn from school, but she was not de-registered for months after. That means she was NOT Home Educated.
    Yet Ed Balls is claiming she was, so he can make it look like Home Educators are up to no good and we must be monitored.
    What happened was that Khyra was at risk BEFORE she was withdrawn from school, and she was let down by social services who had the law to back them up and let them visit her at any time. They could have placed her into care regardless of whether she was at school or not.
    This is the kind of prejudice we face just because we choose to be different.
    The simple fact of the matter is, even if she was being Home Educated, and not truant, social services should have acted on her behalf.

  37. Clive Soley
    25/02/2010 at 11:32 pm

    Sadly I have had two delete two comments. It is not acceptable to accuse people of lying particularly when it is a matter of opinion. I do know that this is an emotive topic but that is not an excuse for false accusations

    • Dave H
      25/02/2010 at 11:49 pm

      I was surprised they got through initial moderation, to be honest 🙂

      I’ll repeat the second part though, because I would like someone from the government to explain exactly how these proposed new powers would have saved Khyra, seeing as they appear to think that such powers would. Given the total failure of everything else, I doubt it. Perhaps you could ask Baroness Morgan?

      Evidence, evidence, evidence. Something that has been conspicuous by its absence from DCSF, replaced by spin, politics and a grim determination to register and control whatever the cost.

    • Tech
      26/02/2010 at 2:04 am

      Oh the bitter irony 🙁

    • Concerned Home Edder
      26/02/2010 at 8:35 am

      How can it be a false accusation when there is a press release on the DCSF website, and in a court of law it is stated the girl was still on the school register? I am very careful who I accuse of lying and only when there is evidence. Which there is. But perhaps you are defending him because you are a Labour peer. Never mind at least Twitter isn’t restricted like this.

  38. Dave H
    26/02/2010 at 9:38 am

    This is the sort of people we’re dealing with:


    and people wonder why we don’t want to let such people into our homes or have power over us. Thanks to Douglas for helping expose the nasty underside of the system.

  39. laura
    26/02/2010 at 2:27 pm

    Lord Soley,

    Thank you for Reading the comments.
    Is it so incomprehensible in this day and age that some parents actually want to spend time with there children? To share the precious years they get together before they venture out into the world alone?
    Is so unnatural that some parents don’t want to let most of the primary care of there children go to someone that doesn’t know them nor care and has to look after another 30 pupils?
    Is it so unheard of today that people love and enjoy their children’s company rather than giving them to a stranger, that the ones that actually want to be with their children are automatically accused of child abuse?
    To be told sorry you want the best for your child, sorry you want to make sure they is no way anyone harms your children, but we think it can’t be possible for you to just want to be with them, there must be an alternate reason, no one wants to spend that amount of time with their own children do they?!
    You must be checked on, as its not feasible for your motives to be pure, and in doing that we will put your children at risk of the abuse, that we as parents want to make sure never happens.
    It’s a sad country that thinks like this.

  40. Annette
    26/02/2010 at 7:34 pm

    I’m know I am not the only person who is upset at the accusations that Khyra death was connected to home education. There is nothing more I can say that hasn’t already been said, and simply I cannot comment on it further as words fail me.

    I would however like to take this opportunity to comment on the socialisation concerns that keeps cropping up.

    Back in the days where I thought my children would go to school (because all children go to school, don’t they?!) I had a chance meeting with a HE father and his two daughters, one day while sitting in the dentist waiting room.

    I am almost ashamed to admit that I too brought up the “socialisation” issue with him. To which, he replied: “I assume you have friends? I assume your husband has friends? I assume that some of your friends are friends with you as a couple, and some are your individual friends? I assume you have friends that were/are work colleagues / friends from your child hood and friends you met via your hobbies and interests” To this I agreed whole heartedly. He then asked: “So, out of all the friends you have now, how many of them are friends that you had from school?”

    My answer? 1! One! That’s it! That is the grand total of all the years I spent in school, with all the “opportunities to mix, socialise and make friends with children my own age” (etc.) that being in school gave me.

    Perhaps when a socialisation concern comes into your minds, you could ask yourselves the same question?

    Incidentally, my husbands reply was even worse – he’s not in contact with anyone he went to school with.

  41. Annette
    26/02/2010 at 8:30 pm

    Just a thought. Something that has been going around in my mind for a while. Up until now, we (HE people) have been on the defensive simply because we feel under attack from all angles (and justifiably too I feel).

    Up until all this came about, we have (mostly) kept our heads down and not drawn attention to ourselves.

    We have heard from some people of their reasons to home educate, mainly from what I can see due to bullying/autism/school not being able to provide for SEN children etc, but we haven’t really sat down and said “why”. Why do we home educate? What was it that made us make this choice?

    I guess what I am wondering is whether it would be helpful to try and give people who are not home educators an insight into our lives/reasons for choosing the path that we have done?

