Originally Posted by Ralph Lucas
Over the next six months or so we will have at least two Bills which potentially affect HE:
Social Security: new terms for current benefits, and the foundations of the new system
Education: perhaps something on the new SEN system, and the possibility of amending 436A and consequent guidance.
As and when I hear news I will post it on this thread.
I would be glad of your views as to how HE should be treated and consulted about either subject.
House of Lords
Thank you for alerting us.
Personally I would like to see s436a removed entirely, along with the truancy measures in the Crime and Disorder Act, since both act as a direct incitement, and quite deliberately so in my opinion to harass and remove the liberties of all parents, not just home educators. As home educators are well aware, LEAs commonly do not understand the law, and respect it even less, tending to hear only what they want to hear and making the rest up as suits them, or gvt incites. In this context s436a incites the hunting down of unregistered home educators by means which violate privacy, civil liberties, data protection and common decency. There is currently an epidemic of LEAs misusing CME by putting children on this register even after they have been informed they are HE, and illegally obtaining out of it, the testing and licensing some have always craved.
Both s436a and the truancy measures in the C & D act are both manifestations of state absolutism in education, an unwillingness to acknowledge parental responsibility and no routine oversight (and approval) of all education. They are both doing the same job, 'rounding up the strays'. While the administration may have changed, the effects of the nulabour poisoning of the public mind towards HE has left a terrible legacy for us, and we expect this administration if it is sincere to make significant efforts to disown and reverse that traducing and persecution which has amounted in some aspects to incitement to hatred of a minority group. Under such conditions it then becomes possible for the Met to include 'home educated' as one of the ten risk factors for victims of child abuse in their CRAM
risk assessment, along with co-sleeping, which for infants can be advantageous as some paediatricians and parents understand very well. I would like to see this disgraceful inclusion of both bogus risk factors removed immediately. It really should be illegal to name home education a risk factor, just as stating someone's race or religion as a risk factor would be illegal. Home educators are sick of this kind of discrimination and being fair game because an unprotected minority group in law. What use is anti-discrimination law if it fails to protect everyone from prejudice and persecution and leaves 'legitimate' pariah groups to fend for themselves, even against their own gvt?
The primary legislation, and its accompanying guidance are a mess as a result of this ad-hoc creeping adulteration of law, in which s436a contradicts s437's negative injunction, turning it de facto into registration and testing. So I am very pleased to hear that revising, or as I've called for, scrapping s436a is on the gvt's agenda, because no amount of tinkering with guidance or guidelines will remove this menacing. We learned this lesson
the hard way over the truancy measures in the C & D Act. The accompanying guidelines were meant to be an 'important safeguard' (clearly stating that home educators were not the target group and should be left alone) This was swiftly replaced by further guidance which omitted this 'safeguard', and subsequently reversed it, making us specifically the target group. But regardless
of the content of the guidance the practice on the ground harassing and traumatising home educators never altered from that day to this, except to get progressively worse. The progress of CME guidance revision has so far mirrored the demise and reversal of this useless protection. So s436a does indeed need to be removed or the implicit and explicit incitements it makes to assume parental guilt until proved innocent has to go.
I look forward to a substantial undoing of the bad legislation that has turned gvt in this country from servant into oppressor and predator in the way home educators have experienced it under nulabour. Thank you again for appraising us of this and other legislative intentions.