When schools fail
I kept saying I'd blog about it, but the review got in the way, as it has regarding so many other matters.
Last Friday, she told me: "Anyway, this fourteen year old Carlisle student started what was meant as a peaceful protest on Bebo. He felt the standard of education and the attitude of both teachers and students of the newly formed Carlisle Central Academy was not as it should be, so he raised his concerns on Bebo. As soon as teachers found out he was doing this they locked him up in a classroom and threatened to expel him. Things apparently got so out of hand that the local MP got involved and the next day the Schools Minister Jim Knight came for an emergency visit. Today the school was closed, after a march of students, which - unfortunately but not surprisingly - got slightly out of hand. A lot of parents have kept their (younger) children at home, because they fear for their safety. And also because they are shocked by what's come out about how this school deals with freedom of speech." - and referred me to local news stories about it here and here.
Duncan Moran has beaten me to the blog post, by making the point that, under Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act:
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—
to his age, ability and aptitude, and
to any special educational needs he may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
- and therefore parents continuing to send their children to that school and failing to make other arrangements are in breach of it, and should face prosecution.
I wouldn't go that far myself, preferring not to wish bad things on people, but it's a fair point: some home educating parents have faced prosecution - and indeed, been prosecuted - under Section 7. I've never heard of it happening to the parent of a schoolchild, however bad the school, which is blatant prejudice, when you think about it.
What I want to know is: is the Richard Rose Central Academy in Carlisle a complete one-off? Or are other schools around the country suffering from the same kinds of problems, which are being kept quiet? This piece of Norweigan research tells us that home education is increasing on a global scale and it looks into some of the reasons why, posing the question: "Is the school institution as it has developed up until today at the end of its historical role?" Our weekly home education meetings are certainly busier now than they've ever been. We've had a sudden influx of at least a dozen new home educating families: mostly people who have attachment-parented their children from birth, have looked at the school system and decided against it, or decided against it without even looking.
The government released a new document yesterday: Ending Child Poverty: Making It Happen, in which it cheerfully told us: "The Government believes that every parent who could work, should do so." Did you spot the subliminal message? Parenting is not valid work.
But they're rolling out a programme anyway, over the next few years, starting with legislation this year, to enable them to prise their way into our personal lives even more, and ensure that we're all sufficiently aspirational, out of the house all day and keeping well away from our other family members, especially children. if you claim Child Tax Credits, you're a
I've kept wondering when the money will run out for these Orwellian schemes. Aren't we suffering from a global financial meltdown? Surely that will stop the merciless steamroller in its tracks, before normal healthy family life is well and truly flattened? But no: the economic crisis should be treated as "the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order", with new rules introduced on trade, Gordon Brown said on Monday.
"The difficult birth-pangs of a new global order" ... I couldn't decide whether the financial problems were deliberately engineered or not, but I think I can see where it's going now. Working to the usual problem-reaction-solution format, the eventual 'answer' to the 'problem' of global financial meltdown is going to be one world government, isn't it? Like the EU, but ten times worse.
The timing is crucial though, don't you think? Because I think people are starting to wake up, en masse, to what's really happening.
Hats off to that fourteen year old student in Carlisle.