What’s been said?
Writing in Conservative Woman (20 February 2018) Chris McGovern (Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education; a retired head teacher with 35 years’ teaching experience, and a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street under two Prime Ministers) responds to the Sunday Times article two days earlier. (See our comment.)
Why does it matter?
The article is powerful, because it presents clear, logical arguments and highlights legal points pertinent to the current debate. The issue is defined, quite correctly, as the war surrounding your child; in this case, EHE is the key battle. The question is simple – who knows better, state or parents?
The rights of parents are enshrined in Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), written after World War II, precisely to protect children from the state control embraced by totalitarian regimes. To reinforce the point, the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (also encompassed in the 1996 Education Act) acknowledges the fundamental importance of the family as a social unit to which the state should offer “the widest possible protection and assistance”.
The proposals laid out in Lord Soley’s Private Member’s Bill clearly contravene this, but the argument is not one based on empirical evidence. The Sunday Times article talks about “legions” of children “growing up ignorant” yet, as Chris McGovern points out, 20 per cent of school leavers are deemed unemployable, so young people are at far greater risk of growing up ignorant if they attend mainstream schools – the evidence says so.
He also raises the issue of British Values – outlining the case of a school which required its students to write a letter explaining to their family why they had converted to Islam. There’s the TES lesson, linked to an ISIS magazine, to aid students in imagining the benefits of ISIS membership, including white slave girls.
Not quoted in the article, but of growing concern to parents, is the extent of sexual abuse in schools. Some 5,500 cases of peer-on-peer abuse have been reported to the police in the last 3 years and since many children won’t talk about what has happened to them, it’s a reasonable assumption that this really is the tip of an iceberg. Numbers of teachers dismissed for sexual abuse with pupils is growing and the whole issue is so significant that the government commissioned a report into the problem during 2017.
Whatever the media might like to assume in order to create controversial copy, the evidence is clear – statistically, children are much safer being educated at home.
What can I do?
Bookmark this review of Chris McGovern’s article so that you have ready access to the legal points and arguments that he makes. Use these points, whenever the opportunity arises, to defend EHE against the charge that EHE children are ‘missing’ education and at risk of being abused.