What’s been said?
Concerned about current attacks on the freedoms of home educators, Caroline Ellis has created a Home Education Freedom Charter. Caroline writes about prejudice and hostility both in Parliament and the media. As she explains, the EHE community is widely united in believing that the existing legal framework offers all the powers necessary to deal with any issues. The balance between the essential freedoms of the individual and the responsibilities of the state are, in her view, currently correct. Caroline questions why, in that case, registration, inspection and the inevitable regulation that it will bring are being so aggressively promoted. You are invited to support the Freedom Charter because “a threat to freedom for one is a threat for all”.
Why does it matter?
The Charter commences with a statement about the legal rights of parents to home educate, giving the philosophical reason why these freedoms are so vital. Baroness Hale of Richmond is quoted as saying that children are not “creatures of the state” to be “moulded to its own design… families in all their subversive variety are the breeding ground of diversity and individuality” which is so essential to the effective functioning of a genuinely pluralist society.
It continues by explaining the implications and outcomes of destroying an effective voluntary engagement in which rights of parents and responsibilities of the state work in balance. It would create fear and suspicion and destroy the very foundation of home education. These are the listed probable outcomes:
- home educators forced to register
- families subjected to routine monitoring and unwanted ‘visits’ at home from officials with no experience or understanding of EHE
- EHE children interrogated away from their parents, with no advocate, no regard to the implications for the child’s fundamental human rights, or the potential distress caused
- a child’s work examined without their consent
- progress measured against an artificial schooled norm
- children forced back to school against their will if they don’t match this norm.
Outlining the threat which the growing choice of EHE is now perceived to be, the Charter points out that home educators are parents, and citizens in a democracy, who value freedom, diversity and individuality. It concludes with a series of powerful guarantees which are required by the government.
What can I do?
It is important not to remain silent while essential freedoms are assaulted and eroded. If you agree with the points made, sign the Charter. If you have concerns about any of the issues it raises or for another reason you don’t wish to sign, bookmark the page. It is a very clear and thorough analysis of the current situation and will be very helpful when writing or talking about the attacks on freedom that Parliament and the media are pursuing. The originator of the Charter also provides a contact email address, so it would be good to get in touch with her and express your thoughts personally as a form of encouragement.