Browse > Home / Uncategorized / Those who can, teach – like parents!

| Subcribe via RSS

Those who can, teach – like parents!

June 25th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized by

schooliiiAs a matter of principle, Liberal Democrats should support home educators in their opposition to Graham Badman’s recommendations in the Review of Elective Home Education in England.  However, I fear the Party leadership will not do so.  Instead, it looks at though it will be seeking to find a ‘balance’ between the rights of parents to decide for themselves how best to educate their children, and the collective welfare of children as a whole.

Why am I so concerned that the Party may side with collectivism as opposed to defending individual rights?  Upon seeking clarification on the Party’s policy on home education from Cowley Street’s policy boffs, and in particular on the Badman recommendations, I was reliably informed of the need to find that balance.  In short, I was told the Party is generally supportive of the Badman recommendations.

I have several problems with siding with this subjective piece of rubbish.  As a libertarian, I say the Party should not be endorsing coerced collectivism at all.  Sure, if a group of parents want to voluntarily come together and register their children with the State and the evil database that is ContactPoint, then let them do so.  I would say they are foolish in their choice but they should be free to do so nonetheless.

If however, parents decide they want nothing to do with the State, they too should be free to exercise their rights.

Under the Badman proposals home educators will not be permitted their rights.  They will be forced to register their children with their local education authority, and their children will be entered onto the ContactPoint register, and if parents’ standard or type of education doesn’t conform with that which is prescribed by the State – which most of us know to be crap – then the freedom to home educate their children will be denied them.  Opposition to this is a matter of principle for all Liberal Democrats.

Of course, if a child is being abused – which, as an aside, government do-gooders have attempted to use as a justification for more regulation and control of home education – then that is another matter.  No-one should be aggressed against contrary to their will.  If there are victims of abuse, then the full weight of relevant laws should fall upon the aggressors.

If however a child is not receiving an ‘adequate’ education, this in itself should be no business of the State’s to resolve.  Despite it being written in man-made Human Rights laws (that by the way also protect the State so should perhaps be referred to as Human and States’ Rights laws)  the truth is that under natural law no-one has a right to education.

Yes, it would be nice if every single human being on this planet had access to not just a ‘suitable’ education, but excellent education too; but I say this again, no-one has a ‘right’ to education.  For if they had, the question is then what standard of education?  Mediocre to poor?  For that is the general standard delivered by the State to our children.

If people want better than the State can provide, they should be able to opt out of State provision without fear of threat and hindrance from government and its agents.  They should have unrestricted freedom to choose what they believe is best for their own kids because – and this is a fundamental point – the kids belong to the parents, not to society or government!

Once bureaucrats gets involved and starts dictating the terms, quoting laws and targets, the already high standards that are achieved in most cases through home education – and indeed independent sector education – will be dragged down to State level.

I hope the Party leadership sees sense and doesn’t allow the collectivist malaise undermine home educators’ freedoms, for if it does, it may as well ditch the word ‘Liberal’ and replace it with ‘Social’.

106 Responses to “Those who can, teach – like parents!”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    This letter has recently been sent to a HE parent by David Laws

    Dear xx

    Thank you for your recent letter and attendance at my various surgeries.

    You raise a number of questions and I answer below

    1) As I have made extremely clear, my primary concern has nothing whatsoever to do with child abuse. I simply think that there needs to be a sensible system of oversight to ensure that all children-those that are being educated in school and those that are being educated at home-have a reasonable quality of education.

    2) Discussing what I mean by ‘light touch’, what I mean by this is that any oversight should be as un-intrusive as possible, and should focus simply on ensuring that there is a basic minimum standard of education which is being delivered-rather than seeking to intervene and meddle and impose the government’s own basic educational model by the back door.

    3) I certainly think that there needs to be suitable training and guidance for local authority staff so that they strike the right balance between the various objectives which I set out above. There also needs to be proper funding to support those young people who are being home educated when they need other support for example with examinations.

    4) I do not think I was conflating/confusing the issue of absence or truanting with EHE. But it is quite possible for there to be different motivations behind parents desire to home educate and decent system of oversight needs to recognise this and ensure that HE is a positive decision and is not simply a negative decision about existing local schools.

