Home education

Lord Soley

I have to return to this subject as I am sure it will resurface when the House comes back in October. Indeed it may come back when the Commons returns in September

Those many well meaning people who wrote voracious comments on this a few months ago do need to look at the report on the death of Khyra Ishaq. the Report stated “The mother’s sound knowledge of home education legislation and a hostile and aggressive approach influenced and affected professional actions, preventing a full understanding of conditions within the home and seemed to render professionals impotent, thereby directing the focus away from the welfare of the children”.

It would be just too easy to blame the social workers for this. There is a problem if parents know they can take their children out of school without further intervention by anyone. The more home education spreads the greater the danger. If we are to have a successful home education sector then there does need to be regulation. I remember saying at the time of the previous debate that any future government was likely to return to this. The case of Khyra Ishaq makes my point with cruel clarity.

104 comments for “Home education

  1. Dave H
    01/09/2010 at 7:19 am

    I’ll give you the same response as I’ve given elsewhere – the education inspector had limited powers but Ishaq wasn’t an education case, it was a welfare case. Social services had all the powers they needed if only they’d used them.

    We don’t need more powers, we need local authorities to learn how to use the ones they’ve got. Adding an extra 40,000-80,000 inspections is not likely to spot the next child in need, it’ll just overload those whose job it is and make it less likely that the child in need will be helped.

    • 02/09/2010 at 7:36 am

      Dave’s statement would satisfy minimum requirement for membership of the “Enablement Before Empowerment” Movement:

      in short before giving any-body Power there must be strong evidence that they have all the abilities necessary to use or wield that power both constructively and cost-effectively; and in the Democracy we say we already have but in truth are as yet only aspiring-to, governance-enablement must be required for every level of The People as well as for the higher Organisational, Administrative, and Executive (Parliamentarians) levels.

      What sanity would there be in giving a committee of teenagers State-of-the-Art automatic guns and empowering them to run a ‘Controlled-All-Night-Teenager-Drinking- and-Socialisation Parties, or ‘Gladiatorial’ Competitions ?

      What sense empowering any committee with any power they have insufficient mature and self-controlled Knowledge and Know-How skill to
      implement safely and constructively ?

      What sense the People been given The Power to vote-in the Upper House ? when not only the People have insufficient governance-
      knowledge, democracy-know-how, and sustainworthy-life-experience to run even a local Neighbourhood Centre effectively ?

      What sense voting for any advocate or representative including into the House of Commons upon any basis of wealth or popuarity, or in any way to the diminution of the importance and urgency of Abilities (plural in this case of Top-Governance).

      So Yes, Dave let us make that statement:
      “We need any authority to learn how to use a power before it is given to them”;

      and we need to tie that to
      “We need a very-speedy controlling-power to either remove the unskilful authority from the power they are failing to use rightly, or to remove the power itself from them”.

      Incidentally to that latter, where is the speedy-enforcement certainty that the new ‘democratic’ and People-empowefring legislation for a Constituency to Recall its ineffective MP from Paliament will ever be practically-effective or even possible ?

      ==========
      (JSDM0735Th02Sep10)
      What

  2. Dave H
    01/09/2010 at 8:34 am
  3. 01/09/2010 at 8:46 am

    I would be happy to meet with you to talk through the Serious Case Review which we have been studying in great depth with our barrister.

    Fiona Nicholson, Education Otherwise

    • Dave H
      04/09/2010 at 11:33 am

      Actually, I think many of us would be interested in how LS arrives at his conclusion that the Ishaq case justifies more regulation of home education. Anything that helps us understand the other side of the argument has got to be good, right?

      • 07/09/2010 at 12:51 am

        Not just us, not just LS, are concerned about both Reasoning skills and the needs and pitfalls in Education, specificly here in “Home Education” (where something went manslaughterously wrong).

        I think many of us suspect that there is a gross lack of comprehensively skilled home education, and of competent supervision thereof; and some of us are likewise concerned at a similar lack of comprehensive skills for teaching and learning in institutional Education overall, including in faith-schools, new academies, and universities.
        ———–
        A propos your concerned question “Anything that helps us understand the other side of the argument has got be good, right ?”
        Yes, right; that is the essential principle of “Charity”, in the threesome prerequisite for Clarity, Charity and Self-correction:

        “If debates are approached in accordance with the principle of charity, and not in a highly competitive way, then people don’t lose out, only falsehood is defeated – that’s the aim anyway”.
        (ISBN 0 9596196 0 7 page 2).
        =============
        (JSDM0051T07Sep10)

  4. Susan V
    01/09/2010 at 9:06 am

    But we already know that this was an open Social Services case, and that they had the power to do something about it. None of the modifications to home education law to date would have changed the circumstances of the Ishaq case in the least. It is not the fault of home educators that the social workers were confused and intimidated. They had the power, they didn’t use it. Further compartmentalisation of the powers to intervene is going to lead to more of the same, not less.

    Please, solve the right problem and don’t pile more unnecessary work on the already overworked social workers or education authorities. It’s truly not going to help anyone, and has vast potential to damage many.

  5. Elaine
    01/09/2010 at 9:32 am

    Here we go again ! That poor little girl was already under the social workers and being abused before she was taken out of school, her teachers had already noticed and tried to report it. This girl was being abused in an horrific way and I am sorry, but the social workers were to blame, the abuse started before the home educating so they had every right to remove this poor child from the cruelty she was suffering, there was never any need to gain access to her through the home educating route, she was already under their protection and they failed her. As a parent of a child of similar age, I am sick to the stomach of all this smoke and mirrors from the government/coucil/social workers and press who continue to spout about home-education being responsible for the death of this poor child instead of on the real cause, the lack of resources and power given to social workers to enable them to do their job and protect vunerable children, how do people react ??? Lets waste even more money that could be used to employ more social workers by setting up some ridiculous scheme which will cost thousands if not millions to run, and continue to ignore where the money and resources should be spent, this child was known to social services who had the power to go to court to get a removal order to save this little child, THEY failed her, if they couldn’t save her with the powers they had available, then a parent having to register and have an interview to home educate would have made no difference at all,the social workers should have acted within weeks of her first coming onto their radar. I can’t believe this issue is still being clouded by something that would have made no difference to this poor girl.

  6. Concerned Home Edder
    01/09/2010 at 9:44 am

    Oh dear, you really haven’t learned anything have you? Surely the election results for the Labour party taught you something? The sooner the Lords is by election the better.

    I’m so glad I helped the Tories with their election campaign to highlight the creeping way the Labour party was trying to take over every aspect of parenting. This knee-jerk reaction over one case is farcical. What about the 16 children a year who commit suicide because of school bullying? What are you going to do for them? Please tell me!!

