Friday, November 20, 2009

I think this question is key

From yesterday's House of Commons debate following the first reading of the CSF Bill:

Barry Sheerman: As I understand it, the hon. Gentleman has supported Every Child Matters and the five outcomes for children. Does he really believe, as he implied in response to an earlier intervention, that the five outcomes should apply to 99 per cent. of schoolchildren but not to the home educated? [link]

- because we don't and can't comply with the detail of those outcomes, as they're currently set out. [opens pdf]

I watched the whole televised debate yesterday and I agree with Carlotta and others that Graham Stuart is indeed our home ed hero.

Here he is, delivering this excellent question, if anyone's short of a pin-up:

Graham Stuart

He's said in his Tweets that we remind him of these people:

- which I think is a valid point! Watching that clip gave me a much-needed giggle of recognition yesterday.

Graham Stuart said much more in a later exchange yesterday, which has proven to be a hit with home educators, including:

As for parents who reject the Secretary of State's school system entirely and sacrifice their time and career to bring up and educate their children themselves, they are stigmatised as more likely to be child abusers than normal people. It is an absolute affront to those in the home education community, and it is baseless. The scheme is all about getting home educators in a headlock and forcing their children back into the Balls fold.

I was also cheered up by his latest Tweet, saying:

With formal Conservative opposition its chances of becoming law are slight so no need to be overly depressed.

- which, added to his previous:

I have confirmed with Michael Gove that the Conservatives will oppose compulsory registration of home educated children in the Bill.

is an encouraging thought, although I think David Laws' response to him on the issue in yesterday's debate should be noted:

I am not sure that I fully agree with the extreme position that he takes on the Badman review..

Extreme position..? Thanks, mate!

So, what will these changes, if they go through in their entirety, really mean to us? I was chatting to the father of my school-aged child earlier today, who said: "Surely it won't be too much of a problem for you? You can make the work fun, she's an intelligent girl, you've got all the resources there and she's not that far from school standards already?"

And I explained to him: "That's true, but it's not the point. These regulations would change the nature of my whole relationship with her. Instead of being her facilitator as she developed her own interests and skills in her own time, I'd have to become her educator. Every morning when we got up, we'd have to do about two hours' worth of school work. I'd have to assess her progress every few weeks and make sure she wasn't going to give any 'cause for concern', and when she'd had enough and she wanted to leave the table and do something else, I'd have to threaten her with school attendance to make her persevere until we've finished. Like her older siblings did at school, she'd gradually start seeing learning as a chore and lose all interest in it - something to be avoided whenever she could.

"It's just not what I want for her. We'd be dancing to the government's tune instead of our own. I'd never be able to deschool her and so she'd be denied even that, which was the saving of the older three. It'd be just nose to the grindstone, all the way through and my relationship with her would be strained through having to coerce her like that. She wouldn't grow up feeling like I was on her side, as the other three have, so she probably wouldn't avoid all that teenage rebellion, like they did. It would such bad news, with such profound effects, that I'm lamenting the threatened loss of my kind of parenthood, which I know from the older three works so well."

He probably wished he'd never asked, but there's her younger sister too. I ask you, how can I tame this free spirit:

and force her to the National Curriculum or anything like it? I can't and I won't. You can call that an extreme position if you like: I prefer it to Ed Balls' bawdy, spluttered "essential for a strong economy". Our children weren't born just to serve the economy! I actually cried yesterday, properly, for the first time in years.

There has to be another way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't cry, Gill. We will find a way. We have the will and the way will present itself.

Home educators will win. They won in Canada. They will win here. Because we care more.

All we really have to say to the politicians is how successful are your schools in delivering any kind of an education?

Then when they splutter around tell them: "Our children deserve much better than your pathetic schooling. We do it better."

We will be victorious.


4:43 pm, November 20, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Danae, that's reassuring. I'm off out to a meeting for the evening soon, and that thought will cheer me on my way :)

4:46 pm, November 20, 2009  
Blogger Barry said...

Yes, don't give up hope! As the father of a one-year-old, with this ahead of us, I'm not prepared to let these people dictate the terms of our family relationship. We shall fight on.

4:51 pm, November 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheer up, all is not lost. Even if it gets through, we'll never back down. We're fighting for our children, they're not fighting at all - just assuming we'll knuckle under.

If it comes down to it, I am willing to do whatever it takes - blockade doorways, harbor families, fight legal battles, anything - to protect every family's right to decide what is best for their child.

I was understating it before - we're not fighting for our children. We're fighting for their children too, and the kids down the road, and every parent and child in the land. We'll win, because we have the motivation.

5:57 pm, November 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Gill, I read every blog post you write and you never fail to educate and motivate me. Whether we win or not you will know that you have given it your all and so will your children. That's the example you want to set them and that's the spirit they will catch. Keep going - I'm sure there are plenty more than me out there who will have been encouraged by you no matter what the government does.

6:43 pm, November 20, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

I've been in tears a few times in the past few days, from quite opposite emotions. And all that because our way of parenting has been made into political currency. No, they *will* not defeat me and they *will* not grind me down. And my children are pretty much 'safe', seeing as the youngest is nearly 15.

But for crying out loud, why are we time and again being forced to fight for taking on the responsibility that for times eternal has been ours, a duty that by law is ours: to do what's best for our own children.

7:31 pm, November 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks Gill for all your work on this you done a really good job and you cheer us up! we love to read your thoughts ideas many thanks.

8:14 pm, November 20, 2009  
Blogger Lisa G said...

LOL, one of my 12 yr olds fav clip from Life of Brian and she can quote most of the film word for word, I wonder which box THAT would tick for the inspectors! I don't think my younger self would believe that my older self is liking a Conservative MP right now, if that can happen then anything is possible, we can beat the Bill!

10:02 pm, November 20, 2009  
Blogger Grit said...

you have showed huge resourcefulness and staying power and i want to say thank you for that.

9:38 am, November 21, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just watched the iPlayer thing. Ed Balls is amazing; he managed to be LOUD, malicious, smug, dishonest and meaningless all in one go!

11:09 am, November 21, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

"he managed to be LOUD, malicious, smug, dishonest and meaningless all in one go"

What a fine example to set for our young people, for our nation!

2:10 pm, November 21, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can anyone point me too a time segment at which graham stuart gets on his feet, I watched it but not the whole way through and missed it and so want to see it thank you Patricia

3:16 pm, November 21, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patricia - it's right at the end of the 2hrs. the last four minutes or so.

4:02 pm, November 22, 2009  

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