Neil Taylor responds to the DfE’s latest assault on freedom in education

So it’s England’s turn to have to fend off a bid for totalitarianism in education as the DfE issues a call for evidence and revised guidance on home education.

It is every bit as bad as feared, but with an added twist of incomprehensibility such as the revelation that, apparently, we are under no obligation to notify the school or LA if we withdraw a child from school!

And there was me thinking that was truancy, and there was this procedure set out in the SI informing of the nature of the notification to the ‘proprietor’. I noticed they sneaked a couple of amendments into the SI, but they did not affect this, so I don’t know whether this is sheer incompetence and ignorance of their own law, or some more nefarious agenda to make our situation look freer than it actually is, the better to ‘justify’ reining us in.

It’s a pincer movement against us, a two-pronged attack, which works like this: Get them to agree to volunteer for registration, annual monitoring and home inspection, while concurrently running a ‘call for evidence’ that they should make this law.

If we fight this in guidance and tell them they can’t have this, which they can’t lawfully whatever some might say, then they will move to legislate for RM&I. If we meekly agree to go along with the proposed measures in the guidance, (not that there could ever be such a consensus), then they will move to formalise them in law anyway. Either way, the outcome will be the same.

But since most LEAs are despotisms that wouldn’t feel out of place in the old East Germany, they as of today know that all their dreams just came true bar the rubber-stamping. If they are going to get the law anyway, might as well implement the guidance before the consult stage, in line with time honoured previous abusive practice such as when we got bad man anyway from day one, or Scotland got the named person.

The incitement to illegal harassment of us at this point is absolute, and we are once more under maximum siege.

The damage this will do in encouraging local despotism is maximised as it was with Badman. And this is the Tories some urged us to vote for so that we didn’t get the return of the Balls. It’s all Balls, and there never was anyone to vote for. I don’t know how much plainer they can make this, but presumably hope amnesia will kick in.

This abomination of a document ought to constitute sufficient evidence of unfitness to govern that it could be produced at all with such vile content, in fact I don’t consider we have anything vaguely resembling legitimate government in this country. It is every bullying EHE-hating LA’s dream guidance, inciting all the abuses we have fought to remedy over many decades.

The key paragraph is this one, and its want of logic, its suppressed premises only have to be drawn out in order to strike through everything that follows predicated upon it:

“3.4 Local authorities currently have no specific duties or powers relating to home education per se. This reflects the fact that the legal framework, contained in the Education Act 1996 (and essentially carried forward from the Education Act 1944), although allowing for home education, was not drawn up with a view to enabling ongoing oversight of significant numbers of home educated children. However, few people would argue today that parents should be able to exercise their right to home educate children with absolutely no independent oversight, despite their having the legal responsibility set out above. The job of each local authority is therefore to find an appropriate balance between parental autonomy and its overall responsibilities for education of children in its area.”

ANALYSIS:

“3.4 Local authorities currently have no specific duties or powers relating to home education per se.”

This is because ‘home education’ as any specific form of education ‘otherwise’ than in school is not defined in law, but they do have a duty to be vigilant to the possibility of parental s7 failure to cause a child to receive suitable education, and they have powers to intervene, and ultimately take this parental responsibility away from parents who fail in this regard. So the ‘per se’ is irrelevant, as ‘school or otherwise’ in s437 covers any and every possibility.

To jump the gun and try to get what they want in guidance without law, is simply strong-arm despotism, it is the negation of a rule of law, and incitements to exercise force in the absence of legal duties or powers to do so lawfully, abound.

“This reflects the fact that the legal framework, contained in the Education Act 1996 (and essentially carried forward from the Education Act 1944), although allowing for home education, was not drawn up with a view to enabling ongoing oversight of significant numbers of home educated children.”

Damn right it wasn’t. And the problem is? Not stated! Just stating this fact is supposed to be enough to persuade us that ‘such a situation clearly cannot be allowed to continue’, but it doesn’t say so, although that has been said many times, but never with any justification for the claim. It relies instead on the repetition of this agenda over many decades to the point where the Goebbels effect has beaten everyone into submission – repeat something often enough and it becomes the truth. Except it doesn’t, it merely points to successful brainwashing propaganda.

But there is some vague facsimile of what we are intended to take as a reason why RM&I is now justified – NUMBERS! Numbers of people making lawful choices that have never manifested as any particular problem to anyone and are in fact an asset. Bringing diversity to a society is not an a priori reason why an increase in those availing themselves of the lawful choice as to how to fulfil their s7 duty is any kind of a problem.

