Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Politics of Home Education

Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster, Conservative): "Parents are increasingly turning to home schooling because of their concerns about the provision of primary and secondary education in central London. That issue was raised with me only last week by two constituents, and I hope to raise it in a future Westminster Hall debate. Two concerned mothers, Mrs. Helen White and Mrs. Tina Robbins, both decided to educate their children at home, because they were worried about the quality of education in the state sector, particularly with regard to the restrictive curriculum and the culture of levelling down, rather than encouraging excellence. We have an obsessive approach to equality in the educational establishment, and there is an increasing view, perhaps understandably, given the furore over the baby P case and others, that educating children at home is an issue not only for education departments, but for social services. There is more of a disincentive to go down the route of home education, yet some of our most dedicated parents are deciding to educate their children in that way, which in many ways should be welcomed in relation to choice and diversity. The only downside is that it is often a reflection of parents' despair about the quality of education offered by the state.

Comment 1

I am seriously worried about the inability of politicians and members of so-called children's charities to understand that, if anyone has concerns about home educated children, THEN they have the same recourse to call in Social Services.

BABY P was NOT home educated. Victoria Climbie was NOT home educated.

Would you please stop showing your prejudices and misconceptions about one of the most loving groups of people of society? Home educationg parents sacrifice a lot of their lives to MAKE SURE THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE NOT ABUSED AT SCHOOLS. You cannot accuse even a small group of parents of being child-abusers. There are laws to protect people from such defamation. Concentrate on reducing or banning child-to-child bullying/ teacher-to-child bullying and general coercion in schools. That's what you could do instead of maligning home educators who do a terrific job of educating AND keeping their own children safe.

I resent your implication that I would ever abuse any child, never mind my own.

Please be more careful what you are saying.

Comment 2

"We have an obsessive approach to equality in the educational establishment, and there is an increasing view, perhaps understandably, given the furore over the baby P case and others, that educating children at home is an issue not only for education departments, but for social services."

This sentence makes very little sense. Baby P was 17 months old when he died, he cannot be described as home educated. His treatment was indeed an issue for social services, who failed him.

Home education, on the other hand, is not an issue for social services at all, but purely a legal alternative to state or private schooling, accorded precisely the same legal status in law. I fail to see why it should be regarded as something to be worried about, and I'd be grateful if MPs could inform themselves further on the situation as it is, rather than the situation as it is presented in the headlines.

MPs and indeed the public at large would do well to remember that it is parents who have responsibility for the education for their children and they are equally at liberty to discharge that themselves at home or to send their children to a state school. My understanding of the law is that children are required to be in school from the term immediately after their 5th birthday, so perhaps part of the problem here in the lack of school places is that so many children are in school who are not required to be.

Many countries in Europe start formal education later than us, and have better educational outcomes. Perhaps these are the avenues we should be exploring, rather than working out how rapidly we can put up alternatives to portacabins.

source

No comments: