Monitoring – a very sensitive issue

There was a report in the press at the end of last year which raised the issue of monitoring and registering of home educating families with the Local Authorities.

Westminster council wants to impose annual visits to home educating families which some believe infringes their rights as parents. (Read it here)

This has always been a sensitive issue for families who home educate.

The government has long been trying to enforce registration of all home educated children so that numbers and whereabouts are known to authorities, citing ‘safeguarding’ as a reason for doing so.

But many families feel that the welfare of children is not the government’s primary purpose; their real purpose is to maintain control, rather than acknowledge the success of parents educating differently. After all, home school success throws into question the value of schooling.

It’s an issue I’ve often pondered.

I can see how some, ignorant of home education, would feel that home educated children could be in danger of being isolated and their education neglected, even be at risk of being abused in this scenario. But this kind of isolation is extremely rare. Yet there are cases of children being abused who are known to the authorities, who do go to school, so the safeguarding issue is hardly a valid argument. And if those involved would do some deeper research into the practises of home educators and the outcomes they achieve it would become clear that the education of these children is not a matter for concern. Overall, home educated children develop into skilled, social, intelligent young people who go on to work or higher education just as others do.

The real issue here is one of the authorities wanting control.

Education, ever since it became formalised through schooling, has become a strong political force. It is a way of controlling what people think, what they do, how they organise themselves, how they live their lives, how and what they earn and how they operate within the big machine of industry and consumerism – which of course lines the pockets of the government. And education is also an emotive lever politicians use mercilessly to win votes.

Schooling has become a political tool – which it never should be. It is tightly controlled by narrow, restrictive outcomes – which are not needed. Tested and inspected by people making heinous judgements to an agenda that has little to do with the individual’s needs and more to do with institutional needs.

It is the thought of these school-conditioned, result-blind, narrow minded and often bigoted officers coming into our homes and making assessments about educational approaches of which they are totally ignorant, that home educators abhor.

Home educators are successfully operating and educating outside those governmental controls and ministers don’t like it – that’s what their registration argument is really about.

Home education success shows up the enforced schooling processes as not the only approach to developing intelligent, productive and valuable members of society. It also demonstrates that parents, not politicians, can make intelligent and valid choices about the education of their children without elitist ministers – who have absolutely no concept of how the majority outside their wealthy little enclaves live – taking control of it.

Home educating families have already proved that we don’t need to be monitored or registered for children to be safe, sensitively and intelligently educated. Something that schooling doesn’t always achieve!

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5 thoughts on “Monitoring – a very sensitive issue

  1. Nice post, Ross. Yes, it all makes no sense. Why don’t they look after the children that they are responsible for – the ones they have a duty of care for – the ones in school? It only falls into place when you think ‘control’.

  2. I accommodate my local LA visit, she’s an ex deputy head and I think she recognises school isn’t for everyone. She’s a nice woman and I think she’s sees education in just about everything.
    But visits are laughable when you consider that I went locally to school in the same borough and smoking taking drugs and LSD were common place on school grounds.
    Plus the caretaker used to lock me and two of my girlfriends in a large cleaning cupboard so we could bunk off classes. We thought it was great at the time! Looking back its terrifying.
    Maybe they should turn the attention onto why so many young people are self harming in our schools today? the list of other areas that could use the limelight instead would be endless which leads me to conclude that yes its more about control than genuine concern for welfare of the happy, smiley, intelligent, thriving home educated children I see.

    • Great comment Shannon – thank you! And I agree – maybe they should examine why so many kids are bunking off education and so many families wanting to opt out and HE anyway! x

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