EXECUTIVE CHALLENGED ANEW AS DOCUMENTARY REVEALS HOME EDUCATION SUCCESS!
Reproduced from media release posted on March 3, 2002 at:
Channel 4's weekend showing of the documentary 'We Don't Go To School' has resulted in a further deluge of enquiries to the Dundee-based Schoolhouse Home Education Association which offers information and support to home educating families and those contemplating the option.
Convener John White said:
"Within two hours of the programme going out, Schoolhouse had received over 20 enquiries from all over Scotland. By today (Sunday) the answering machine had run out of tape and there were 43 new e-mails waiting to be dealt with. What does that say about people's faith in the education system?"
Enquiries to Schoolhouse have reached an all time high following the issue by the Scottish Executive on Christmas Eve of draft guidance which was designed to curb the well-documented harassment of home educators by local authorities, but which has instead prompted unprecedented protest......
Read the full media release at http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/downloads/mr_030302.pdf
Previous news item from email dated February 3, 2002:
Would you be interested in featuring the assault on educational freedom which is being perpetrated by the Scottish Government?
The following websites have all the relevant information:
(press release from Schoolhouse, the Scottish homeschooling support group)
A protest march on the Scottish Parliament will be held on Thursday 7 February.
I have copied below an article from the January edition of the Schoolhouse Home Education News for your further information and thank you in anticipation of your interest.
Schoolhouse Home Education Association
311 Perth Road, Dundee DD2 1LG
Tel. 0870 745 0968
BRAVE NEW SCOTLAND
Home educators in Scotland have reacted angrily to the Scottish Executive's attack on educational freedom in the form of 'draft guidance' to local authorities which condones the breaching of human rights and data protection legislation and promises backing to the very bullies such guidance was designed to curb. It is intolerable that such a document should have made it out from a government department claiming consultation with home education organisations when their views were completely ignored; and since it is unlikely these views will have any impact on the final document, a detailed response seems hardly worth the ink - though don't worry, we wouldn't miss another opportunity to point out all of its many flaws!
Irene McGugan MSP has already lodged a Parliamentary Motion* calling for the draft document's withdrawal, and other MSPs have promised their support, having recognised a government stitch-up when they see one. A protest march and rally has been organised by a group of home educators for 7 February, and MSPs will also be asked to show their support there. We would really like to know what became of the long-awaited Scottish Parliament of which some of us had such high hopes.
Home educators' reactions were swift and unanimous, despite the Executive's attempts to hide the document on their website and make it as difficult as possible for people to download when they did locate it. Issuing it on Christmas Eve was pretty underhand, almost as underhand as suggesting home education organisations colluded in its content. Until they received complaints, there was no indication on the website of how and where to respond to the draft document, or even that it was for consultation, and comments by the Executive since its release sum up their attitude to those who would dare reject their schools in favour of education: they would prefer all children to be in state schools, but have to grudgingly respect the right of a small minority group to home educate.
They seem to have forgotten the basics, however, in that it is parents who are responsible for ensuring their children are educated and that schools have no such duty - they just have to be there for parents to delegate to. Much was made of the new Standards in Scotland's Schools Act which promised children the right to an education provided by the state which should be directed to their individual talents and fulfil their potential, but let's not get excited about that because education authorities can still claim 'unreasonable public expenditure' at every turn. They would much rather spend as much money as possible hounding refuseniks into their schools to accept the bullying, indiscipline, low teacher morale and mediocrity, it seems.
A history lesson may not go amiss here:
Adolf Hitler outlawed home education in 1930s Germany. He went on to close down all small schools, forcing children into large impersonal institutions to learn the Nazi 'creed'. We all know what happened next, even those of us who went to school.
In Scotland, St Mary's School in Dunblane is being dragged back into local authority control against the express wishes of parents. Now home education is coming under unprecedented attack. Comments from those who are supposed to be impartial have only served to emphasis the seriousness of the threat.
Families in England and Wales, the USA, Canada, Japan and across Europe have sent their deepest sympathy to the home educators of Scotland and many have offered refuge to those who choose to leave the country.