    5) You ask whether I believe there should be a system of oversight even if there was only one or a small number of children ever found to be suffering from not having a suitable education. Frankly I do not thinking any of us know precisely what quality of home education is that is being received, therefore I do not think that there should be a system of oversight which is capable of taking into account the needs of all children. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions before, we still inspect schools even although there is no evidence that many schools are providing a poor education. However, inspection is usually proportionate to any evidence that there is about legitimate concerns-and this should be clearly the case with home education as well.

    6) As far as statistics used on home educated are concerned, if you believe that the existing statistics used by Badman Review are inaccurate or misleading then I would strongly suggest that you write to the Chair of the Department of Children Schools and Families select committee, bringing attention to the statistics that you believe are correct. The chairman of the committee is Barry Sheerman, MP, and you can write to him at the House of Commons, London SW1A0AA

    With best wishes

    Yours sincerely,
    David Laws MP

    Lib Dem Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

  2. OrganisedPauper Says:

    I’ve seen that letter circulated on a lot of home education lists. What David Laws seems not to understand is that it is parents that are legally responsible for their childrens’ education not schools.

    Schools are answerable to the tax payer as they receive funds and parents and it is parents who have ultimate legal responsibility. It is for this reason that schools are inspected.

    The general concensus of opinion, after the circulation of this letter, is that home educators, their supporters and families, are about as likely to vote Lib Dem as hell freezing over. Certainly I would dissuade anyone I know from voting for them.

    It’s a shame as some individual Lib Dem MPs have been found to be supportive and have fully grasped the issues, but it seems the party as a whole is not a friend of home education.

    For MPs and other interested parties AHEd (Action for Home Education) has prepared a briefing paper regarding home education, the review, issues and the law as it stands.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    “The general concensus of opinion, after the circulation of this letter, is that home educators, their supporters and families, are about as likely to vote Lib Dem as hell freezing over.”

    Indeed I have voted for them in ignorance for years, assuming that they were indeed liberal.

    Still that was my misunderstanding. It takes an erosion of our liberty for some of us to understand what liberal really means.

    This home education sure teaches us parents a great deal.

  4. Philip Says:

    I agree the Lib Dem party line is out of step with public sentiment let alone HE parents. What David laws states may be the party line but if Badman ‘believes’ (as he states 17 times in his Badman Review) and he may well have misread the national statistics to both the CoE and the NSPCC. The NSPCC has just been critcised (August 2009) for using 10 year old statistics by the ASA (advertising Standards Association) The CofE and NSPCC have both apologised by Letter (July 2009)about the reports attributed to HE in the Press about potential ‘parental abuse’from DCSF and NSPCC. There is also the delicate matter of ‘Rewards’for favourable Reviews. Badman was awarded a CBE In January 2009 (at the start of the Review) and been made a chair of BECTA in July 2009 (at the end of the review). A UN ambassador in August 2009 mentioned (by Ed Balls) as being awarded a’Sir’ in the honours list in ther new year. The conduct of the Review is bought into question by the HM Parliamentary Select Committee this September and the entire bill is being rushed through at the end of an unpopular Government notorious for ‘dodgy dossiers’. You have the cheek to write to us about ‘quality of Education’ equality when we know that we have acted because of the lack of local ‘quality education’. The ‘Every Child Matters’ bill is full of presumption that YOU should be worried about. This stance is very worrying for Liberal party supporters. You are supporting an invasion of privacy not seen since the last war. It will not ‘safeguard children’ but turn children into ‘victims’ and ‘liabilities’. It is discrimination of a most insidious creeping nature that bankrupts moral and legal parental responbibilty to perverts in the DCSF.

  5. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » Gavin Webb sees the light Says:

    […] Gavin Webb was a Liberal Democrat councillor at Stoke on Trent. He called himself a ‘Libertarian Liberal Democrat‘, which of course, makes no sense at all: […] Are you a Libertarian, or are you a Liberal […]

  6. Jacquetta Says:


    Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Those who can, teach – like parents!