  7. bornjoyful
    01/09/2010 at 10:42 am

    Social Services did not follow proper procedure and insist on a check on each child in the household despite having every ‘power’ to do so.
    It was decided by Social Services that seeing as the mother had refused the voluntary CAF (Common Assessment Framework), that they would go one step above CAF and make a report on each child.
    This was after months of the school calling Social Services with their worries both before and after three of the six children stopped attending.
    For some reason the further checks never happened.
    To shift the blame to the HE sector is unfair.
    The school had already reported concerns BEFORE the mother took some of the children out of school. There were weeks where the children were legally still on the school register before she officially wrote the official legal letter of de-registration (not exactly the mark of someone au fait with educational legislation).
    There were weeks where Social Services could have pushed for a face to face interview with each child.
    If the HE visitor had seen the children he may also have reported to Social Services just the way the school had….and what would have happened…exactly the same…NOTHING.
    There is no need for ‘more of the same’ in terms of legislation surrounding Home Education and Child Protection- Social Services already have all the powers they need- if there are concerns they can start inquiries .
    If Lord Soley thinks that every child being home educated needs Social Services to check out parents for child protection whether there are concerns or not, could he please explain where the money is going to come from for this and how a government can justify legislating for one particular group of families differently than others?
    Child Protection and Education should not be conflated together.
    If there are Child Protection concerns by all means staff and fund. If there are Educational concerns then the correct LA department should deal with them according to current law and guidelines.
    In Khyra Ishaq’s case, it was the Child protection concerns that were ignored.

    Here is what the Victoria Climbie Foundation have to say about the matter –

    http://blackpolitics.co.uk/2010/03/13/home-education-did-not-kill-khyra-agency-failings-did/

  8. Shena
    01/09/2010 at 11:15 am

    “The mother’s sound knowledge of home education legislation and a hostile and aggressive approach influenced and affected professional actions, … and seemed to render professionals impotent …”.

    Whatever the mother’s knowledge (and I’m not sure we have evidence to say that it was ‘sound’), the real problem was that the professionals’ knowledge was NOT sound. The social workers had all the information and powers that they needed to intervene. What they did not have was the understanding of the situation or their powers. This was probably due to overwork and lack of continuity (changing personnel) but may also have been due to inexperience and lack of supervision.

    According to Mrs Justice King in the care proceedings, the other five children in the family were also in a bad way – the hospital almost killed two others because it did not realise that they were as undernourished as Ethiopian famine victims or WWII POWs. Ten days before the death of Khyra, a teacher reported the family yet again – had Social Services intervened at that point, Khyra would have been saved.

  9. 01/09/2010 at 11:18 am

    If the mother’s sound understanding of home education legislation had been shared by the so-called professionals involved in this case, things should have turned out very differently.

    Once again, there is *nothing* in home ed legislation that prevents a social worker intervening when a child is at risk, as these children manifestly were. Why don’t you address that point?

  10. Annette
    01/09/2010 at 11:45 am

    I am self employed and come into contact with the public on a daily basis. It has surprised and reassured me the number of people who had no prior knowledge of home education that could see it was a failing of the social services not a lack of registration and monitoring that was to “blame” for the death of this poor child.
    One other good thing that has come out of the previous governments attack on home education, is that it has brought home education well and truly out in the open and in the public eye. Many parents now realise that HE is a legal, legitimate and effective method in which to educate your child, and no longer feel school is the only option.
    So far from arguing any further with you over this subject, I wish to thank you for all you have done to advertise home education for us.
    One final point, if you still remain unconvinced that the current law is sufficient, then perhaps the time has come for you to seek the opinion of Graham Stuart MP, who I’m sure will be able to give you some food for thought.

  11. Tech
    01/09/2010 at 12:39 pm

    Ah, Soley, you are clearly reading the Serious Case Review, written, free of charge, by the NSPCC. If you were to direct you attention to the actual judgement you would not be so easily (or perhaps wilfully might be a more appropriate word here) mislead by those with a well documented anti Home Education agenda.

    2/10 must try harder.

  12. Elaine Kirk
    01/09/2010 at 12:45 pm

    You may wish to update your Guardian profile Lord Soley, at the moment it states-
    “He also takes an active interest in the modern media and the standards of accuracy in news presentation as well as questions relating to privacy. He is a frequent speaker on the subject and has been instrumental in forcing newspapers and the Press Complaints Commission to review their complaints procedure.”
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/clive_soley/profile.html

  13. James Overton
    01/09/2010 at 1:19 pm

    In actual fact, the report on this crime is completely irrelevant to Home Education and Soley’s citing of it contains classic examples of fallacious logic in the following classes:

    Faulty appeal to authority
    This report was not written by people who know anything about Home Education, and was not about Home Education.

    Appeal to Fear
    ‘If we do not do something, PEOPLE WILL DIE!’

    Questionable Cause
    A and B are associated on a regular basis. Therefore A is the cause of B. Where A is Home Education and B is children harmed.

    Appeal to Popularity
    Most people approve of X (have favorable emotions towards X). Therefore X is true. Where X is school education.

    Guilt By Association
    You know how that works.

    Hasty Generalization
    This fallacy is committed when a person draws a conclusion about a population based on a sample that is not large enough. In this case, a sample of 0 since this report has nothing to do with Home Education.

    Misleading Vividness
    This is a fallacy in which a very small number of particularly dramatic events are taken to outweigh a significant amount of statistical evidence.

    Appeal to Ignorance
    Soley knows that most of his colleagues are ignorant in the matter of Home Education.

    Spotlight
    The Spotlight fallacy is committed when a person uncritically assumes that all members or cases of a certain class or type are like those that receive the most attention or coverage in the media. This line of “reasoning” has the following form: Xs with quality Q receive a great deal of attention or coverage in the media. Therefore all Xs have quality Q.

    Appeal to Emotion
    Favorable emotions are associated with X. Therefore, X is true.

    Soley is guilty of all the above logical fallacies, shamelessly and knowingly promoting them in relation to Home Education, despite having been informed in depth about the precise details and nature of Home Education.

    We can only speculate as to what the true nature of these sinister misdirections is; normally when someone knowingly pushes for irrational strictures and controls that will involve new agencies and funding, they have a direct financial benefit to be gained should the measures be brought in.

    For example, when an educational expert with links to a company that sells educational services is brought in to investigate some aspect of education that will result in new databases, distance learning systems and close monitoring, lo and behold, he recommends exactly what his company is perfectly positioned to offer. This is also known as ‘corruption’.

    There is no evidence that Soley is doing this out of anything other than simple minded and vicious ignorance, but the question does need to be asked; what does someone have to gain from controlling 80,000 children families? Why would they be so very eager to do so, in light of all the evidence categorically proving that there is no cause for concern and no need for new legislation and controls on Home Educators?

    There is no problem with parents directing their children’s education. Children are not the property of Soley and his state. He does not have authority or responsibility for them and his keenness to enter into this position is deeply disturbing.

    As for his utterly ridiculous line, “The more home education spreads the greater the danger” this is a classic example of the Appeal to Fear fallacy. It is shameful, pathetic and beneath contempt, since he knows perfectly well that this is an untruth.

    There is no ‘Home Education Sector’. Home Educators and families are not tertiary adjuncts of government. Families are independent and free people; they are not part of some illusory collective or the property of the state. This sector is a fantasy of Soley and his twisted view of what people are.

    Home Educators will not accept regulation. They have made this very clear, and they are all very ready to take people like ‘Lord’ Soley and their morally bankrupt ideas to task over the matter, after having spent many months organising after the repeated and unwarranted attacks of New Labour.

    Finally, the only point that Soley has succeeded in making here is that psychological testing should be mandatory for all legislators so that psychopaths, obsessive personalities and control freaks cannot find themselves behind the levers of the state.

