Another day, another “attack” on home educators. The story first broke in the Independent, but I saw the first mention on this Mumsnet thread. [Quick aside: the Mumsnet home-education topic is excellent, with a small number of prolific supportive posters; but when home-ed comes up on Mumsnet outside of that topic, it does tend to get a little, er, shrill.]
The story itself is sadly familiar. It boils down to, “some people who home educate their children do bad things, therefore the freedom to choose to home educate should be curtailed and controlled.” (In fact, this time around it’s actually “We haven’t done much about illegal unregistered schools at which some people do bad things which reminds us that some people who home educate do bad things therefore…”)
Start with the general lack of knowledge about the facts about home education, and add in to the mix a bit of muslim/christian/any-religion/immigrant bashing, and the comments are predictable enough.
What amazes me though is that nobody gets beyond the sound and fury of accusations of abuse and radicalisation and welfare and all the rest to get to the real agenda: this isn’t about religious schooling, or even about home education, it’s about the monetisation and creeping commercialisation of organised education. Home education is just the proving ground, the test bed.
Yes, I’m sure there’ll be no monetary effect at first. First registration, then compulsory checks, then curriculum advice followed by curriculum materials – and all paid for by diverting your child’s £6000pa from the LEAs to commercial organisations who will be happy to provide these “services”. From there, it’s a very short hop to all schoolkids being offered study packs, “curriculum support”, fees for examinations beyond an officially sanctioned number and timetable. And so on. And so on.
Education and health – the two last bastions of nationalisation, where it’s still unacceptable to say you’re going to privatise. So governments have to find ways to privatise by stealth.
As always, Grit has it dead on…
[Story re-hashed at the Guardian, Telegraph (paywall), Daily Mail]