Are we really such a great threat to the establishment? Have we asked the 'wrong' questions? Are we just another easy target to pick off before they move on to somebody else?
A copy of this document can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library3/homeed.pdf, or can be requested from the Scottish Executive Education Department, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ, tel. 0131 244 7594, e-mail Home.Ed.Guidance@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Comments to Lindsey Wright (at above address) by 29 March.
*S1M-2591# Irene McGugan: Draft Guidance for Home Education-That the Parliament is concerned at the Scottish Executive issuing for consultation draft guidance on the circumstances in which parents may choose to educate their children at home, without taking proper account of the views of children and parents affected by this; does not support this action and recognises the considerable alarm its issue has generated within the home education community and the damage which it is likely to cause to relationships between families and education authorities; further recognises the fundamental human rights of parents and children to choose education outwith school and without being obstructed by the state; notes that section 14 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, under which this draft guidance was issued, was introduced to protect home educating families from any harassment or intimidation by education authorities, as evidenced by an independent report from the Scottish Consumer Council; further notes that section 14 was supported by the Parliament on condition that the content of the guidance was fully informed by home educating families; refutes the consultation document's unfounded and insulting inferences that home educated children are in need of extraordinary measures of care and protection due to the exercise of a lawful educational choice which is equally valid to schooling; considers that the guidance exhorts local authorities to act beyond their powers under section 37 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 and seeks to condone unlawful breaches of data protection and human rights legislation; believes that the Minister for Education and Young People should apologise to the home education community in Scotland and withdraw the consultation document immediately on the grounds that the Scottish Executive has no authority to approve such breaches, and, in the light of its failure to address the serious issues raised in the Scottish Consumer Council's report and the many concerns of families who will be affected by such guidance, considers that the Scottish Executive should end the discrimination against home educating families in Scotland forthwith by amending the necessary laws to afford them the same legal rights as those families in England, whereby children may be removed from state schools upon a written notification.
(As of 31 January 2002, 40 MSPs out of the 106 eligible to sign - mostly from the opposition Scottish Nationalist and Scottish Conservative parties - had supported this Motion)
Original email bulletin dated January 25, 2002:
Dear Sir or Miss:
We are Canadian born-again Christian home educators who have lived in Scotland for the last 13 years. For those of you receiving this e-mail in Canada - we moved here from Guelph, Ontario although my wife has lived on Vancouver Island and in North Vancouver and loves Buffalo Pound and Maple Creek in Saskatchewan - having camped there. We are writing to you as the home educators here in Scotland have come under an unprecedented attack by the newly devolved Scottish Executive in a consultation paper on home education that runs until March 29.02. The full text is available in PDF form - the site is listed below - but it exhorts education authourities to use the census, ect. to track down home schoolers not known to them presently but who are legally not required to have contact with them and to ultimately impose the state curriculum on them under the guise of the need for a "broad based curriculum." If the education authourites assess your home schooling as "not broad based enough" then they can force your children back into a state school with no automatic right of appeal available to the parents. (That will be at the Local Education Authourities discretion and the general concensus is that all children to them should be in a state school.) Deregistration from school will now rise from 6 weeks up to 8 weeks and then only if the school administration will deregister your child can they be taken out. We would appeal to all home schoolers to e-mail the list below with protest after reading the web page sites that we have listed.
Any assistance to us here in Scotland will be gratefully accepted and if there can be any media exposure through the press, internet, magazines ect. your enquiries on this level should be directed to the Schoolhouse Association in Dundee - asking for Alison Preuss.
Here are the web pages:
This is the site which has the PDF file on the consultation draft in the education section.
These are places to e-mail your concerns and objections:
Lesley Riddock - BBC Radio - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scottish Parliament - email@example.com
The Scotsman - firstname.lastname@example.org
Courier - email@example.com
The Herald - firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who can help the home educators here in Scotland, in whatever way you can.
Capt. and Mrs. Andrew Jones, Reg. N.
The Pinery Homeschool