    • 08/09/2010 at 11:44 pm

      James Overton – you are fabulous ;)))

  14. Clover
    01/09/2010 at 1:20 pm

    It has been pointed out elsewhere that Khyra was, in fact, not home educated – her mother never de-registered her from school. Also, had she had a “sound knowledge of home education legislation” she would never have let the education officer into her house in the first place.

    The problem clearly lay with the ignorance of the social workers and their inaction after concerns from many sources had been voiced. Having read the judge’s report I agree that the failings lay with the welfare officers and their inadequate adherence to CURRENT guidance.

    If there are concerns about a child, in school or not, the law provides equally. Home education does not prevent welfare officers from doing their job, and is not a welfare risk. Why should a child who is not at risk be monitored and inspected in such a manner that their human rights are violated?

    It’s as ludicrous as saying toddlers should be inspected, or parents who choose home birth, or families with step parents. The only difference is that home educators are a relatively powerless minority. Seen in that light, your comment appears both opportunistic and bullying at worst, and ignorant and ill thought out at best.

    Maybe you should think about changing your stance?

    Yours sincerely,

    Clover: post home-ed teen.

  15. 01/09/2010 at 1:21 pm

    Let’s not lead nor go astray like Sheep:
    It is past high-time to make Basics visible, please.
    ——————
    ((((Background: I am unable to quickly turn to any quick e-site or public-library where such is both all-round reliable and affordably-available;
    so I need The Basics to be not only published ‘free-access-to-the-citizen’ but kept up-to-date;
    all Basics, on Economics, Defence, Health, Illness, the State of the Earth … and of course the Whole of this current topic’s Human Development, Human Rights, Citizenship-Duties, Education, Training … Basics;
    and recognising this as a very big “Ask” I maturely reason that it must therefore be all the more important and urgent that such a Democratic Service be legislated and instituted)))).
    —————–
    .1. What do you mean by ‘Home Education’ ?
    (Come to that what do you mean by ‘Education’; and what by ‘Home’ ? )

    (a) How is Home Education (and ‘Education’ and ‘Home’ and ‘School’ and so forth) defined and detailed by the various Stakeholders, and by subsidiary stakeholders (in which latter category obviously fall Khyra Ishaq herself, her ‘mother’, even the string of individual inspectors and workers trying to do their various and maybe conflicting duties-and-jobs) ?
    (b) How does the above-defined Home Education ‘fit and sit’ within overarching and underpinning law, practice, ‘philosophy’, and policy ?
    (i) What are the differences between “Education, Training, Schooling, Drilling, Indoctrination, Specialisation, and Generic-Citizenship-Essentials” ?
    (ii) What universally-affordable learning-support and lifestyle-exemplary leadership and mentoring is provided by UK constitutional, legislational, non-profit cooperative institutional, market-competitive, and smaller NGOrganisational bodies such as Local Community Centres, the BBC and Media. and Religious bodies ?

    (c) What ‘remedial’ education and ‘correctional’ services are both available and affordable to those needing them(by their own choice or my requirement under Law) ?

    ——————–
    That’ll do as a Starting Point …
    ==============================
    JSDM1321W01Sep2010)

  16. 01/09/2010 at 1:28 pm

    I’m afraid that we will never see progress while our law makers are as clearly badly informed as apparently were the social workers who deal with poor Ishaq.

    Only the social workers believed that a parent can home educate with no interference from the authorities. Certainly no home educator believes that as it’s not how the law works.

    I think this article only goes to show how poorly informed, at least some, members of the second house are with respect to the technical matters relating to the legislation they pass.

    If you wish some assistance over how this works I would be more than happy to help explain it to you.

    M FW

  17. Mac
    01/09/2010 at 1:47 pm

    The Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee were clear about this aspect with regard the Badman review and the previous Labour government’s proposed bill.

    The committee stated, “Where we believe that the Badman Report and the proposals in the Children, Schools and Families Bill run into difficulty is in their ‘conflation’ of education and safeguarding matters.”

    There is no evidence to support Lord Solely’s assertion that there is a link between home education and increased risk to the welfare of children. No evidence at all.

    For Lord Solely to bring up cases like Khyra Ishaq as proof is grossly insensitive. Playing politics with tragedy is frankly deplorable.

  18. Winter Lightning
    01/09/2010 at 2:09 pm

    I grow weary of repeating this:
    The Birmingham authorities had ALL the power and information they needed in order to act to save Khyra Ishaq but they simply didn’t bother.

    The reasons for this are not clear; perhaps, as some have suggested, their case load was overwhelming and this case slipped through the net. Perhaps they were simply incompetent or ignorant of the powers they already have.

    In any event, I have grave concerns about handing greater powers to such people; they cannot justify greater power when they are incapable of using what they already have.

    I am deeply suspicious of the way in which this case is being used by the NSPCC (who led the report and who are known for their antipathy towards home education).

    Some scrutiny of the motives of people driving this campaign for regulation – including Clive Soley and Ruth Deech – is required here; are these people simply ignorant or are they pursuing some other agenda in a dishonest manner? It’s clear that child welfare is not the issue, otherwise they would be more concerned to ensure that social services are not overburdened and can use their existing adequate powers.

    Hitherto, I have assumed ignorance rather than malice to be the motive; now I’m no longer certain.

    In which forum can we interrogate these unelected people who attempt to rule us?

  19. 01/09/2010 at 3:07 pm

    Lord Soley, I’m adding my voice to all those erudite comments above. This is not a Home Education issue. Please remember that “When Khyra was removed from school, the deputy headteacher contacted social services on four occasions within a 24-hour period.”

    This is a failure to act by authorities other than education authorities.

  20. Barry
    01/09/2010 at 4:45 pm

    *sigh* So, round we go again. A failure to act on clear welfare issues led to this poor girl’s demise, not the freedom of parents to home educate. It’s already been argued that the proposed changes would have diverted millions into haranguing innocent families (seemingly the point of the exercise?) and not have helped Khyra. The powers were there, they weren’t used properly, and we all know the maxim that hard cases make for bad law…

    The point I wanted to focus on, however, is your use of language. I don’t want to appear nit-picky, but feel loathe to accept the creeping of certain terms into discussions of HE, and the frame this places around the subject. There is not, nor need there be, a ‘home education sector’. All parents are responsible by law for the children’s education. Most delegate this to schools, some do not. Those who do not are not a sector, they are parents with a particular choice in common. They are otherwise diverse in income, location, educational philosophy etc. To refer to us as a ‘sector’ homogenises us, which may be handy for those who wish to regulate or be in charge of us…

    Voracious – if by voracious you mean heated, then yes. Clearly ad hominem attacks are not helpful, but open threads accept this risk. If people are heated it is because they see their lifestlye and choices as being under attack, and resent a dead girl being used as a vehicle for invasive legislation.

    Home education does not ‘spread’. It is not a virus. It is one choice as to how best fulfill one’s legal responsibility for the education of one’s child, and as people become more aware and better informed of this choice, they may find it works for them. Well informed people making free choices should not be equated with ‘great danger’, that way lies tyrrany.

