Friday, 19 June 2009

Do you agree with compulsory registration?

This is the one of the questions being posed on an e-group to which I belong, set up to discuss repsonse to the Badman review. My intial reaction is, 'no', after all, isn't that what I'm supposed to believe? But then I stopped to think about it. What do I really think?

Well, I can see why people think there should be compulsory registration. It's kind of scary, the idea that there are all these unknown children out there: who knows what could be happening to them? People are often very surprised when I say that I don't have to register and it's usually one of the first questions I am asked. If we're going to be seen as reasonable and not nutters perhaps we should concede this point?

What does compulsory mean? That I could be forced to do it, or punished if I don't? Who would be punished? Not me, but my children who I believe who have a right to be educated in the way that suits them best.

Who would decide if I am educating them properly? And will they understand the fundamenatlly different paradigm of education which I follow? Have they read, for example, John Holt, and if so, could they argue that my children must to follow a set curriculum in order to learn?

But I also wonder what registration would achieve? There are no known fatalities amongst children who were not known so social services before they were Home Educated. Although Khyra Ishaq was withdrawn from school before she died, the family was known by both social services and, more tellingly, the police. Compulsory registration would have done nothing to protect this little girl.

Also, there does't seem to be an outcry from adults who were Home Educated (and there must be plenty. Education Otherwise was started in 1977 so there are adults my age who were Home Educated) saying that they were lost and forgotten.

It would cost a huge amount of money, money which could be better spent in schools, say, or for social services to protect those children they know are in trouble.

So no, I do not think there should be compulsory registration.

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