    For my family there are many reasons, but one of which includes my own experience of school. I was never bullied or had any particular problem as such with school, but what it did, was crush out of me any passion I had for learning. One of the best days of my life was the day I walked through the school gates, knowing I never had to go back. It just simply wasn’t an environment I could learn in. At the age of 5 I told my mother “school was interfering with my life”. I left school with 2 gcse’s, one in art and one in needlework. So I suppose I could be classed as one of the state school failures.

    The moment I left school, I started to learn and I have not stopped since. I have been to several colleges, got pretty good qualifications in the profession I wanted to be in. Have taken on course after course – some just for the hell of it, not because I intended doing anything with it. I now run my own successful small business and I am about to open a second.

    I was pretty much written off in school. The two subject that I was good at and really wanted to take were music and Welsh. I was prevented from taking both for gcse, as there were not enough people to put on a class. It didn’t matter that there were other classes of the same standard going on, when I had free periods. So I took geography and computer studies instead, and flunked them both…I am so glad I had the parents I had, who told us all “we don’t mind what you want to do, as long as you do it to the best of your ability”.

    I look at my children and they are so open to learning. They love it! They can’t help themselves! They are so full of enthusiasm. Life is one big adventure for them! I don’t want their passion for learning to be squashed out of them. I sincerely feel that as long as they learn to read, write and have a grasp of basic maths, they will be equipped to learn any topic and any subject that they would want to. Especially if I can help them to keep their love of learning.

  42. 05/03/2010 at 6:19 pm

    For home educators, students and researchers: I have put one of the most comprehensive link lists for hundreds of thousands of statistical sources and indicators (economics, demographics, health etc.) on my blog: Statistics Reference List. And what I find most fascinating is how data can be visualised nowadays with the graphical computing power of modern PCs, as in many of the dozens of examples in these Data Visualisation References. If you miss anything that I might be able to find for you or if you yourself want to share a resource, please leave a comment.

  43. Dave H
    08/03/2010 at 10:33 pm

    Having just watched you in the Lords, inviting your colleagues to come here, hopefully this will be here as an answer to what you said

    Do the rights of the child include the right to not have to go to school and be educated elsewhere? It seems very one-sided to expect that home educated children should be given the option to go to school (and in practice, if you ask, we do give our children the option to go to school should they choose) and yet not give schoolchildren the choice to not go to school.

    Khyra Ishaq was known to the authorities, and similarly any child withdrawn from school will also be known to the authorities and if there are concerns then there are already powers available to social services – not education welfare officers – to take action if they feel the need.

    You have more faith in government delivering the support side of the Badman review, given that it is conspicuous by its absence in the Bill. Attempts to amend this in the Commons failed, which gives us some justification in our lack of belief that any of it would occur. Indeed, if the government would spend all that money on providing support and services, more home educators would be willing to engage and we might believe the claims that they support home education.

    It comes down to the fact that home educators have been managing far better than schools for many years, with minimal support from government, only to find that all of a sudden we get hit with a load of bureaucracy. Had the government sorted its side first, and provided proper training for inspectors and demonstrated some commitment, we might now be at a different place.

    I see Baroness Deech doesn’t like us much, we must obviously agree to disagree and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that her extreme viewpoint does not prevail. My child has the right to freedom from government interference, something that sadly seems to be harder to come by now. The home education part of this bill erodes the rights of the child, it does nothing to enhance them. Scaring parents and encouraging them to hide from the authorities is not the way to help children, nor is forcing children back to school for the flimsiest of reasons.

    Lord Lucas mentioned that change is inevitable, and I would at this point quote the farmer who, when asked for directions, said “If Oi were going there, Oi wouldn’t start from here”. Scrap Clause 26 and Schedule 1 and do a proper job in the next Parliament.

  44. 08/03/2010 at 11:52 pm

    Heavens above, Lord Soley! We watched the whole of the CSF Bill debate tonight and are utterly astounded at how you and your Labour party buddies managed to make 2+2 add up to 5. I’ll just touch on one matter briefly – that of the rights of the child. I asked my daughter whether she wishes to be registered as a home educated child. She said ‘No, thank you’. I take it that’s good enough for you? If not, how do you plan to enforce, persuade, comply, ensure… that she is registered? What methods of coercion would you like me to use? Should I now over-ride her rights and say ‘Yes, you will be registered’?

    I have offered to meet you and have not had a reply as yet.

  45. roadslesstravelled
    09/03/2010 at 12:57 am

    Lord Soley

    I am currently listening to you address the house of Lords as I type this comment.

    Being one of the original commentators on your blog I thought it might be worth while popping back having heard you speak.

    Lord Solely you made mention in your address tonight, of the horrific case of Khyra Ishaq. I just wanted to point out a slight error in something you said.

    You rightly said that Khyra Ishaq was withdrawn from school.

    You then went on to join that dot with the one that suggests that home educators (like Khyra Ishaq’s family) could use home education to hide children away from their communities.

    Khyra Ishaq was not hidden from the community. Several of her neighbors failed to report her abuse, her father did little to protect her, EWO’s saw her, social workers saw her, indeed I do believe policemen visited the house. This was not a child that was hidden from her community.

    Where were Khyra Ishaq’s rights to have the community that she lived in, the community that SAW her, the community that should have protected her, FAIL her when she needed it most?