    Also, the report states “a hostile and aggressive approach influenced and affected professional actions”. We must be clear of the difference between this, and a parent who chooses to keep interactions with the local authority to the minimum obliged of them. The former may ring alarm bells, the latter should not. If the welfare of a child is clearly in jeopardy, but nothing is done because the visiting social worker received a hostile reception, this is nothing to do with home education, or home education law, it is do with welfare, and welfare laws that apply equally to all children.

  21. Kren Zic
    01/09/2010 at 5:11 pm

    The House of Lords is supposed to be an honourable place for people of honesty, trust and fairness whom conduct themselves with dignity.

    For spreading pernicious and dishonest propaganda against a cherished minority of goodly citizens, I call upon you to consider your position.

    You are now entreated to so do, relent or resign.

  22. Elaine Kirk
    01/09/2010 at 5:30 pm

    Oh Lord Soley could you please answer me one Question –
    Why do you want the state to illegally police families when , for example, Birmingham is having to close it’s residential family assessment child protection unit?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-11151340
    Are neglected and abused children not worthy of attention? is there no longer any profit to be made in actual child protection? there must be some reason you would rather money was spent on policing the masses rather than protecting the few..

  23. 01/09/2010 at 7:03 pm

    Lord Soley,

    I gather that a book about educating Clive Soley would not be titled “Educating Clive Solely”. Here on my side of the Atlantic we have both armed police in schools and many opportunites to get shot or see someone shot in them. In numerous countries including the UK school-based bullying has been fatal. Folks die- sadly murder is a major human passtime. We can work to lessen it but judge home education on other bases and be brave enough to use the more cocktail approach of a wise society. Let flow between HE and regular schools occur and regulate it. License home school leagues and groups and support them. If you wish offer incentives to schools surely. But for teachers who can only work part time for a year let them give one subject lectures to groups of HE kids. Then when some parents use none of these friendly services and others send traumatized children to school you will have a place to focus your attention. Orwell’s “Such Were the Joys” and Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy” should remove all doubt as to whether or not schools are ever brutal. Yet these men clearly got some benefit. At Your Lordship’s level of experience and sophisitication so many things come down to overarching policy concerns that it is good to remeber to forget the bug picture once in a while or else total war is the only response to any conflict.

    • Dave H
      02/09/2010 at 11:12 am

      I believe the argument here is between Lord Soley’s belief that more state control is needed, and most of the rest of us who believe that it is not. Note also that in the UK we call it home EDUCATION, beause it is not school and in many cases does not use the formal methods of school.

      Much of the present state apparatus that gets involved with home education is very poorly trained, because it comes from the school side of things and expects to find the same thing at home. If the subject is going to be revisited in the coming months, I would hope that it is from the point of view that the services offered by the state need huge improvements, and that there should be no pressure exerted on home educators to avail themselves of those services – if it’s helpful we’ll use it, if not, go away and fix it. Remember that these are people who have purposely opted out of the state system and do not appreciate the state interfering, especially as it is often clueless about the matters into which it pokes its nose. From the ivory towers at Westminster, it may seem that regulation is harmless, but there are plenty of people with tales to tell about the harm and stress caused by their local authority.

      Market forces – offer a product that does what we want and at a price we’re prepared to pay (costs are not always monetary) and we may choose to use it. Or not, if we’re happy with one of the many alternatives.

      • 03/09/2010 at 1:37 pm

        Dave H.,

        I am not British and I also have no children. I was home schooled for a month of fifth grade, for all of sixth grade, most of eighth and a good portion of each year of secondary school except the third. In addition mush of the time I was in school they did not use the system my native schools sytem used. I lived a life style in my family that attracted more hostility and suspicion than all this anyway. Perhaps otherwise it might have been better but I knew most other home-schoolers in my state at least as faces in rallies and we all had a pretty hard time. I was picked up by the police twice (without paper work). I was given forms that could not possibly work for me on all occasions, wasoften insulted and mistreated by anyone with a modicum of official authority and it added to my sense of alienation from peers. My younger brothers and sisters benfitted from my rallies and a legalization regime. Larger numbers were aroound for them as well and they spent a higher protion of years in Home Education but all in a mix like me most in several countries with varied schools as well. My nieces and nephews follow in the same path and seem to have amuch easier path if they work hard, join groups, check in with experienced bureaaucrats and try. My brothers and sisters and I all distinguished ourselves with solid work in college. Better than solid is not immodest here…

  24. Jemmo
    01/09/2010 at 7:57 pm

    I’m not going to repeat the ample and excellent responses you’ve already received. Instead I’m just going to ask you a direct question Lord Soley:

    What is your agenda here?

    I ask because I am confused as to how someone of obvious intelligence can possibly still be beating the ‘home education regulation would have saved Khyra’ drum when it manifestly would not have done so. Therefore you must have another reason for pursuing this line. If it is simply that you still personally believe, despite all the discussion before, that home education should be regulated and monitored, please stick to that and we can continue to have a reasonable debate about it – after all, we’re well practised at that since the events of 2009. But please please can you stop using that poor girl as an excuse for a personal crusade. It’s bad enough to hear Birmingham City Council trying to use home education as a scapegoat for their mismanagement, without having someone completely unrelated to the case take up their disingenuous arguments.

    As has been said, it is not that Khyra’s mother had good knowledge of home education law, but that the social workers involved did not. Let’s move on.

  25. ZAROVE
    01/09/2010 at 8:04 pm

    Heh…of course Home Education is to blame. Just like Faith Schools, they prevent people from learning the proper, Secular Humanist Liberal Democracy thought patterns, that once they can parrot back proves they think for themselves.

    Any case in which anythign goes awry, no matter what the circumstances, will prove that Home Education is TERRIBLE!

    Don’t you people realise we need the Government to educate our Children in the proper and correct way?

    Just like we need them to tell us who to sell our goods to, who we must rent our rooms and spare houses to, whom we will associate with, and how much Free Speech is permitted.

    It’s for our own good, after all.

  26. Mandy Potter
    01/09/2010 at 9:30 pm

    You may wish to turn your attention from the non-existent home educated children being abused in full view of society to the 16 or more children who are done to death by inaction in schools during bullying bouts. Or perhaps those youngsters are not a concern being as they are so ‘safe’ in school.

  27. Mandy Potter
    01/09/2010 at 9:33 pm

    That is, of course, 16 or more children a YEAR, not just 16 children.

  28. Cathy Koetsier
    01/09/2010 at 9:34 pm

    However well informed the mother may have been, welfare services were not. They had all the power they needed, but did not use it. End of the story.

  29. Firebird
    01/09/2010 at 9:58 pm

    That’s a wee bit of a selective quote you’ve got there isn’t it? The full sentence from the summary part of the SCR (page 9) starts “Adult resistance to professional intervention, doorstep conversations, the mother’s sound knowledge …” The way you’ve used it suggests something that even the author of the SCR wasn’t trying to say. Naughty naughty!

  30. Sue
    01/09/2010 at 10:08 pm

    With all due respect, I think you really need to get your facts straight before commenting on anything to do with home education and its regulation/registration/monitoring/inspection etc.

