Memorandum submitted by Peter Mouseley
1. This is only Graham Badman's opinion.
2. The choice of Graham Badman, having a background in children's services and particularly child protection, gives the impression that CSFC pre-supposes that the risk of abuse of children by their parents is greater in home educating families than otherwise.
3. In the context of the choice of parents to home educate their children the report, in asserting "there has to be a balance between the rights of the parents and the rights of the child", ignores another basic human right - The right to a private family life (Article 8, European Convention on Human Rights).
4. Current legislation provides adequate protection for children. These proposals serve to extend state powers intrusively.
5. The characterization of home educating parents as in some way more likely potential abusers of their children seems to underlie this report. This is ill founded discrimination.
6. Many of the worst cases of child cruelty at the hands of a parent have occurred before the children were of school age. The recommendations in this report are therefore ill conceived and misdirected at home educating families.
7. Whilst acknowledging the possibility of an example of the abuse of a child in a home education setting, the reality is that there is no evidence of a heightened risk among home educating families. In contrast there are many cases of abuse within a school setting by teachers and/or pupils.
8. The report seems to face in two different directions, firstly acknowledging that "parents are the prime educator within or outside of a schooling system" and that "it is Parents not Government that brings up children", and yet also granting new authority to the State that erodes the freedom of families. If you undermine parental rights you inevitably diminish parental responsibility.
9. Ultimately it would seem that one day all parents may be under a cloud of suspicion should they choose not to avail themselves of State supervised education for their children even under the age of 5 years old, the current threshold for compulsory education.
10. Recommendation 7 is particularly pernicious. The suggested introduction of the right of access to the home and to the child apart from his or her parents is a significant extension of state power singling out home educating families. This betrays a suspicious (and unjustified) mindset towards home educators that seems to underlie these proposals.
11. These are sinister and intrusive proposals that should concern all who cherish their freedom in our nation.