My post with my email to Channel 4 following the Dispatches program has had over 5500 hits worldwide. I guess it was a subject that many people were interested in.
I know that I have read many posts all over the internet of home educating parents feeling angered at the commissioner’s comments and “findings”, exasperated at the repeated suggestion of a compulsory register for home ed despite no actual evidence to demonstrate that this would solve any problems raised and sheer frustration at use of the same old serious case review examples that aren’t really relevant because these children were known to authorities.
I have read many different responses and have even seen the Commissioners guest post on the subject over on Mumsnet! You can read that here
Today I received an email reply from Channel 4. I read it with interest and was disappointed to see that it matched word for word with another home educators reply as well. So Channel 4 are sending a stock reply that fails to address any of the points raised. They are clearly not at all concerned about providing the public with accurate information or balanced reporting.
Dear Mrs Gray,
Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding Dispatches: Skipping School: Britain’s Invisible Kids.
We are sorry to read of your disappointment in our documentary. The premise of the documentary was to investigate both the growth in home-schooling and issues that have been raised that some children being home educated are not getting the support they should. In the Dispatches survey of English local authorities, 92% said they did not feel they have adequate powers to assure the safety of children who are home educated and 91% said they had insufficient powers to assess the quality of this education. Ninety-three percent said they did not feel confident that they were aware of everyone currently being home educated in their area which is why they fear some home educated children are invisible to the authorities.
The Children?s Commissioner Anne Longfield has a statutory role to speak up for children where she believes they are being failed. Her investigation was in no way an attack on all home educators but exploring the gaps in the system and whether a compulsory register and greater powers on inspection would help flag up any problems. Much of her criticism was aimed at schools for failing to support children with Special Needs or through off-rolling.
We appreciate you taking the time to contact us with your views, which have been noted for the information of those responsible for the programme.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries
The Commissioner has an agenda that she is being very unclear about, given those areas she claims are of greatest concern would not in any way be addressed with a compulsory register.
SJ Dean on Facebook posted on the Commissioners profile the following:
If you suggest all home educated children should be monitored at least termly, I would presume that yowould also be suggesting they have access to the same funding as school children? Free meals, free milk, free fruit and vegetables and free educational resources and software as well as educational funding, grants, pupil premiums? After all, this is all in the best interest of the child isn’t it? That is the only reason you want them monitored right? No other agenda.
Where will the funding for monitoring thousands of home ed families come from? I presume you’ll put at least an equal amount of extra funding into the school system that failed them?
I also assume you’ll want extra monitoring of the schools that failed? Checking on the thousands of children that go to school and are bullying other children to the point they can’t take being in school anymore? The teachers who can’t handle children with additional needs and off roll them?
Can you explain how you will justify breaching our basic human rights under article 3 (t the right to be free from degradation, article 6 (the right to a fair trial which includes innocent until proven guilty), 8 (the right to enjoyment of private life and family life) 9 (the right to freedom of religion and belief which includes philosophical beliefs) and 14 (freedom from discrimination)
Can you explain how the police need a search warrant signed by the court if they wish to enter a known criminals home but thousands of law abiding families will be forced to comply to intrusive unwanted visits from strangers?
Your proposals which you have put forth based on false evidence and misinterpretations of the available data, could not be implemented without a massive breach of our human rights and those of our children.
Who will be monitoring and what will their qualifications be in order to know and understand each childs learning styles, needs and subjects?
Which raises some fantastic points and highlights those grey areas that were not covered in her report. I would love to see her response.
If the bill is successful and this registration and monitoring goes ahead, then where will that lead? Do non home educating parents believe that they are safe and that their right to parent as they see fit will not be affected? Because realistically, ALL CHILDREN are home educated until a parents decides to opt in to the state system. So are all parents happy for compulsory welfare visits termly from birth? And what if that person carrying out your visit doesn’t agree with your parenting style? Because we all know that there isn’t a one size fits all parenting package or style don’t we?
What about being checked up on during the summer holidays? 6 weeks certainly seems like a long time for a child not to be seen by a professional doesn’t it?! As a parent would you be happy to agree to this infringement of your families right to privacy?
Would you be happy for an unqualified Local Authority employee to have more right to enter your home than a police officer does a known criminals?
And what about what history shows us with regards to compulsory registration? Are any other non criminal groups treated in this manner?
The rate of domestic abuse is shocking, how many women have been killed at the hands of their partners in recent years? How many of those partners may have had a history of domestic abuse? Yet there is no compulsory register of domestic abusers, and no cry for mandatory local authority visits for all couples despite there being evidence and research about how witnessing domestic abuse affects children, and the cycle of abuse and deprivation.
So I ask you, if the government wins these parental rights over home educators, where do you really think they will stop? This is something that ALL parents need to be aware of. Something that ALL parents need to stand together and fight.