    I also think it’s paramount that you understand another fundamental issue, Khyra was NOT home educated! She was TRUANT that means she was on a SCHOOL ROLL and she was not attending school. In order for a child to be home educated, that child’s parent(s) or carer must write a letter of de-registration to the head of that school. Then the local authority is supposed to establish contact with the family to discuss education and make sure they ‘know what they are doing’.

    Khyra’s SCHOOL contacted social services about her, she was KNOWN to the system and to social services. She was also on a school roll. You cannot verbally give notice of de-registration, it must be in written form. If the school accepted a verbal notification then they failed to follow protocol and law.

    I understand that you feel that the rights of the parents and the rights of the child need to be balanced, but let me ask you this, how do you feel that subjecting home educated children to these relentless local authority employees’ inspections (and they will cross lines believe you me) is taking their right to privacy in their home into account?

    Part 1 Article 16 of the Convention on the rights of the child states:

    1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

    2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    How is having local authority employees in their home at random and arbitrary moments respecting that child’s right to privacy?

    From the same Convention,

    Article 18

    1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.

    Do you realise what that means? That means that Parents/legal guardians have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the chlid. Not the State and imposing State employee visits is not respecting that parents have the primary responsibility for their children.

    The Education Act of 1996 Section 7 states

    7 Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age

    The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

    (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

    (b) to any special educational needs he may have,

    either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

    The parents have the responsibility. NOT the State. By bringing in this mass registration, you are then saying that the state has responsibility.

    Perhaps you need to remember and stop presuming us guilty of things we have not done. Baby P was known to the system and he was not saved by the system. Khyra was known by the system and was not saved at all. Take a look at the sytem before you start pointing the finger at home education.

    For the record, Baby P wasn’t home educated, he was known to the system and had over 60 incidents of contact with the system (hospitals, police, social workers) and yet nobody did anything, in fact, the police MADE his father take him back to his mother when the father knew that something very bad was going on to him. She called the police, the police made him give Baby P back to her.

    So you see, home education had nothing to do with his murder, just thought I would point that out to you in case you tried to blame that one on us too!

  31. Rose
    01/09/2010 at 10:58 pm

    I was not at all impressed with the quality of the serious case review.

    I would have expected it to be grounded in a clear understanding of child protection laws and the guidance that supports those laws. Instead, there’s a mish-mash of emotive and vague concepts, such as a “child’s right to safety”.

  32. Concerned Home Edder
    02/09/2010 at 9:09 am

    I suggest you have a look at this short news article, and in particular the mother whose son couldn’t read or write at school, stopped eating because of bullying. Now he is a prolific reader,can write and eats well. Tell me, what are you going to do about the other thousands of children who were like this? Tell me tell me please?
    http://www.itv.com/westcountry-east/back-to-school-245105/

  33. Peter
    02/09/2010 at 2:22 pm

    your talking rubbish again Lord Soley home education is not a welfare issue! It was social workers who where to blame for the girls death they had plenty of chances to do something about this matter the school had reported concerns about this child but nothing was done why?
    i wont be voting Labour used to but never again!

  34. 02/09/2010 at 2:30 pm

    Strikes me that the main complaint is the ‘monopoly supplier’ is complaining about losing its monopoly.

    Monopoly in the sense that you are force to pay for the service, in spite of whether or not you use it.

    If people realise they are alternatives, then they start demanding a share of the cash. Not good for a monopoly.

    Keep that in mind when you listen to the current arguments over acadamys.

    They get to keep their share, pro rata of the money going to the local council.

    That shouldn’t impact any other school. However, that’s the main argument against. The reason is that the monopoly supplier doesn’t want to cut when it loses that share of the money.

  35. OrganisedPauper
    02/09/2010 at 4:19 pm

    I think we are wasting our breath. What we are dealing with here is ideological opposition to home education dressed up as concern for child welfare. Khyra is being used to fit their own ideological agenda.

    No matter what the rational argument,the facts,the truth or anything else, it will fall on deaf ears. This is the kind of socialist ideology that believes the very best and only way to educate children and form the kind of society that they want to see created is education by the state.

    The theory is that parents are merely a necessary evil and that the state is the very best arbiter of all things pertaining to children and the upbringing of children. It is about social engineering by and for the machine of the state.

    What you are dealing with here is a belief system. Rational debate has no place, they believe what they believe and nothing you can say will alter that. It is a fixed ideology that will not shift.

    • James Overton
      04/09/2010 at 12:08 pm

      I think you hit the nail on the head Pauper.

      We cannot however, rule out the two other possible reasons for this seemingly illogical irrational interest in other people’s children; a plot to make money out of the exploitation of children, or something far more dastardly whose name I will not mention.

      There is no evidence that Soley is anything other than a vicious and deluded ideologue, but we must consider the other possibilities, since statistically exploiters and abusers are over represented where the state interfaces with children in ‘child protection matters’:

      “Some 12 percent of minors held in government custody are sexually abused, and in some facilities the rate reaches a stunning one in three children, says a report released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics,” reports Raw Story.”

      http://bit.ly/bf8PG0

      Clearly access to children, whatever the pretext, is the goal here, and the people behind it must be made to explain their inexplicable positions if they insist on pushing this revolting nonsense.

  36. ZAROVE
    03/09/2010 at 5:07 am

    I think your all missing the real, underlying reason for this attack on Home Education, and the reason it is Ostentatiously defined as a safety hazard to Children.

    In another Thread, entitled “Religious Education: An Oxymoron” Baroness Murphy attacked Faith Schools, saying we as a society should not tolerate them. Her reasoning was that they damaged social cohesion, and said that School should be places were Children learn to get a grip on ideas and learn to think and be creative. The implication was that Faith Schools somehow were not places were Children could learn to think for themselves or get a Grip on ideas.

    She even introduced the big, scary words “Proslytise” and “Indoctrinate”, which means the School only exists o brainwash Childrne into Religion. The only solution, the only way to make sure these warring Religions don’t destroy the society we live in by creating competing schools which prevent them from learning of each other and thus tolerance for each other, and the only way to prevent the Children from being brainwashed and give them the ability to think for themselves, was to close done the Faith Schools and make sure everyone goes to a Secular State School.

    Its fairly obvious that, despite the claim that Secular State Schools would just teach the Facts and be Neutral, that they’d no be Neutral at all. They would still teach the Children a specific Ideological belief system, they’d still try to instil in them Ethical and Moral Values based upon Philosophical and Social Tenets that they have approved of, and still try to teach the Children to accept the world works a certain way. This is not really any different form the Faith Schools except what is Taught will likely be a Liberal Secular Humanist belief system, and that of course all Students will be required to go to it. That way, they hope to churn out dozens who basically embrace the same Humanist Philosophy that modern Academics love so much.

    But rather than come out and say that she wanted Children to learn her beliefs and to embrace her way of seeing the world and her moral and ethical standards, she relied on making Religion out to be a horribly biased and terribly divisive thing, and then presented hr supposedly Non-Religious alternative as the only way forward to a just and prosperous society, safe for all, and Equal for all.

    By Demonising Faith Schools as places were Children are Brainwashed and never get a Proper Education, and the cause of Social Strife, she then justified advocating for their closure when everyone knows the real reason was to make sure Children all learn the same perspective she has. Her Religion, though not called a Religion.

