Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ten reasons why home educated children should not be forcibly registered with their local authorities.

Home educated children must be registered says Stroud's MP Neil Carmichael (new Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Education):

"I think it should be compulsory. It would enable the local authority to get a better grip on home education and also help with child protection. I am a great believer in freedom of choice, but it would be better if children who are home educated were known about," said Mr Carmichael.

Labour county councillor Barry Kirby gave a good response as to why it should not be compulsory for home educating parents to be registered:

"He said that many parents who home educated can see no advantage in registering and that the social services provision already exists to protect vulnerable children."

I'm guessing he supplied several more reasons which were subsequently edited out for brevity. Here are a few more. In fact, let's call this post "Ten reasons why home educated children should not be forcibly registered with their local authorities." (NB: I can come up with ten more, and ten more, and a further ten after that if needs be. I'm sure other home educators can as well!)

1. The statistics show there is no link between home education and child abuse. Assuming (without checking) that there is a link is therefore *prejudice*.

2. Parents know their children better than officials do. Officials might think they are experts in a child's education but in home ed, the parent is the expert and they should not have to answer to officials about their children's education other than to minimally allay any Section 437 specific concerns.

3. The statistics show there is no link between home education and child abuse. Assuming (without checking) that there is a link is therefore *prejudice*.

4. The involvement of local authorities and their agents in family home life is usually quite stressful for children and their parents. The normal flow of learning is interrupted to make time for the required presentations and explanations.

5. The statistics show there is no link between home education and child abuse. Assuming (without checking) that there is a link is therefore *prejudice*.

6. Compulsory registration is the top of a slippery slope that leads to the sort of Badmanesque hell that forces parents to apply for a licence every year and being made to jump through various hoops (and coerce their children to do the same) in order to be allowed to continue home educating.

7. The statistics show there is no link between home education and child abuse. Assuming (without checking) that there is a link is therefore *prejudice*.

8. Home education families do not have the same lobbying powers as children's charities - this does not mean the charities should be treated as experts on the issue or their biased and mistaken opinions trusted. Children's charities have an agenda with regard to home education and get things badly wrong in its persuance. I don't know whether to include Barnardos in that broad brush, but it does provide alternative education provision, a previous executive did sit on Badman's panel of so-called 'experts' on home education, and Neil Carmichael had a meeting with its current CEO around the same time as he was publicly voicing his opinions about our registration.

9. The statistics show there is no link between home education and child abuse. Assuming (without checking) that there is a link is therefore *prejudice*.

10. The oft-used argument for compulsory registration contains no less than *fifteen* inexplicable leaps of logic, cites irrelevant legislation and even draft versions of government guidance to make its desperate case. It would be a brave - some might say, foolhardy? - politician who opted to promote it, especially one from the side of the House we have been able to rely on (to date) in the preserving of our peaceful family lives.



Yes, the above list contains some repetition but this seems sadly necessary, as Mr Carmichael has been a member of the Commons Education Select Committee for some years now, including sitting through one inquiry into home education during which his input was at times perplexing, to say the least. But we can go there in much greater detail at a later date, if needs be. Anyway, despite these years of experience and presumably acquired knowledge, he still makes the rookie mistake of conflating home education with child abuse, even though the contradicting statistics could not be clearer. I hope he desists from pushing this damagingly incorrect and prejudiced notion in future.

4 Comments:

Blogger Simon Webb said...

Gill tells us that the 'statistics' show that there is no link between home education and abuse. This isn't really true and to see why, we need only look at the situation in this country around home education.

When Ofsted conducted their survey of home education in late 2009, the inspectors spoke to the parents of 130 children. A quarter of these either had a statement of special educational needs or, when deregistered, had been at the stage known as ‘school action plus’; meaning that they needed extra support to cope with a special educational need (Ofsted, 2010). Other surveys have similarly found a high proportion of home educated children with special needs (Hopwood et al, 2007).

I think that most home educating parents will be aware that these figures reflect accurately the situation today. Let us work with the figure of 25% of home educated children having special needs or disabilities for the time being and see what the implications are for the risk of neglect and abuse of home educated children as a group.

Children with disabilities and special educational needs are at greatly increased risk of being physically, sexually or emotionally abused and/or being neglected. The largest survey conducted of this phenomenon was undertaken in the United States almost fifteen years ago. 40,000 children with disabilities or special educational needs were involved and such children were found to be about four times as likely to be neglected or physically abused as children without such difficulties (Sullivan & Knutson, 2000). The great majority of this neglect and abuse took place in the home.

There are many imponderables here, but if we use the figures provided by such research as that cited above, then we find that that 25% of home educated children, those with disabilities or special needs, are likely to contain four times as many incidents of neglect or physical abuse, compared with children who do not have their special needs. Looking at home educated children as a group, this has the effect of increasing the likely incidence of neglect and abuse by 75% overall. This means that taking a home educated child at random, that child is 75% more likely to be the victim of neglect or abuse than a child at school, purely as a result of this one factor.

Here then are a few statistics which do not really back up the claim which is repeatedly made above.

10:18 pm, January 26, 2016  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Simon, that's most helpful. Could you now please go on to explain how a compulsory register for home educated children, containing only their names and addresses, would offer them any protection from abuse or neglect?

10:01 am, January 27, 2016  
Blogger Simon Webb said...

Yes, I shall explore how a compulsory register would help, elsewhere in the comments on this blog. My purpose here was simply to point out that repeating many times in large print that, 'The statistics show there is no link between home education and child abuse' does not make it true. In fact the statistics, as I have pointed out above, tend towards the opposite conclusion.

1:07 pm, January 27, 2016  
Blogger Deh Daagneer said...

Annonymous. Appreciate data & respect opinions, but why use statistics in USA, years ago....We dont live in USA, but that aside; is any of the data from Freedom of Information - UK? That disabled/special ed children are abused more if home educated? There are, of course, cases of abuse by those in school towards disabled/special ed children too. Please would someone clarify these stats, either FOI or other, but not from USA or EU, but UK.Not convinced children with disabilities/SEND in Local Authorities are abused more if home educated, or more than any other not with their disablities...Although interesting to read, is anyone in agreement that children/young adults etc, in school, or registered, known to LA, are also open to abuse, neglect etc? Any "slipped through an already regulated system"? I have seen on the news of such cases, but this may not be in agreement with others. So, advise on how many children have died, been hospitalised, abused, neglected etc, that are/were registered & attend/ed school would be most helpful, and balance the argument, provide a good debate. Thank you, respectfully.

9:28 pm, October 14, 2016  

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