Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Home Education and the Childrens Schools and Families Bill

I shall speak on the bill in the Queen's speech debate tomorrow. Here's an outline of what I intend to say. Additions, comments and brickbats all welcome.

This (the HE section of the bill) is an ill-thought-out, Ill-defined, illiberal and unjustified, and should be removed from the bill.

Mostly based on innuendo - no proper research. NSPCC assertions. Ofsted cloak and dagger underway now.

The few statistics the impact assessment contains are dodgy, e.g 4x NEET percentage

20% unsatisfactory ed - unspecified and v dodgy basis - compares well with Ofsted's view of state education. Bullying % wd look pretty good too.

Cost £20million pa - £1,000 per HE child - to be spent on monitoring. And this in relation to a community that receives no help with exam costs, no help with text books, no educational support, none of the other benefits school kids receive. £1,000 pa could do a power of good if spent on such things - and LA would get to see education in action.

There is no recognition of autonomous education or alternative curricula - they are to be corralled into QCDA's 'exemplar curricula'

There is to be no proper training of LA officials

There is no provision for a truly independent appeal tribunal.

- true, some of these things are referred to obliquely, or in skeleton form, but so fuzzily that the outcome might be anything from acceptable to horrific.

There is no reference to additional funding for LAs

The right to educate one's own children is to be taken away, and only returned annually on ther LA's sufferance

There may be some measures that ought to be put in place for HEs - e.g. LA training, LA support - but this should be done on the basis that HE parents are doing the state and society a great service.

They are providing for the education of tens of thousands of children who have been failed by the state, and who would cost the state dear if they stayed on in school.

We ought to celebrate them, see how best we can help them, not subject them to rules and intrusions that we would not accept for our own children.

I look to my front bench to confirm that they will kill Schedule 1 in the washup.