My favourite bits:
32 Having read the Review, we still stand by the final paragraph of our response:
32.1 “We have seen no evidence to show that the majority of home educated children do not achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes, and are therefore not convinced of the need to change the current system of monitoring the standard of home education. Where there are particular concerns about the children in a home-educating this should be a matter for Children’s Services.”
20 We felt that the terms of reference of the Review were too heavily weighted towards monitoring and the perception of barriers to monitoring. There was an insistence that the Government’s five Every Child Matters outcomes are the most important for children. This seems to contradict the Children’s Plan mantra that it is ‘Parents not Government that bring up children.’ For Home Educating families, these may not be the most important or valuable outcomes.
21 The premise that things need to be improved, changed, monitored and that children who are home educated and their parents must conform to Government’s agenda for school-educated children pervades the whole of this review. It appears that the Review has been written to concur with the view that there should be more regulation and legislation, despite having received many submissions sent in to the Review by home educators.
Maybe, just maybe, the Select Committee may realize what we have all been shouting about. This was not a review, it was a deliberate attack on home educators in England. This was a preordained attempt to smear home educators with the public. The only gain that could be made from this is that the government wants all of us under their control. Does it embarrass them that a small subsection of society, that is not under their direct control, has children that are thriving under the educational provisions their parents provide for them, while the state school system is getting worse, year upon year?
Mr. Balls: We are not child abusers.
We do not sell our children to strangers.
We do not lock our children in a closet all day.
We do not despise our children.
I hope our actions are making it clear: we will not just roll over and play dead for you. We will not bow down to your hideous accusations.
You have tarnished our reputations. You have stolen our time away from our children to fight you and Mr. Badman and all your false accusations. You have caused stress among countless families. Many children are now worried that their parents may face imprisonment if they do not conform to your devious ways.
We are home educating our children because we feel they deserve the very best that life has to offer. Our children are happy and thriving! Home educated children are a diverse group of children living right now, within their communities. We spend our days exploring all there is in this country and further afield. Our children meet with all sorts of people in their daily lives: the butchers, shop clerks, relatives, private music teachers, Church leaders, Scout leaders, Museum staff, other home educators, our neighbours, and all manner of people from infants to the elderly.
My children are probably more well known in our community than your own children. Why? Because mine aren’t shut away all day in a brick building with a tarmac playground (or should that be ‘exercise yard’?) surrounded by a large steel fence with spikes on top.
Mine are living in the real world—right now. They do not have to suffer in an institution until someone like you deems them ready for the ‘real’ world. They’re living in the real world every second of every day. And no one-especially you, is going to take that away.
We home educate because we love and respect our children, and will do anything in our power to give them the best possible start in life. We cherish our children-and how dare you try and make the world think otherwise.
Ed Balls—-The review was a sham and should be incinerated, and a public apology for tarnishing our reputations should be forthcoming.