A Private Members’ Bill to give powers to local authorities to police home schooling has passed its second reading in the House of Lords. This is the latest attack on the rights of parents, on their duty to bring up their children and on the principle that it is parents, not the State, who are the primary educators of their children. This is the principle of parental duty that both John Locke and John Stuart Mill expounded on which today the State today increasingly infringes. It is the duty and authority of parents under common law to maintain, protect and educate their children.
This principle must not be abolished on the basis of a false premise.
In the typical manner of the Left, the quest to increase the power and reach of the State is being justified under the guise of ‘protecting vulnerable victims’. This modus operandi is so endemic today as to be invisible.
Children have become ‘vulnerable victims’ of their ‘unstable home life’, granting the authorities a rationale to intervene and ‘protect’ them from any nonconforming or independent-minded parents.
It is the same order of ‘victim’ justification that has been used to introduce hate crime laws to protect BAME, LGBT and disabled people, and is now being used to introduce – indeed impose – ‘inclusive sex and relationship education’ into schools to ‘protect LGBT people from bullying’; that sees teachers who disagree or don’t fully comply shut down, suspended or fired.
There are many good and varied reasons why more parents than ever choose to home-school their children, not least a lack of ‘good school’ places, bullying and the popularity of the home-school movement.
The vast majority of parents who make this difficult choice have their children’s best interests at heart and provide an excellent education which can match or exceed what they could receive from the State. Research indicates that outcomes for electively home-educated children appear to be very good, both in the USA and in the UK.
For those children who are deemed to need protection from their parents – whether from radicalisation, physical and educational neglect, or cruelty – it is hard to see why existing child protection laws as set out in the Children Act 1989 are deemed inadequate.
So why the need for this new Bill? Firstly, the number of home-school children has doubled in six years, alarming some politicians such as the former chair of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael, who wants every home educator to be registered. Estelle Morris, a former Labour Education Secretary and instigator of the Bill, wants to see councils monitor ‘the educational, physical and emotional development’ of home-educated children.
There we have it. This is the purpose of the Bill – to allow the State to interfere in the family, and to ensure that all children comply with what councils deem to be their correct development. This means they must tolerate and even celebrate multiculturalism, open borders, same-sex marriage, gender fluidity and whatever other ideologies the Left will demand every child must ‘respect’ now or in the future, however daft or immoral.
There is already a worrying trend among MPs and Ofsted officials to attempt to indoctrinate primary school children with ‘gender-queer theory’ which is confusing and damages children’s normal development as boys and girls.
Justine Greening’s plans to force ‘LGBT inclusive sex and relationships education’ on all primary and secondary schools is likely to expose children to explicit materials at an age which is far too young. This is not only wrong and damaging, but quite frankly, wicked.
Add to this the huge Left-wing bias in schools and universities, and the propensity of many teachers and professors to espouse Marxist philosophy either consciously or unconsciously, as well as EU propaganda prevalent in many schools, and it is not surprising that parents already want to remove their children from the swamp of State education. In fact the number who want to pull their children from State schools to avoid the damage of Greening’s changes and Marxist indoctrination is likely to skyrocket.
No wonder parents are walking away in droves from the education provided by the State.
In a healthy society, government limits its role to defending freedom, the nation and its values, supporting families, maintaining order and security and creating the rule of law which allows enterprise to flourish.
Far from discouraging home schooling – given the shortage of decent school places – the State should be thankful and move out of the way to let families get on with educating their children in their own way if they decide to do so. No agent of the State will care as much for children as their own parents.
The State exists to serve the people, and teachers are commissioned by parents to educate their children rather than the other way around. The effect of policing home schooling and giving local authorities powers to monitor parents and require them to have an annual audit will be to turn this principle on its head. Instead of teachers being in loco parentis, parents will be forced to become in domus imperium – compelled to do the bidding of the State under threat of sanction and potentially the ultimate penalty: having their children removed from them, Soviet-style, for not inculcating whatever ideologies the State wishes them to be programmed with.