Business and industry
Well, OK then, perhaps I will ;-)
Eunice Spry's home education provision was regularly monitored. The children in that case were repeatedly, officially 'seen' and it still didn't prevent her foster children from being abused. (Where were the children's own families, incidentally? Why aren't they ever mentioned in connection with the case?)
According to the NSPCC's Childline's Casenotes [opens pdf], "bullying was the biggest single reason for children and young people calling ChildLine in 2007/08". Not abuse from parents or even foster parents - bullying! Which normally takes place in schools, doesn't it? (Thanks to Elaine for that link.)
I've recently seen (on the Facebook group's discussion board, perhaps, though I can't find the exact post now,) some evidence that the best prevention of child abuse is attachment parenting. (Can anyone provide the link for me?) Attcahment parenting groups often feed into home education groups: it seems to be the natural process, so I'd say - and the statistics (or lack of them, as admitted by the NSPCC) back this up - that child abuse is much less likely in home educating families than it is in any others.
Tim Browne's conflation of education and welfare issues in ths Times article is typically confusing. On the one hand, he wants to prevent a repeat of the Eunice Spry case, even though regular monitoring of the kind he is calling for, by his own Local Authority, didn't prevent it before, so it's difficult to see how it could again. And on the other hand, he wants "sufficient clarity on what a suitable education is in the eyes of the law," because: "The current definition is questionable at best," and "vague. All it allows us to do is to intervene if it appears that a parent is not providing a suitable education."
Mr Browne et al. will not be happy until anything other than the checked and sanctioned provision of a school-type education is classed as child abuse and persecuted accordingly, regardless of real 'outcomes' regarding a child's 'wellbeing', let alone anything related to actual learning.
In my opinion, the deliberate over-riding of a child's natural curiosity is detrimental to learning, and therefore should be classed as abusive, if anything education-related is. That goes on in schools from day one, of course, and will in homes too if we're all to be required to jump through Local Authority checking and vetting hoops. And then, what sort of a society will we have? An obedient one. A treacherous one. An extremely frustrated, sick one I think. Is that good for business and industry? Yes, I think it probably is.
But are business and industry the only things that should matter to us, with regard to childhood and learning? Of course not - yet increasingly, officially, they are. "It's theft of children from families. The state wants to control what childhood is.", said Mike Fortune-Wood on YouTube. I think he's dead right.