    The same bias exists here with Home Educators. The reason it is opposed is because the Home Educated Children do not learn the Government Approved Worldview they are suppose to be Indoctrinated with. They do not lean how to think and behave as proper Citizens in the Modern world as is understood by the same Academic Elites as oppose the Faith Schools.

    In the end, Home Educators pose a Danger to Society being reshaped by them into the sort of community they desire. They mean that the Children who are Home Educated won’t learn how to think and behave like the current Government wants them to. They won’t learn the Values, Ethics, Morals, and worldview of the modern-day powers-that-be.

    This means there is a good chance they won’t follow along in those beliefs unquestioningly into Adulthood.

    So obviously they are opposed.

  37. Lord Lucas
    Ralph Lucas
    03/09/2010 at 10:12 am

    Well, Organised Pauper, I don’t rate my chances of changing the minds of the zealots at the NSPCC, or yours for that matter. But if those of the NSPCC’s persuasion manage to force Home Education onto the legislative agenda again – my judgement is they will succeed (but not with this government) – it is intelligent debate like (most of) the comments above which will be needed to make HE’s case to the large majority of us for whom setting the boundary between state protection for children and parental freedom is an undecided issue.

    • 03/09/2010 at 10:34 am

      Lord Lucas, thanks as ever, for entering the debate.

      “intelligent debate” is certainly what is needed. However, it would appear that the minds of some are made up, and they wont be satisfied until all children are removed at birth and brought up in a state institution, as only the state can be trusted to bring up children properly. Isn’t that the logical conclusion?

    • 03/09/2010 at 1:41 pm

      Lord Lucas,
      I have noted Your Lordship’s interest in e-technologies in at least one debate. Perhaps part of the right approach to home education in the future is to really devise a cafeteria plan of e-services that assisst in education and provide further windows into home conditions.

      • Jemmo
        03/09/2010 at 3:12 pm

        Frank,

        Unfortunately your e-services idea misses the point that most home educators don’t want windows of any kind focused on them, and that assistance is interference if it is not asked for.

        This debate has always basically been about freedom from state scrutiny. In short: should I have to prove that my child is safe and well, or should the state have to prove that he/she isn’t?

        • 04/09/2010 at 1:50 pm

          Jemmo,
          Our disagreement is that between many and most. Some have sensitive personalities throughout the family and mothers who occasionaly sleep around, some are devout adherents to religions they just want to incoroporate more of it into the lessons and schedules, some travel, some have passions and huge talents they want to pursue disproportionately, some have mysterious poor health when in large groups all the time, some want their children to focus on sports or arts. These may or may not be a mjority in any given country — I am not a Brit. But the state avoiding principle is important to many for whom it is not the fighting line you would describe. You would be in the suspect categorty I think so rightly you resist the idea. I am not talking about intense scrutiny but there could be friendly services that keep both sides in touch…

      • 03/09/2010 at 7:36 pm

        Please get rid of persistently vapid and messy terminology, such as this surrounding the monopolistically-domineering and politicking-word “debating”:
        ‘debate’ means one side wins but the other side must altogether lose.

        What is needed first and foremost before professional and political “debating”, and certainly what we as an aspiring democratic-nation of People need, first and foremost before entering the competitive ‘to the death’ Debate stages, is sober Data-and-Evidence-Gathering, accompanied by continuing Discussion.

        Also we really should wake up to and avoid similarly fogging words such as “intelligent”; which in this instance of “intelligent-debate” is an oxymoronic misnomer, the purpose by definition of a Debate being for one set of real human needs to be thrown out altogether whilst a not-necessarily more sustain-worthy set of human needs gets 100% crowned, even usurpingly-so, as absolute Winner-Takes-All;

        and which in the instance of the “intelligence services” and “military intelligence” is not intelligence at all but only “information services” and “military information”; both of which depend upon a higher subsequent ‘brains-service’, such as GHQ, the Academic-Colleges, the PM & Cabinet, the Parliament Houses, to be the intelligently- interpretative, and respondent tactical or strategic action determining ‘service’.
        That I can see, there is nothing either overarchingly or underpinningly intelligent about the utterly fogged-up ‘professional’ ‘media’ and ‘popular’ usages of the two words ‘debate’ and ‘intelligent’.
        ——————
        That appreciated, two major-tracks need to be developed from the above Ralph Lucas’s (whether as lone public-commenter or as public-advocate Lord Lucas) and FWSummersIII’s submissions:
        firstly for informed-public-discussion ( NOT speciously “intelligent debating”) to take first priority;
        secondly get seriously into the easily affordable and hugely-potential recommendation sketched by FWSIII (in which I am including now paraphrasing and some of own ‘intelligence’):
        “… part of the right approach to ‘home-education’ in the future is to devise a real ‘cafeteria’-like plan of e-services” (sites such as the http://govt and http://lordsoftheblog and possibly certain websites too as http://www.home-educ ) “that not only would assist in effectively-delivering home-education but make possible further ‘windows’ into conditions prevailing within a home”.
        ——————-
        Alfred’s support might be clearer and stronger using the term “informed-public-discussion” (rather than “intelligent-debate”);
        and by identifying the mere one-sided premiss, “only the State can be trusted to bring up children properly”, as containing fallacy (but also noting that it does not have totally-fallacious contents e.g. “the State can be trusted to bring up children properly” might well be true whereas that “ ‘only’ the State can be trusted …” would be much easier to prove both fallacious and of destructive-intent).
        ——————–
        (JSDM1935F03Sep10)

  38. Mrs D
    03/09/2010 at 12:06 pm

    I am truly beginning to put your blogs down to a Lindsey Lohan/ Paris Hilton style publicity hungry attempt at attention seeking. Or even the yearnings of a Lord in the lunch room to be the blogger of the week, with the most hits. Is running a tab somewhere on who will make it big this month on the Lord of the Blog?

    I simply do not understand how a thoroughly educated, informed man of your statue, who claims to represent the people could possibly be as one eyed as you appear to be without having some kind of underlying agenda.

    The more compassionate side of my personality would rather suspect merely attention/ publicity seeking. It is a much nicer thought to have as I drift off to sleep than that of the more conspiriacist side of me.

    The side that suspects many of you are simply choosing a buffet education. Taking your plate, and wandering through the tables of media, judges reports, outcomes and findings of the tragic case of Khyra Ishaq and taking only those that appeal to your wayward appetites.

    Or worse, when that buffet all of a sudden has that nasty odour of nanny state and socialist control of family. Such as those permeating from the ill thought out conclusions and logic as seen in your blog above.

    Give us some hope Lord Soley and try reading some material that actually makes sense to the common people and attributes blame to those it really lies with.

    • 03/09/2010 at 7:46 pm

      Mrs D,

      I feel your comparison may be unfair to Lord Soley in several ways. However, as an American I feel more obliged to protest that to protest that my my two countrywomen bring certain things to the public offering that Lord Soley will simply not be able to provide. Therefore the comparison is quite unfair to them.

