This post is by Neil Taylor. It first appeared as part of a conversation on the UKHE support list and is reproduced here with his permission because I think that, like so much else Neil writes, it deserves a wider audience.
The whole point is to place education entirely in the gift of government to licence, just as driving a car is. Demonstrable competence of the driver and roadworthiness of the car is no defence against not possessing a valid driving licence or valid MOT certificate. A restaurant cooking wholesome hygienic food is no defence against not having a licence to sell food, and so on. Licensing anything is handing a previous freedom over to government to grant or refuse.
Government is essentially bidding to take over from the courts the right to determine what a suitable education is. If they can get away with writing law that allows them to do this, then that will be the law.
It is inescapably totalitarian for government to monopolise what may be considered or not considered to be suitable education, because there never has and never can be consensus on the question, and this is probably our best argument against it, but then it was inescapably totalitarian for it to make education compulsory, and appropriate the budget for it by force back in 1870. It is really time that we started demanding an end to compulsion in education altogether, because the institution is simply getting totally out of hand and an instrument of enslavement and indoctrination. We need to withdraw consent IMO not only from this further turn of the rack, but to the whole imposition.
It is one thing to regulate the selling of food, or the driving of cars by licensing, because we know that without that, there will be unscrupulous kitchen owners that will poison us by being negligent of food hygiene, and that there will be incompetents driving dangerously unroadworthy vehicles. There is some natural justice, some compelling common good to licencing in these and similar circumstances which persuades us that it is in our best interests to keep dodgy drivers and vehicles off the road for own safety etc. But education is of an entirely different order, and is at the heart of personal meanings and purposes of life itself, and owning and directing ones own life, raising ones children in accordance with ones own personal beliefs and values. To take that away, which these proposed measures do, is simply to enslave, and rob individuals of the potential to live their own lives by those personal values and purposes. It is to enslave.
If we don't make the moral argument, and bid for self ownership of our own lives, I'm not sure what other grounds might be equally fatal for this totalitarian rule.
The least you can say about this bill is that it is treasonable, since it removes any meaningful content to the freedom that is our supposed free country, that we fought to preserve with two world wars. How much worse would it have been to simply let Hitler rule us instead, since these measures head straight towards the same restrictions on educational freedom he imposed ? It must surely be unconstitutional, and I think we should argue that it is.