I don’t want support.

“If the prime concern is that of safeguarding, the purpose of a register or notification is simply to assist with ruling out parents in the hope of isolating those who might be problematic. If, on the other hand, the issue is education, we must ask ourselves against what standard will home education be measured, given that it will by its very nature be eclectic. It is a road that will lead nowhere. There is no way in which an inspector can judge the quality of such education unless he or she has a set of standards against which he or she is to judge it. Without such standards, the judgement will be sufficiently subjective to have no validity if sanctions are imposed. For someone to draft such standards would either be impossible or would constrain and constrict the very type of education that parents want for their children, hence interfering with the basic and fundamental parental rights.”

This was said by Nick Gibb in the to-ing and fro-ing that was the discussion over the proposed new laws on Home Education.

What he said makes perfect sense to me but I am a free thinker; it would make no sense to a thought controller. Unfortunately the current government has taken control-freakery to new heights and cannot see why anyone would want to do anything that has not been invented by or sanctioned by them.

Yesterday I read a consultation document called Supporting Families. In its foreword Jack Straw says

Nor is it government interfering in family life. It is not
about pressuring people into one type of relationship
or forcing them to stay together. Instead it is about
the practical support the Government can provide to
help parents do the best they can for their children.

There is absolutely no mention of safeguarding in that document but if you fast forward to 2010 and the Green Paper Support for All, safeguarding crops up eight times in relation to families and children.

I found an interesting phrase in another government document the other day “progressive universalism”. What the heck does that mean? It is a policy much loved by Gordon Brown and is what has been guiding the welfare state since about 2002. Everybody gets something but poor people get more than others.

The slippery side of this for Home Education is revealed by Ed Balls in Support for All:

…families want and need support in juggling the responsibilities of bringing up children, running a home, holding down employment to make ends meet or caring
for an elderly relative.

This Government’s conviction is that it is both possible and necessary to develop policies to support all families without intruding into the privacy of family life. This means supporting families to help themselves, ensuring that all public services play their part in supporting strong and resilient family relationships, but also recognising that sometimes relationships fail and that some families need extra help.

We want and need support? Really? No wiggle room for those of us who don’t want support, then.

If you extend this universal support to schooling, you can see why they are hopping mad that HE parents won’t use the universal school system. They would bolt on this, that and the other if only we send our kids to school and get into juggling our responsibilities like all ‘normal’ parents. No wonder it is really hard to secure flexi-schooling for your child. That isn’t universal you know.

I’ve conflated a few ideas there, sorry. I hope I haven’t pushed Ed Balls off his conflation perch.


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