  39. autonomouse
    03/09/2010 at 10:42 pm

    Maybe if the Lords looked into why zealots in the NSPCC are driving policy, and put an end to it, then the whole issue surrounding home education would go away. It really is a non-issue. Let us not forget that learning is as natural as breathing, and if you don’t believe that then just try living one day without learning anything.
    Why is it that quango’s have more power and influence than our legislators? I don’t remember voting for the NSPCC! Mind you, I don’t remember voting for any of the Lords either. Ho-hum. The life of the mere proletariat is one to be seen to be believed in this country!

  40. OrganisedPauper
    03/09/2010 at 11:12 pm

    @Ralph Lucas. I was speaking of Lord Soley et al. With the NSPCC the trail is easier…follow the money. The NSPCC may as well be an official arm of the Labour Party such is continuous repeating of Labour party policy, official and unofficial, from that organisation. They know what side their bread’s buttered. The NSPCC couldn’t even bring itself to issue a proper apology when they tried erroneously to drag Victoria Climbie into the issue. Who incidentally was supposed to be cared for at one point in one of the NSPCC’s centres, but they were too busy organising a party and completely failed in their duty. We got just a half apology. They have no morals.

  41. ZAROVE
    04/09/2010 at 10:26 am

    Morals are not the realm of any special interest group, which is why I think the whole lot of them would look much better int he deep blue Sea than in office buildings, but thats just me.

    Home Education should not be so harassed, lets let Parents decide what type of School to send their Children and whats best. If the Child gets an adequate education, then what is the Harm? We already allow Children in abusive Homes to be removed, so thats not really a Factor.

  42. Peter
    05/09/2010 at 11:28 am

    You must resign at once Lord Soley over your remarks about Home Education it is not a welfare issue.Social service had many chance to help this girl but did not!

    • 01/10/2010 at 9:03 am

      Peter:
      You are trying to knock-down others, who have subscribed fair and effective Home Education, by attacking that subscription on a ground of “home education is not welfare”.

      What category of issue is Home education, then ?

      ===========
      JSDM0903F01Oct

      • Dave H
        01/10/2010 at 11:26 am

        That is exactly the point! Too many people are conflating education and welfare and the result is cases such as Khyra Ishaq. Home education is an education matter, the same as attending school. Being at school does not magically protect children from abuse.

        The previous government decided to muddy the waters and effectively accuse home educators of being child abusers by saying that extra monitoring and checks were needed to make sure it wasn’t happening. Unsurprisingly, home educators took offence at this and the big bunfight started.

  43. Mandy Potter
    05/09/2010 at 8:29 pm

    “…it is intelligent debate like (most of) the comments above which will be needed to make HE’s case to the large majority of us for whom setting the boundary between state protection for children and parental freedom is an undecided issue.”

    Do you think that home education serves parental freedom? I think that many home educators actually give up much of their freedom to educate their children. It would be much easier for home educators to dump their children in school.

    Additionally, with the many, many instances of where children have been failed miserably by the state, I doubt that the state is a) protecting children or b) really intending to protect children.

    If the state really intended to protect children, it would intervene in schools and prevent bullying getting to such a point that bullied children either express a wish to die or commit suicide rather than face any more of the torture.

    Perhaps the state is not interested in children’s welfare because it considers anyone not in a position of wealth and power to be a ‘human resource’, and that includes the young of our nation.

  44. Lord Blagger
    06/09/2010 at 11:02 am

    If the state really intended to protect children, it would intervene in schools and prevent bullying getting to such a point that bullied children either express a wish to die or commit suicide rather than face any more of the torture.

    ====================

    What surprises me is that more use is not made of injunctions. If you’re child is bullied, get an injunction that prevents the bully coming within 200 meters of your offspring. Do this without the knowledge of the school. If you get the injunction, you present that to the school, and the school has to exclude the bully. It makes it someone else’s problem.

  45. ZAROVE
    07/09/2010 at 9:16 pm

    An injunction won’t work if the Bully is required to go to that school if its the only one around.

  46. Lord Soley
    Clive Soley
    08/09/2010 at 3:26 pm

    I think the chances of reaching common ground with most of my readers on this subject are very limited!

    Some of you will know that I came to the meeting at the House of Commons so that I could hear your views and respond. Sometimes we just have to accept that there is little common ground between dissenting views.

    One of my duties is to discuss actual and potential legislation. I think this matter will return to the House and quite probably with the present government. Why? For a number of reasons one of which is about potential abuse. It really isn’t helpful or fair to simply blame social workers. Parents do have to take responsibility and unfortunately some are particularly cruel and some kill. Some of these parents are also very adept at using all means possible to keep social workers, doctors, police and others at bay. I spent much of my life with grossly disturbed and violent parents (many of whom had been victims of abusive parents themselves) and they can be exceptionally manipulative. They will use the power to take a child out of school if they think it is in their interest to do so. So there is a problem about the rights of the child in relation to the rights of the parents.
    Not all parents’ are kind, loving and able to provide education that gives the child a fair chance in life.

    There are no easy answers to this but I worry that most of the comments in this and previous posts refer to the rights of the adults more frequently than to the rights of the child and how we protect vulnerable children. Simply blaming social workers is not good enough.

    Finally let me make it very clear yet again that I have no problem with supporting the principle and practice of home education but it does need an improved regulatory framework.

    • 08/09/2010 at 5:07 pm

      Lord Soley,
      Perhaps I would have been kinder had I known your parents were as you describe them and your grandparents too. But how many parents could you really have?

    • Anna
      09/09/2010 at 8:20 am

      I don’t think any home educators, so far as I an aware, blame individul social workers for cases like this. Most home educators I have spoken with recognise that it is down to the system those social workers must work within. Didn’t some social workers in Birmingham have caseloads of around 50? Isn’t that far far higher than it should be. Speaking out about a lack of funding, staffing issues and inadaquate training is more like supporting social workers than blaming them.

    • James Overton
      10/09/2010 at 5:05 pm

      The difference between us and you Mr. Soley, is that our differences with you will not mean the end of your rights, whilst your irrational, hysterical and illogical personal prejudices could potentially mean that our rights are interfered with. This is unacceptable to all decent people, which we all are, and sadly, we cannot count you as one of our group.

      It is not your duty to look after all of the children of Great Britain. This is the hub of the matter. Your interests in the children of other people is unwarranted and completely out of your remit.

      Your argument that this matter will return to the house because of ‘potential abuse’ is a logical fallacy, as I described above. You simply cannot use this sort of bad reasoning to bring in legislation; it is absurd on its face and you can expect to be vigorously challenged on its merit, and even in the unlikely event of you succeeding in bringing in some barbaric new laws, no one will obey them, and you do not have the resources to enforce them.

      You say yet again that some parents are cruel and some kill. This is, again, the same fallacy; just because some parents are bad, you cannot extend this characteristic to all parents. As for cruelty, this is not a matter for you to measure or legislate. There are some busy bodied nobodies who believe that children being made to do dishes and chores is ‘cruelty’ and that this should be outlawed. This is precisely the sort of nanny state nonsense we expect from your type. It is foolishness of the most pure kind, and we will not succumb to it.

      I note that as you smear parents, you claim that they have the ‘power’ to remove their children from school, when in fact, they have the right to do so. You use this formulation because you do not believe that parents have rights at all, and that the state is the parent of all children. This is a very telling and disturbing misuse of English.