    You speak of the rights of the child, you link that to home education, and yet here was an abused child, who was known, and had been seen and her rights were abused, by not only her parents, but those who when they failed, should have protected her- under CURRENT laws.

    This was also the case for poor Chris Spry some years ago. People in positions of influence- that could have made a difference to these children FAILED to do so. Social workers, FAILED to do so. As a foster child, SURELY he would have been a ‘seen’ child and not one hidden away.

    People in the community FAILED to make a difference in the lives of these children.

    These where not abducted children who were hidden away in make shift tents, under a canopy of trees, in a walled off back yard (as the case last year in the USA).

    These where children who were SEEN, NOT hidden living in communities that failed them.

    Home educators advocate for the rights of children too, children like Khyra Ishaq who should have still been living had people done their jobs properly.

    We advocate for the rights of our own children, to have an education that suits them, rather than en masse.

    Being in such a position of influence, surely if you are going to hinge a parliamentary address on facts, then perhaps you should have those facts right.

  46. Tania
    12/03/2010 at 11:10 am

    Lord Soley,

    I was wondering whether you thought that many home educating parents de-registered their children from school due to bullying- thus depriving the children of a valuable life lesson?

    I was also wondering if you could put an answer on this blog explaining what you consider this life lesson to be so that I can appropriately respond with an interesting experience .

    many thanks.

  47. Norma W
    12/03/2010 at 11:47 am

    Dear Baroness Deech,

    Although I disagree with much of what you said about Schedule 1 of the CSF Bill, the reason for my post is to complain about the way you represented information put on this blog by Mrs Janet Ford, about her daughter’s social life and education. I have permission from Mrs Ford to raise this matter, as she has a busy schedule for the next couple of weeks.

    You said: ”The home educators were insistent that their children had socialising experiences, although whether it is correct to include trips to the supermarket, as one did, or learning French with a grandfather learning at the same time, was open to question.” (Hansard)

    This made it sound like a home educator said a French lesson with a grandfather, made for a social life, and it came across as belittling to Mrs Ford and to home education. In fact, Mrs Ford included the French lesson as only one in a long list of weekly activities, to show the overall variety of home ed activities as well as socialisation. You failed to mention her daughter’s weekly activities with 80 other home educated children, or her skating, dancing and trampolining sessions or regular sleepovers — surely more fair examples of Mrs Ford’s description of home ed socialisation.

    Many home educators have been upset since the Badman Report because, in that report and afterwards, they have been misquoted, statistics have been skewed and partial information has been given. As I am sure you are aware, the Select Committee had strong criticism for Mr Badman’s methodology and for many of his conclusions.

    Obviously, people have different opinions over whether the state should have more powers than it already has in family life. Many home educators have a different philosophy than you do about this.

    But I would hope that you would share a desire for accurate reporting of what people have said.


    Original post of Mrs Ford 9th February 2010

    I do wish you could see my daughter’s schedule before you make such comments. This week – Monday – skating with the home ed group (she got asked out by a school kid there, who thought it appropriate to follow her round shouting he wanted to bang her), followed by a French lesson with her Grandad (they are really enjoying learning the language together in spite of a 66 year age gap), Tuesday – English GCSE oral (two years early),but would usually be the weekly home ed meeting where she meets up with 80 or so other kids, Wednesday GCSE English Oral, but would usually be her Japanese lesson followed by a dancing session with the home ed group, Thursday – trampolining, followed by a talk on healthy eating followed by swimming (the home ed group has had to organise 3 groups to run concurrently at the leisure centre as over 70 kids signed up to this), Friday – meeting with friends to go shopping in town, Saturday – lunch with family and friends, Sunday – meeting with friends to go to the cinema. She is actually at home this weekend, usually she is booked up for sleepovers with her schooled friends who are not available during the week, poor things.

    Incidentally, even though she didn’t decide to do a GCSE English and English lit until very late, and so had to do her 18 months worth of coursework within 6 weeks, we just got her marks for the coursework, A for English Lang and A* for English Lit, so her hectic social schedule doesn’t seem to be affecting her marks.

    We would love to meet some of you people who have the power to completely change our lives and the way we educate our children, and as you have this power, it does seem only fair that you should at least make the attempt to understand how it can affect us. It is very easy to make judgements and pass laws without understanding the devastating effect this could have.

    In our case, as we educate autonomously, with very little written evidence, using conversation, exploration, hands on experience and experimentation rather than workbooks, so anyone judging the content of our education would probably decide our children were not doing enough – yet our daughter has been tested by the school that is hosting her GCSE work, and got the highest score of any child they had ever tested, and our son was the youngest ever entrant on a PhD course at Manchester school of medicine. This is why we object to having people coming into our homes to make judgments on the content of our educational provision, who don’t have any knowledge of the methods used, as autonomous home education looks nothing like conventional school education, and yet it works exceptionally well.

    I am saddened that you appear to disregard people who are trying to reach out to you – Real people who are trying to tell you that Schedule 1 has great potential to harm their families and hence their children.

    Norma Wilshaw

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