We recently watched Channel 4’s Dispatches show called Skipping School: Britain’s Invisible Children. It’s a show that has been lampooned by the home education community for being rather biased in their portrayal of home educated families. I’m not entirely sure what the intent of the show was, but to me they inadvertently showed the failings of the school system rather than the failings of those who are home educated. There was a lot of bullshit in that show. But, it did raise an interesting question: Should home educators legally have to register and be checked?
Should Home Educators Legally Have to Register and Be Checked?
We fully plan on home educating our children. I can say children now as my wife is pregnant with baby number two. So that means Isabelle, our daughter, is never going to be registered for a school. It also means that we are under no legal obligation to inform anyone of our choice, and no obligation to allow anyone to check on what we’re doing.
But fuck me that won’t mean she’s “skipping school” or she’s fucking invisible. Have you not see us going around Tesco? That girl is anything but invisible.
I’m a MASSIVE supporter of home education. I dare say the vast majority of people who do it don’t intend on allowing their child to die of malnutrition.
But I still find it a little bit odd that we can basically do this without interference, knowledge or involvement from our council or the government in any capacity.
I Honestly Think that Home educators Probably should enrol on some sort of register
Skipping School: Britain’s Invisible Children was a terrible show. All they basically showed was families who had been failed by the school system and almost FORCED into home education because schools can’t adapt to every child. They then showed said families appearing to struggle to home educate in order to better suit their narrative that it doesn’t really work.
They gave a couple of examples of children who had been abused, or even died, whilst being “home educated” and basically wanted to scare the viewer into wanting to avoid home education.
In short, Skipping School had a very clear agenda to give an unbiased representation of what home education is.
But they did raise an important potential issue of home education. And that’s the fact that kids CAN easily find themselves in a position of abuse. Had some of the children in question been registered and authorities were allowed to check, then perhaps they wouldn’t have died.
I know a lot of home educators will disagree with me on this
To me, being enrolled on a register to allow the council know that you’re an home educator is no big deal. I would have absolutely no problem with informing them of our choice and being added to this register. It’s even being talked about already so the chances are it’s going to happen anyway.
If they wanted to come and check the house out and see what sort of education we’re providing, then by all means pop round. I’ll get Isabelle to cook you some breakfast and we’ll have a chat.
I have no issue with this being something that they are legally entitled to do. But, what happens if they get their foot in the door and start to wedge it open. If you allow some involvement in home education, then where will the line eventually be drawn?
The Slippery Slope of allowing involvement
I tend to live my life along the lines of “if you have nothing to hide then you won’t mind people looking.” But that line of thinking can also lead you down a slippery slope. And this is where my issue with a register and legally allowed checks would come in.
If they’re legally allowed to check on what you’re doing, and you have to register to be able to home educate, then at what point will their involvement cease? What happens if they don’t like the fact you’re ignoring part of the national curriculum in favour of allowing your child to choose what they learn? Will they want to force some sort of education on you? If they’re unhappy will they be able to force your child to attend school? If that’s the case then FUCK. ALL. THAT.
The government is probably scared of home education
Truth be told, the government – and local authorities in particular due to funding – are probably scared of home education. They really don’t like losing control of what’s going on and rather than try to address any issues – or heaven forbid they were to actually support home educators – they instead pick to put out propagandistic material like this Dispatches show.
But with that said, we will very likely work with the local authorities in whatever way we feel comfortable doing whilst we’re home educating. I have absolutely no idea what that would entail as I’ve done ZERO research into it. But I’ll be happy for them to check on us to see where we could improve what we’re doing.
And as for a register, there’s no harm in that really is there? Does it really matter if you’re simply added to a little list so they know what you’re doing?