What’s been said?
If you’ve read our post about Islamic parents choosing to home educate as a result of bullying, the above headline will sound familiar. This one is taken from a Telegraph article which cites the same academic paper, though you may not think so from the style. For some reasons many journalists think that they have to sensationalise (most) stories in order to be successful. This one is no exception, with Olivia Rudgard failing to make clear that the paper discusses just two families.
The news story does however bring aspects of the report’s findings to a wider readership – the original is not on open access. It also provided an opportunity for three institutions to respond to the claims highlighted by the headline.
Why does this matter?
According to the Muslim Council of Britain, racism and discrimination against Muslim children is known to be a common reason why many Muslims home educate. They have previously raised it with the government to no avail. They concluded by saying, “Whilst we hope for a change in the approach, it would be disappointing if it is only the risk of radicalisation to spur the government into action.”
An unnamed Ofsted spokesman stated, “It is unacceptable that any family should feel they have no choice but to home educate their child because they are being bullied at school.” Too right! How many parents from various cultural backgrounds have done this, but no-one has been listening to them? After justifying how they inspect a school’s bullying record, he ended with what seems to have become Ofsted’s mantra, “Schools bring together children from a wide range of different backgrounds, so it is very important that they work hard to unify their pupils and promote equalities law and fundamental British values.”
The DfE spokesman said, “Intimidation or bullying of any kind is abhorrent and completely unacceptable.” He went on to say they were working closely with all religious groups to tackle bullying in schools, implying that the provision of £1.75 million for anti-bullying organisations was a remedy which they hoped would work.
The main reason why this matters is that these could turn out to be no more than superficial responses by two government departments. No parent should feel that handing over their children into the state’s care puts them at risk. This was the original justification for the now infamous “Every Child Matters” policy. Though the name has now been discarded, the thinking behind it has been disconnected from improving the government’s own provisions and is increasingly imposed upon parents who quite legally choose not to send their children to schools.
What can I do?
In highlighting articles like this one, The HE Byte team hope we can keep you informed about the broad range of issues which connect directly with current attempts to impose state supervision on all families. This is what was planned in Scotland through the Named Person Scheme, which is presently stalled after a High Court ruling. In other countries the HE community is being targeted directly. When faced with further criticism of HE, keep the bigger context in mind and remind parents (and grandparents) of children in school that you are concerned for their human rights as well as yours.
It is ironic that Ofsted, whose original mandate was to report back to parents on how well the state was providing for their children, has now morphed into an organisation which has for some time now been seeking to bully parents – and some schools – into teaching the state’s philosophies instead of their own.