From the BHHE website
Diversity in Education is precious in a democracy
This is an open letter to The Guardian and The Times, intended for publication on January 11th 2010, which is the date of the second reading of the Children, Schools and Families Bill in the House of Commons.
If you agree with the letter, please complete the signature form before January 8th 2010
to add your name as a signatory.
If you are a member of a home educating family, please contact people outside the home education community and ask them to add their signatures to yours, so that the list of signatories will reflect the widespread opposition to Schedule 1, from people in all walks of life.
We believe that Schedule 1 of the Children Schools and Families Bill represents an unacceptable imposition of state control over families. Although it is aimed at children educated outside the school system, it has implications for all families.
Most parents would not make home-based education their first choice; but any family might need it if school seriously failed their child. Currently, this choice is lawfully available to all parents. If enacted, the Bill would – for the first time – transfer responsibility for a child’s education from the parents to the state. We believe this is a matter which should be of great concern to everyone.
A change in the law is unnecessary. Parents are already required by law to provide an education suitable to the age, aptitude and ability of their children, and to any special educational needs they may have. Local authorities already have the power to take action if parents do not do this.
Evidence indicates that home education is highly effective. Many home educating families use child-led educational methods which lie outside the prevailing educational paradigm. Diversity in education is precious in a democracy, and we need the law to protect it, and to protect the best interests of each individual child.
The interests of children are strikingly absent from Schedule 1, which is concerned mainly with setting up a bureaucratic system administered by local authorities. Local authorities would be given the power to deny parents permission to home educate, at any time, unless parents adapt their educational approach to fit in with the requirements of the system. The resulting insecurity would be damaging to many children, especially those with special educational needs.
Schedule 1 directly contravenes two central principles of the Government’s own Children’s Plan: that families bring up children, not governments; and that services need to be shaped by and responsive to children, young people and families, not designed around professional boundaries.
Given the controversy surrounding this section of the Bill, and the serious criticisms made of it by the Children, Families and Schools Select Committee, we call on the Government to withdraw Schedule 1 of the Bill, and the accompanying clauses.
Add your name:
To add your name as a signatory, please complete the signature form before January 8th 2010
Full list of signatories
FAQ about this letter
Schedule 1 of the CSF Bill
Summary and analysis of Schedule 1
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