Memorandum submitted by Gill Bowden
Parental responsibility for educating children 2. Entry to the home 3. Interviewing children without parents present 4. Planning and anticipated achievement 5. Inappropriateness of school teaching methods and learning techniques in home-education 6. Home-schooling does not equate to child abuse 7. Individual educational needs require individual solutions
1. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure their child has an appropriate education. If this is not the case then it is no longer appropriate for parents to be held accountable for truanting children either.
2. Legally, even the police cannot enter your home without a warrant, even if they believe you have committed a crime. Homeeducating parents have committed no crime but it is being suggested that officers will have access without a warrant to the home, with no suspicion of any wrong-doing.
will EVER interview my child in a closed room without myself or my husband
there to ensure they are not bullied, co-erced, lied
to or in any other way abused. I will leave the
4. Planned learning and anticipated achievement is not an appropriate medium to judge the sucess or otherwise of home-education. The updated curriculum for Early Years is designed with the child at the centre of and leading the learning process,this is the same with home-educating - it is the needs, requirements and interests of the child that leads the learning. This has been shown in recent research to be the most appropriate way to encourage learning and love of learning. Predicting grades is difficult for even trained teachers to carry out, and are often incorrect when teachers do them - to threaten to force children to return to school if these predicted grades are not met is unreasonable and worrying for both parents and, more importantly, children. Predicting grades is also setting upper limits on achievement, let children achieve what they achieve without setting limits for them.
5. Enforcing teaching practices and methods in a home-schooling environment is both inappropriate and impractical. Homes do not have the same resources as schools, nor do schools have the same resources as homes. Teaching methods applicable to 30 children in a class are inappropriate for a single or small number of children, and it is vitally important for home-school children that much of their learning involves socialising with other children in order to maintain friendships, develop social skills and the ability to work as part of a group. This requires that learning takes place out of the home; in other homes, places of interest, on the beach, in the park. In many, many cases children are taken out of school because the manner of teaching and the curriculum do not inspire, encourage and provide a suitable education for individual children so to enforce this in the home defeats the point of teaching children at home, forcing the child to work within a system that does not suit their needs.
6. The implication that parents who choose to home-school their children are more likely (or even as likely) to abuse their children, has no proof whatsoever as admitted by Badman himself, and to imply that this is the case is offensive and slanderous. Home-schooling parents are making this choice as they care about their children's welfare and have not left them in an environment which does not suit their learning or makes them unhappy. This is often done at the detriment of other aspects of the family life, such as financial, as the child's welfare is paramount - this is not abuse, this is good parenting. In the high profile cases of child abuse that have inspired this report the children were known to social services, GPs and hospital staff - and most were in a form of daycare, these children were not home-schooled nor 'out of the system' (which appears to be the main fear), but this did not save them.
7. Home-schooled children are not hidden, there are simply no resources available to them that makes them 'visible'. Government does not currently provide any facilities for home-schooled children - no swimming lessons, clubs, library sessions during the day. This would be a good way of not only encouraging home-schooled children to meet socially, would provide resources for a wider scope of educational activities and would help home-schooling parents to feel less alienated within society. Building positive relations between home-educating parents and education authorities can only provide a more workable and positive education for the children involved, this relationship does not consist of accusing parents of child abuse and treating them as criminals.
8. For some children a school-based education works and for others it does not. Until schools can meet the needs of all children and can be held truly accountable for ensuring that all children receive the highest standard of education available to them and that they are capable of achieving then there is a serious need for parents willing to educate their children in a home environment. Until a curriculum can be provided that ensures that it meets the needs, interests and potential achievement of each individual child then a curriculum cannot be enforced upon children who thrive outside of a school environment. I have children both in and out of school, and am active in all of their educations and see value in both methods of education depending on the individual child. This is very similar to the siuation that exists in adult life where some people work in offices, shops and other 'employed' work whilst others are self-employed/work from home - these people have different needs, skills and aptitudes.