We home educators did a lot of good work, huh!
Over the years, we told everyone life is fab without school!
Okay, that pissed off some of you, but we also spread the actual wording of the law, which nowhere states that school is compulsory, but which states the duty to educate your children by school or otherwise - a duty which you sign over to a school when you register Tinkertop. But you can take that duty back, perfectly legally, by writing a deregistration letter.
Now, off to the woods!
Well, maybe we did too much good ground work. Because the wind blows this way.
The government is encouraging schools to enter a market place, but the market is very bad at supplying school places when and where they are needed. If you do get your child into a school of your choice, you can find children locked everyday into over-crowded classes. It hasn't helped that the government has, over many years, slagged off the teaching profession as idle, feckless, lazy buggers with too many holidays. And now, the new curriculum is turning parents off.
But there's more! The media happily reports our everyday problems of unregulated
schools doing what they like. Doesn't matter whether Jewish, Muslim,
Christian. Stories of abuse and brainwashing are rife. You'd think mini jihadists are being brainwashed everywhere.
There's only one conclusion to come to. The schooling system is in a mess.
And that's advantageous. We have a government running on neoliberal lines; they want to open up the public educational market to businesses supplying learning packages; they want you to use computers which can track and monitor you; and they want to solve the problems of unpredictable school places and those expensive teachers.
What's a good solution? Home School!
Look, you've already been told how fab this life is. The government will say 'some parents do an excellent job' to encourage more of you to take up your Section 7 duty and teach your kids yourself.
Except, it will be claimed, you're not quite up to the job. And we wouldn't want any child to slip through the net and be subject to abuse/brainwashing/neglect. Therefore, new home schoolers, you must register, use approved packages run on your computer and tied into the curriculum, so your child can re-enter the school system at any point having never fallen behind; and the government will support you by giving you a voucher to buy approved online learning from the educational supplier of your choice, but in return you must agree to an Ofsted inspector or LA equivalent into your home to approve your work.
How is government going to do it?
Step1) Send out pro-'home-school' reports in the media to prepare the ground. The media will be complicit. Let's face it, Richard, the standard of critical education journalism in this country is pretty poor. The words HOME-SCHOOL will be used everywhere. The words HOME EDUCATION will be abandoned, for these words simply won't appear in government press-releases.
Step 2) Use Local Authorities to encourage parents to 'home-school'. As more schools turn into Academies (we tried force, other methods will be found), so the LA education departments will be required to work elsewhere. The LA bods who once worked with local schools will be placed in charge of the more difficult areas - 'special educational needs', the 'traveller children', the 'school refusers' and 'the home-schooled'.
Step 3) Order a review into home schooling. Find that there is no register and no requirements on local authorities to keep records.
Step 4) Force a registration system into Local Authorities for home-school record-keeping. Your LA will then send out all information telling parents how you must be registered if you choose HOME-SCHOOL. At the moment, there is no compulsion for a parent to register and no requirement in law for LAs to keep any register. Because primary law is difficult to change, expect this shift to come through changes to interpretative documents such as guidelines.
Step 5) Parents will be told they are not up to the specialised job of covering any curriculum. After all, just look! It's impossible for most parents to 'achieve the high standards expected at age 11 SATs'! Thus you will be encouraged to buy off-the-shelf learning packages from large corporates. The job of business will be to take public taxation money for education and package it up into online modules to sell back to you.
Step 6) You must buy this stuff! Kids must work at the computer with a prescribed curriculum! Kids must then take online tests to be marked by computer! How are we going to force parents to buy into this system? Give them money. If you register and 'home-school' you'll be given a voucher to spend at your favourite corporate supplier on the packages that are linked to school. Now you are home schooling! Well done!
Step 7) You must be inspected, obviously. They gave you money and they want you to be accountable to it. And, after all, your child is now being HOME-SCHOOLED and is therefore INVISIBLE AT HOME. You could be doing anything to them! Every term the LA will meet its obligations set by central government and come round with a clipboard and tick sheet.
Step 8) We can now equip every person born in this country with a personal student number. Tinkertop, born today, your number will be associated on a big database with all the keystrokes you have entered throughout your educational career since the age of birth. Every online test you take, every computer-based curriculum you follow, it will all be logged. You will be told how this is to your learning advantage; you will be given unique feedback, your intellectual development will be supported the moment you begin to engage with your nursery curriculum. Expect tie-ins and merchandise. The online link between the Entertainment industry and the Education industry. Peppa Pig Does Big Maths Online. Approved by government, supported by the Educational Voucher Scheme for HomeSchoolers, and the test results of your 3-year old collated, tracked, and owned throughout their lives in a fantastic big data exercise!
Success! Government opened up the education system to the market; positioned teachers as support assistants thus lowering further their pay grades; the pressure on local schools is lifted by parents doing it for themselves; the responsibilities for on-site monitoring given to local authorities and the chums running shareholder corporates given access to public education budgets!
Hey, you parents doing HOME SCHOOLING! You're doing a GREAT JOB!
My only request to you, parent unit, in this brave new world, is simple: that you explore the philosophies that brought about home education.