That deregistration issue
I'd like to fully understand the general consensus on our position here. What are we saying, exactly?
Gypsy/traveller families should not be allowed to deregister? I disagree, as I suspect most of us would.
Persistent truants should not be allowed to be deregistered? Again, I totally disagree with this view. I hope it's not what we're saying.
Schools and LAs have a legal responsibility to inform all parents about the right to home educate. (Anyone got the legal reference for that please?) and I believe that any parent has and should continue to have the legal right to deregister their child from school. If we allowed any kind of selective deregistration, the line between who was allowed to home educate and who wasn't allowed would creep very quickly to the point that only qualified school teachers were allowed, under close supervision, to keep their children out of school. Therefore it's very dangerous for the rights of everyone who home educates or might want to in future, to be seen to be promoting or colluding with any moves in that direction. I think most of us who have been around the home education scene, lists etc., for any length of time would be well aware of this danger.
The specific issue seems to be the accusation that some schools are witholding information about deregistration until the last minute and then presenting it to parents in the form of a threat, i.e. "Sign this form or we'll prosecute you/expel your child," so that the parents in question aren't actually making an informed decision to home educate and - what are we saying? - that they don't want to do it?
If this is happening, then I agree that it might not be a good thing for the children involved. But only if the child's home life was such that he or she never got any peace to think or learn.
I'm trying to think how it might be bad for the home education community as a whole if this was happening and I'm not getting it. Someone explain please?
From the point of view of the child in question, deregistration could be a lifesaver - however it happens. Why are we talking about denying this right to some of our most vulnerable children?
OK, there will be a proportion of 'feral' children who go off in gangs when not in school and contribute to the destabilisation of communities, but we should get real about what proportion this is, and what exactly do we think these kids are doing in the evenings and at weekends, even if they do attend school fulltime? Preventing their parents from deregistering is not the answer to this problem.
If some schools are attaching threats to pre-typed deregistration letters, the only viable solution is for schools and LEAs to fulfil their legal responsibility to prominently publicise the home education option. If everyone knows from the start that home education is an option for all, deregistration couldn't be forced on them as a last-ditch inevitability.
The real solutions go far deeper than this, into the realm of family cohesion - a fact that government does seem to realise. I strongly believe that encouraging the separation of children from their parents with full-time employment for all adults, full-time mass childcare of very young children by people who are strangers to them, and ever-increasing school hours and ages of attendance will not do anything to help family cohesion at all. Family life can only be damaged by these measures, because what time do families have left to be together?
Our innate instincts further the survival of our species. These instincts are strongest in parents with very young children. If this bond is allowed to develop healthily, much generational damage can be healed. Every parent's natural instinct is to teach our young how to survive, so even after years of disassociation and truancy, family life and a child's education can be saved by deregistration.
What are we, as home educators, really scared of in this respect?
Please explain this to me if you can, because I'm really struggling to understand some people's viewpoints and I know I'm not the only one.