March 09, 2004
The threat to regulate home educators recedes (for now) – because it wasn't child abuse after all

Where would I be without helpful emailers? (See also: immediately below.)

One of my many unpaid research assistants, Tim Haas, emails me with update news from the BBC about the recent threat to regulate Home Schooling.

Here is the original scare story that this all refers to.

Says Tim:

Of course the headline and subhead ignore the real story - that the welfare manager who called for more stringent regulation because of a case of home educator abuse was completely wrong - but the rest of it isn't so bad.

Indeed. Sample quote from the new BBC story:

A leading education welfare manager has apologised for stating wrongly that a child, who died from natural causes, had been subjected to abuse.

Jenny Price, general secretary of the Association of Education Welfare Managers, said she regretted that the information, published in good faith, had been incorrect.

And, having had complaints from home educators, Mrs Price says it is clear some education authorities "do not fully understand the home education ethos".

You can almost hear the angry phone calls, can't you? Phrases involving "fingers" and "burnt" suggest themselves, or even other phrases involving "stick" and "hornet's nest".

I can't remember when I said it, but I definitely did say, here, some time or other ago (yes – I said it here), that the Home Education "commmunity" (which really is something of a community) is too dangerous a beast to be simply steamrollered by the state education machine. If Home Education was at all severely messed with, the politics of this would be horrendous for the messer, I think.

Here's what I put here on May 12 2003, apropos of whether Home Ed might ever spread to France. I apparently talked with someone about how …

… any government which took on the home-schoolers of Britain would have got itself the Political Enemies from Hell. Think of all those terrifyingly bright children who'd overrun morning television. Consider the fact that many home-schoolers have considerable demonstrating experience. I may not hold with their political views about war, peace, etc., but these people do know how to lay on a good demo and to mobilise the media. And they must be, almost by definition, among the most intellectually self-confident people around.

Of course I hope that isn't just wishful thinking, but I really do think that.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:02 PM
Category: Home educationPolitics