When, in January 2009, Baroness Morgan announced that home education could be used as a cover for “child abuse, domestic servitude and forced marriage”, one could have supposed that DCSF stood for the Department of Cinderellas, Stepmothers and Fairy-godmothers and wondered what on earth had happened to the Department of Education?

The Department of Children, Schools and Families  - who have, you will note, pointedly placed Schools between Children and Families - announced and undertook a prejudicial sham of a review, by Graham Badman, using only policy driven evidence Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Elective Home Education in England .  War has been declared on Elective Home Education.

Now, given that German law is still Berhard Rust's 1938 Nazi ban: one might of expected the English government to have risen up to meet its "most important responsibility" and not signed away this freedom - that has always existed - in such a treacherous manner.

To start with I wondered why the UK government and the Swedish government appear to be sharing information and are working to the same time table* before changing their respective legislation on Elective Home Education (*June and October 09 deadlines). The FOI Literature Review for the Badman Review notes that Sweden has Scandinavia's strictest official regulation of home education in Europe with an annual license to EHE (elective home education) and Britain has the most liberal. Sweden is now tightening its legislation and England is following suit by adopting Sweden’s annual license and is providing a further opportunity to ban a family from exercising EHE with the words “anything else” embedded in the sentence “anything else which may affect their ability to provide a suitable and efficient education”. If you look at the use of **language that is being used in both of England and Sweden’s proposals it would appear as though England and Sweden are both in process of bringing their legislation on home education in line with that of Germany's current legislation which bans home education – this is further suggested by the 2006 European Court of Human Rights ruling that upheld Germany’s ban. A ban brought into being during the Third Reich.

"One of the biggest problems with the German language and understanding is that education is percieved and used in the same context as schooling. When Bismarck introduced the school reform at the end of the 19th century, it was meant as a standardised education towards entry into the civil service. It did not mean that all children went to school or had to go to school. As a matter of fact 1887, only 92% of the children went to school. There was enough room for home schooling in the law (albeit is was only open to the upper classes).  However, that changed with Hitler in 1938, when the Nazis introduced the "duty of school attendance", and that is the crux of the matter. This has never changed. Never mind Luther, who saw the opportunity for a general instruction to further establish his philosophies. All schooling in this form has the ability to be used as propaganda (John Taylor Gatto has a lot to say about this matter.)  However, the idea of a general school did not enter anyone's mind until after the 30 year war. It was seen as a tool of disciplining its citizins, and schooling has been overseen by the church until the School reform in the 19th century." - German Home Educator

(**Daniel Monk, Senior Lecturer in Law, at The School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London has anticipated many of these tensions in his paper Problematising Home Education.)

continued in -  society v government 

Then using Thomas Paine's (the great 18th century revolutionary)  Rights of Man criteria: I have also tested the part of the 1944 Education Act that reads
"It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

Philip Pullman delivered this great keynote speech at the Convention on Modern Liberty at the Institute of Education in London 2009.


                  I JUST THINK I'M FREE
                                                                   (Dizzee Rascal)

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