      All Home Educators in the UK are now aware of what you are talking about when you use the phrase ‘rights of the child’; we all understand now that you actually mean, “our right to control children”. None of your doublespeak is washing anymore, and you will not be allowed to use the fallacious ‘rights of the child’ to gain access to children for your sinister ends.

      There is in fact, a very simple answer to all of this; stay away from the subject of Home Education, concentrate on making the schools that the state runs as good as they possibly can be, and transform them into places where children are not bullied, assaulted and murdered and made into functional illiterates.

      You have no right to control families and children; it is not within your gift, your competence, and you are simply not insightful, ethical or intelligent enough to do so were it your place to be instructing us. Stop worrying about other people’s lives. You will live longer.

      Home Educators do not need or seek your approval or support. There is no ‘regulatory framework’ for Home Education to be improved upon, one should not be created, and in all honestly, you are on a hiding to nothing…. unless of course, you expect yourself to manoeuvre yourself so that you are in line for an £80,000 windfall of the kind your colleague Graham Badman received for manufacturing a report whose conclusion was known from the start.

      Your continued interest in this subject and your unfathomable, irrational and sinister interest in the children of other people is a scandal. Drop this subject before you discredit yourself any further is my advice.

  47. Jilly_UK
    08/09/2010 at 5:57 pm

    Potential abuse, if we legislate for every potential something or other we won’t be able to move out of our armchair without being checked for one thing or another. Cruel parents can kill if their children go to school. How do we weed those out? It’s been proved that if didn’t work in Khyra Ishaqs and her siblings cases did it. They were reported time and time again.
    The state is not responsible for legislating everything, and it should stop trying to.

    As for schools providing an education, can you tell me why in the area that I live that we are now into the second generation of state dependent, jobless, drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals living on benefits? Surely the school education they received prepared them for the job market? Why can’t they spell correctly? Of course, I forgot it doesn’t matter does it, they played the game and did what the big boys of the state wanted. They are kept in their council houses not wanting any better, just like the Labour Government wanted.

    Michael Gove and Graham Stuart and a great many more members of the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition actually ‘get’ what home education is about and they also understand that you don’t penalise the majority just in case a few of the minority foul up.

    There is a massive case of rent seeking by people (maybe you yourself are? ) who can see that there is money to be made doing consultations and training etc etc. They don’t mind that they are eroding our freedoms and potentially damaging our childrens educations. Please stick to things you know about and leave our children to us.

    • 10/09/2010 at 10:29 pm

      “Your” children actually belong to Earth-Life and to Just and Sustain-worthy Civilisation within that Earth_life.

      So where is your qualification to be a parent in the first place ?
      Do you have a Certificate of Competence-to-Parent a child ? and thereafter a Certificate of Competence to Educate a child (at home )?

      No.

      Lord Soley is thus addressed because of his Duty to uphold an office of Upper-House parliamentary-responsibility (and response-ability).

      It was and is considered by many mature and sober-minded adults, like yourself presumably, thathe has sufficient Competence to discharge that duty as a ‘Lord’; so we have an extra duthy to ditinguish the words of Lord Soley from those of Clive or as James Overton was calling him just before your posting, “Mr” Soley.

      The three principles that are necessary to clear thinking, sound-argumentation, and good-communication are
      1 Clarity
      2 Charity
      3 Self-correction
      (ISBN 0 9596196 0 7 “Inductive and Practical Reasoning” page 2).
      ===========
      JSDMF2230F10Sep10.

      ————–

  48. Sue
    08/09/2010 at 7:31 pm

    Lord Soley,

    Children AND parents have the right to privacy in their home and this is in the Convention on the Rights of a child. OFSTED inspectors wandering through their homes, checking their bedding (and smelling it), opening cupboard doors (both clothing and kitchen), opening the fridge, writing notes on clipboards, taking them into a room to interrogate them is NOT giving them privacy in their home and is clearly in contradiction to the Convention on the rights of the child.

    You are confusing child welfare with education the two are not linked. If this is about education provision, then a simple report would suffice, if this is about safeguarding children, that is a separate issue and has nothing to do with home education at all. There are already powers in place and protocols in place that social workers are NOT following.

    Social workers are not at all interested in protecting the children they claim to be. They are interested in meeting adoption targets.

    Given the choice between a case where the child is home educated and a Baby P case, which case will get the most attention, the easy one which is the home educated child where they can sit and see a well loved child and get a nice cuppa too. They will put that child on the ‘at risk register’ and not let them off and visit them every 3 months! Then another Baby P will die because they are wasting time and resources on children who are loved and looked after.

    I know someone in the UK who is going through this exact scenario. She looks after her children and the social workers say that she is doing a good job, yet they refuse to take her children off the at risk register despite *she* did nothing to them! She has been on it for 18 months and nothing has gone on but yet the social workers insist on visiting her at their whim and fancy which could be every 10 days or every 5 days or 2 months. Her children hate the social workers being in their midst. The oldest child has a meltdown in front of them and they blame it on her!

    They won’t let her have any friends either. Every person that she wants to befriend must go through CRB clearance and the friend’s children (if they have any) must be checked out as well to make sure that they are not being abused and safe etc.

    So Lord Soley, answer me this, why is someone who is not abusive, not neglectful being made out to be a criminal and a child abuser when her only mistake was to be a battered spouse? She left that relationship and has not had any contact with the abuser for 18 months but SHE is being abused by social workers.

    Meanwhile the children like Baby P are not being looked after because these social workers are too busy nannying her! She also home educates and these social workers are trying to FORCE her LA to issue a school attendance order when the LA have no problems with her education provision. How is that respecting her? How is that respecting her children’s privacy? They wander through whatever rooms they like, and do not give her children any privacy in their home. Again, not following the Convention on the rights of the child. The child is not to be subjected to unlawful harassment in their home and yet her children and she are subjected to this harassment every two weeks.

    We who are home educators do not want these vile people in our homes! I certainly do not want them in my bedroom, rooting around my drawers and cupboards and my children would not want them in their rooms either – my oldest wants her privacy and social workers going into her bedroom is in violation of that. She is a young lady and not a baby. Would you like this Lord Soley? Would you? if so, give us your address and we will all take turns at random making ‘appointments’ to come and carry out an inspection of your home. We will show you what the LA EHE Officers want to do! We will show you what OFSTED wants to do to home educators. I’ll come with my white gloves and make sure that your home is sanitary. I will give your home such a thorough inspection and confiscate any unhealthy items (anything I deem unhealthy at my whim and fancy).

    OFSTED goes into schools, they inspect, they mark them down for anything and then put the school on notice to improve. That means they can return every 3 months and inspect them at random without any notice. These inspectors are treated like royalty because they LORD over the heads of the school that they have all this power over them! They have the power to stop the random inspections and they have the power to continue them. They more often than not choose to continue them, rather than letting the school get on with it. I know a head teacher who took over a school that was put on notice to improve and she said her dealings with OFSTED were very stressful.

    How is that helpful to the students at the school? How is that helpful to the staff?

    How would these draconian measures be helpful in people’s homes? How is this respecting a child’s right to privacy in their home? It’s not at all! I have a free time slot to do an inspection of your home on Saturday morning, 6 am sharp. I have put it in my diary, please be available.

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