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OpenLetterAPPG

Page history last edited by starkfamily1@... 10 years, 10 months ago

 

"The APPG on Home Education has been established to promote a greater understanding of elective home education among MPs and peers. It is open to MPs and peers of all parties regardless of their views on home education. It is not, therefore, a campaign group on behalf of home education and has no particular stance on the issues concerned.

 

Of course, it is to be hoped that the APPG will provide a setting where MPs can listen to the views of home educators and their children, and a setting in which Ministers can be questioned on their proposals."

Graham Stuart MP (Chair, APPG)

 

Open letter to the All Party Parliamentary Group – Home Education

27.11.09

 

Dear Member,

 

Action for Home Education (AHEd)1 is an action group of home educating parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland whose purpose is to defend and advance home education rights and liberties and to promote fair and equal treatment for all home educators. All members can take an equal part in the work produced by AHEd. AHEd is an affiliate of the Scottish home education association Schoolhouse, which supports families in Scotland.

 

We understand that this APPG was set up to promote a greater understanding of elective home education. AHEd members therefore wish to elucidate for the APPG the freedoms we consider it essential to protect.

 

We hope that this submission will help the APPG to understand better what we believe to be at stake and why we cannot compromise or negotiate over essential liberties. We would be very happy to discuss any of these points with you in more detail or indeed any other issues you may wish to raise.

 

1. Background Information

 

Despite a sorry history of lies and obfuscation of the fact, there has never been a time in the history of this country when parents were not responsible for the upbringing of their children; including the responsibility to help them become fit for adult life in the community by helping them to learn what they needed to know, via whatever means they found appropriate.

 

In 1870 education, not school, was made compulsory. The parental choice to continue to take direct responsibility for education, as parents had from time immemorial, was protected but at the same time obscured in law by the government of the day who were defeated by force of public opposition in their ambitions to force their schools on the 'lower orders'. Thus we have all lived for the past 139 years under the tyranny of a "big lie" 2 , enabled by the words "compulsory school age", that school is compulsory.

 

As soon as a significant number of parents in the post WWII era began to discover the truth of the law, and exercise this much-abused essential liberty3, then government again began to try to take this liberty away. Registration of elective home educators has been a government intention since at least the 1980's, as has inspection and monitoring. 

 

Since that time successive governments have done nothing to discourage LAs, who have simply assumed they already had such statutory duties4, from imposing ultra vires inspection regimes and pretending that home educators had to comply. Indeed, they have done much to encourage such local despotism. Witness for example the leading questions contained in the Badman questionnaire to LAs:

Q49 Does the local authority face any challenges in assessing whether home educated children receive a suitable education?

Q50 If you answered yes to Q49, please describe the challenges and what you think could be done to overcome these. 

 

2. AHEd views

 

If a fundamental liberty exists and has always existed, then it behoves a government seeking to remove it to demonstrate the inescapable necessity of doing so. This, successive governments have consistently failed to do. No such consensus, or anything approaching one has been arrived at.  Indeed government's justifications for removing this essential liberty have been robustly answered, and better safeguarding proposals put forward and endorsed by those working in the field of child protection. For example, see "Why Social Workers Oppose ContactPoint" 5.

 

Just law exists to defend essential liberty and the prevention of harm, not arbitrarily or opportunistically to remove liberty, the more efficiently to enslave.  If the law itself is to command respect rather than contempt it must do this, and government cannot enact any despotism or arbitrary removal of timeless freedoms as it chooses.

 

The grossly disproportionate recommendations of the Badman review hold serious implications for the civil liberties of all parents, children and families in this country. Registration is permission, since it can be withheld, and the recommendations specifically intend it to be witheld where education proposals do not meet with prior state approval.  It is nothing less than the removal of a fundamental freedom plus its conversion into the provisional gift of government.  This has potentially fatal implications for all parental responsibility for education as enshrined by s7 of the 1996 Education Act, and furthermore violates human rights instruments.

 

3. AHEd statement

 

We support:

 

  • Section 7 of the Education Act 1996

 

(Parents are responsible for the education of their children, not the state and may choose to fulfill that responsibility otherwise than at a school)

 

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable

 

to his age, ability and aptitude, and

 

to any special educational needs he may have,

 

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

 

  • Protocol 1. ARTICLE 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights

 

No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.

 

  • Article 8, Human Rights Act 1998

 

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

 

  • Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

 

  • The Parents' Declaration6

  •  

See references

 

We also declare that:

 

We refuse to cooperate with any recommendations made or any actions taken by any government unless they support our existing freedoms.

 

Following a history of being sidelined, persecuted and harassed, having had to resist years of repeated and vexatious consultations designed to regulate, control or remove our parental options, we will not tolerate any further persecution or erosion of our freedoms.

 

There can be no compromise or negotiation between the totalitarian intentions of some governments and our agency over our own lives. 

 

We are opposed to registration.

 

We are opposed to monitoring.

 

We are opposed to government interventions in how we educate our children in the home.

 

We are opposed to compulsory home visits.

 

We are opposed to compulsory interviews with our children.

 

We will not co-operate with the oppression of our children.

 

We demand a presumption of innocence

 

We want our representatives in parliament to say:

 

 NO to the nationalisation of children 

 

 NO to the licensing of parents

 

 NO to any new legislation restricting home education

 

(signed, etc.)

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

(1) http://ahed.pbworks.com/

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie

(3) For example, Joy Baker, author of "Children in Chancery" who fought during the late 50's early 60's to protect her right to educate her children otherwise than at school

and Education Otherwise, set up in the mid seventies as a support network for families choosing home education.

(4) http://www.home-education.org.uk/local.htm

(5) http://www.radical.org.uk/barefoot/data.htm

(6) PARENTS’ DECLARATION

 

WE DECLARE our independent status and affirm our responsibility for the upbringing and education of our children in accordance with our lawful rights and natural justice.

 

WE ASSERT our right to choose the place, form and content of the educational provision for our children in accordance with the following:

 

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b)to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

(Section 7 of theEducation Act 1996)

 

In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.

(Protocol 2 Article 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights)

 

WE WILL protect the rights of our children to own their own lives, to privacy and freedom from undue official interference in accordance with the following rights:

 

The right to respect for a private and family life, home and correspondence

(Human Rights Act 1998)

 

the right to be free from “arbitrary or unlawful interference with [their] privacy, family, home or correspondence” and from “unlawful attacks on [their] honour and reputation

(Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

 

WE DEMAND that state officials remain within the bounds of the powers already conferred upon them under current law in their dealings with us, the people. 

 

WE WILL UPHOLD AND DEFEND the above principles without fear or favour where the state forgets its legitimate function, oversteps its bounds or seeks to exert undue influence or power over our lives and those of our children against our traditional freedoms and natural justice.

May 1st 2009

http://ahed.pbworks.com/ParentsDeclaration

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

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