Let’s suppose. for example, that every parent in the land were to suddenly decide, right, I’ve had enough of this abusive institution, I’m home educating. What would be the problem with that? Obviously it would be a problem to vested interest and state sector provided schooling, a whole employment sector and a massive reduction in taxation no longer needed to pay for it, but since no such overnight exodus causing massive institutional disruption is even a remote prospect, and a steady increase such as we have, clearly capable of being managed and responded to by adjusting school places, ‘significant numbers’ isn’t a problem surely?

So why are significant numbers a problem? Does the unstated problem only matter if ‘significant numbers’ are involved as opposed to a few dozen, for example? Would not those few dozen children have mattered no less than the several thousand? Was it ever OK to ignore them because there weren’t ‘significant numbers’ of them? And what is this ‘significance’, wherein does it lie? Significant to what or to whom? We are not told, but it SOUNDS problematic – scary even, just by stating it like this. Visions of un(mind)controlled hoards on an anti-social rampage. A breakdown of law and order – oh silly me, that’s their specialism, isn’t it?

Perhaps the problem might be ‘significant’ escape from state intended mind control – all that social consensus they like to talk about and try to engineer by propaganda as if the spectre of some sort of Lord of the Flies, lawless anarchy might result if the lower orders are not kept firmly in their places? You tell us what the significance of our numbers is, government!

“However, few people would argue today that parents should be able to exercise their right to home educate children with absolutely no independent oversight.”

Everyone together now: “OH YES WE WOULD”!!!!!

‘Most people would agree’, ‘every right-minded person would agree….’, ‘nine out of ten cats……’, This is nothing but the repetition of vacuous propaganda. If something else, i.e. freedom, was encoded in law in the penultimate year of a generation conned into fighting for king and country – ‘for a free country’, then what has changed since 1944 to make this no longer true? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Except successful mind control.

There are no defensible reasons given because there are no defensible reasons, they are merely stated to be self-evident. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident….’ Oh, they were different self-evident truths though, weren’t they, and anyway that was America, and so long ago most American’s have forgotten about them, and “few people would argue today”‘ for them, and
lo and behold they don’t. How did that happen? How is this happening?

“…..despite their (parents) having the legal responsibility set out above.”

‘Despite’? It is to be regretted? Worked around? Clearly….

“The job of each local authority is therefore to find an appropriate balance between parental autonomy and its overall responsibilities for education of children in its area.”

Oh no it isn’t!

It is the responsibility of each local authority to uphold the law, and only to ‘see if it appears’ to them that a child might not be receiving a suitable education, not to ENSURE that they receive what they determine to be suitable, as the guidance goes on to have it, totally ignoring negative law, and the fact that only negative law can embody justice.

All those years of persuading LAs to practise a proper rule of law, trashed by this butchery.

Read Frederic Bastiat on the subject of negative and positive law, and the difference it makes between the protection of essential freedoms, and tyranny. We have negative law, that grants powers to prevent harms, not the suggested positive law that sets out to determine how we should all live. That way lies tyranny.

It is in this piece of spin that they seek by sleight of hand to establish, without justifying or clearly stating them, the premises on which the rest of the document is ‘justified’. If their premises are to be considered justification for a massive historic removal of essential liberty, then let them state them clearly, and justify them, such that it can be argued that such pressing unmet needs or the avoidance of demonstrable harms – not imagined or hypothetical, for which no evidence can ever be found, but the existence of real demonstrable problems – are compelling enough to justify the sacrifice of freedoms two world wars were fought to defend. That’s a tall order, and so it should be, yet the above paragraph does not come remotely close. In fact, it is a gross insult.

In short this is an incitement to LAs to break the law as a precursor to forcing its unwanted change, or as the Prodigy sang it: ‘What we are dealing with here is a total lack of respect for the law’. Government is the principal law breaker. Government is bringing the law into disrepute, it is practising contempt for it, thus negating its only justification to exist. It states the law, then tells us this and that are the reasons why we can’t have it, and it must change, with or without our consent.

This will be fought, up to and beyond any illegitimate change in the law or guidance, which is lacking in sufficient justification and evidence for its unavoidable necessity. The behaviour of government itself at this point, which is a demonstrable scandal, and totalitarian in its implications. needs to be clearly and unflinchingly stated, and the changes disallowed unless or until they can be properly justified, which I do not believe they can.

“See to it that they did not die in vain”, it exhorts the visitor to the roll of honour of the Birmingham dead of WW2, including the uncle I never knew who phoned his sister, my mother, the night before to say goodbye, as he knew he would not return from the mission he did not return from.

You shall not pass.

 

chad mccail compulsory schooling