Children are not ‘missing’ if they’re at home

Date: Monday 4th February 2019

Libertarian Party UK’s Education Spokesperson, Zoë Tidswell, responds to Children Commissioner Anne Longfield’s call that a compulsory register of all youngsters in Home Education is needed for their own protection as they are ‘missing’.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, has called for a compulsory register of all youngsters who are being home educated amid concerns that as many as 80,000 are ‘missing’ from official records.

It is alleged that numbers of those in receipt of Home Education have risen in the past year partly because pupils have been wrongly excluded from schools across the country. It is claimed that children who are being “off-rolled” — that is, excluded from school because they are unlikely to do well in exams — come from around 10% of schools.

Zoe Tidswell, Education Spokesperson of the Libertarian Party UK responded:

“The state education system is deeply flawed where schools are ejecting a proportion of enrolled students because they they are expected to perform badly in examinations which that very same state system is imposing upon them.

“This is very sad for those who are involuntarily pushed into Home Education by a hostile state school system as elective home educators will confirm it is an option best experienced as a path chosen, rather than one which is forced”, said Zoe Tidswell.

“Where off-rolling is a cause for concern, the Commissioner would do well to look at why schools are off-rolling these students rather than challenging dedicated home educators. She is looking in the wrong place.

Zoë stated, “parents should absolutely not have to be begging their local schools to provide them a service they have already been taxed to fund but which has been arbitrarily withdrawn.”

“I am hardly surprised it has come to this with the state’s long history of meddling in education in this manner with ineptitude and distress arising as a result. We need to change education.”

The Libertarian Party UK advocates ‘a scholarship for every child’ where parents are awarded vouchers to ‘spend’ on education. It could be for learning online, in schools, or with private home educators. Parents would be empowered to ‘vote with their vouchers’ whilst benefiting from lower tax and more say in the educational provision of their children.

Zoe Tidswell added, “the direction the Commissioner is taking wrongly places a stigma on Home Education when she ought to be respecting the choice parents make in selecting this education avenue for their children.

“Home education does not automatically give the state cause to snoop. A presumption of a child being unsafe is unfair, irrational and dangerous – such a presumption should assume the child is safe until proven otherwise.

“The Libertarian Party UK condemns abuse and takes seriously the safe-guarding of all children placed in the care of educational establishments.

“However, the nature of a compulsory register of children at home wrongly implies that those in Home Education are ‘missing’ and therefore unsafe.

“The Libertarian Party UK believes it is not the business of the state to meddle in the privacy or education of those who are happily ensconced in the family home on the basis that they are Home Educated.

“Children are not missing if they are with their parents”, she said.

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