THE government says that the home education provisions of the Children, Schools and Families Bill are about children's rights to a suitable education.
But when a child at school is not thriving or feels at risk due to bullying, or is not learning to schedule, does the government send in an education officer to inquire if they are happy and receiving a suitable education at school?
Do the authorities deny the school the responsibility for continuing to educate the child because he or she is not meeting the National Curriculum schedule?
Are children at school given the option of being educated otherwise than in school if they believe that they would be safer, or better able to concentrate in a smaller-scale learning environment?
The double standards being imposed on home educators in this bill show the government's prejudices and assumptions about home education.
Lip service is being given to home educators about what a good job most home educators do by MPs who support the idea of a register for home educators. They say the registration would make it easier to help home educators.
But the bureaucratic difficulty of the registration process and the fact that the right to register can be refused, resulting in a compulsory school attendance order, make it clear that this is a licence not a registration.
The proposed legislation offers no support or help to home educators except 'help' back into the school system whether they like it or not.
All children are home educated from birth. Any thing the parents can do they do, to help their children learn. If they can't help their children learn they can find someone else to do it.
Why would parents suddenly have to register with their local authority for the right to home educate when their children reach school age?
The logical conclusion of this reasoning is that there should be a licence, I mean registration, for parenting. Anybody wanting to be a parent would have to apply to 'register' and the government would decide if they have met the bureaucratic criteria for parenting and have established a suitable educational policy before authorising them to have children.
Ed Balls is desperately trying to push this legislation through before the next election, but there has not even been a consultation and debate about what constitutes a suitable education (see section seven of the Education Act 1996).
The proposed legislation is an open-ended framework, allowing the government to fill in the blanks later without further consultation.
Make no mistake - these principles behind the home education provisions of the latest bill are about shifting responsibility and decisionmaking power regarding children away from the parent and to the state.
This legislation could have far-reaching implications for all parents and children.
For further information, visit www.freedomforchildrentogrow.org/ killbill.htm.
RHEA ANDERSON East Acton Lane