Victory for now

Most people in the UK are aware that we are at present in the final days of the present Parliament.

On Tuesday Gordon Brown finally plucked up the courage to “see the Queen” and ask her permission to call an election. That not only officially launched the election campaign, but it also triggered the start of the Parliamentary process strangely nicknamed ‘the wash-up”. I have never been interested in such things before, but now thanks to Messrs Brown and Balls I have been following it as closely as possible as one Bill after another is ‘debated’ at breakneck speed. Amongst those being swirled around in this human dishwasher is of course the Childrens, Schools and Families Bill which contained the offensive clauses about home education.

Yesterday (Wed. 7 Apr) the CSF Bill, joined the queue to get rushed through the House of Lord. It was clear from their previous comments that both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would not allow Clause 26 & Schedule 1 to remain in the Bill. I am pleased to say that they kept their word!

Round 1 therefore goes to the many home educating families who have lobbied MPs and Lords, developing skills which they had rarely called on before.

Balls and Badman have to now retreat to lick their wounds. However, as could have been very easily predicted, Ed Balls sounding something like a spoilt child who has had his favourite toy taken from him, has already promised to reintroduce all the deleted clauses. Of course his best pal Brown has first to convince the people of Britain that Labour is the best option for the next Government. Many people think that that is unlikely but not impossible and whilst HE families can now enjoy a small break from political activity, we cannot afford ourselves the luxury of thinking the big bad wolf has gone away. He would love to have another go!

If the Conservatives or/and the Liberal Democrats have influence after May 6th then whilst they have said they will not seek a licensing scheme, they have both said that there will have to be a change to HE laws in the future. Whilst we don’t want to rush HE to the top of the agenda, HE families will need to engage with local politicians and front bench teams at some point. I trust we will not leave this until the last minute next time.

Having said that I want to congratulate and encourage all the families who have risen to the task in the last fifteen months. It has often been said that the HE community has a weakness because it cannot easily gather together under a single organisation. Can I say here that I believe that it’s our independence which has proved a valuable asset. MPs and peers have commented many times on the amount of correspondence they have received and several have said how they have been impressed by the HE children they have met. What they have discovered is that the HE community does not consist of one or two groups of self-appointed representatives but hundreds of responsible parents who are so committed to their childrens’ futures that the education provided by the State to the majority is just not good enough for them!

Enjoy the break but keep your eyes on the ball (and Balls)!

Further Reading:

DfCSF Statement on the Children, Schools and Families Bill

Conservative wash-up announcement

I cannot find anything from the Lib Dems at present

Ed Balls bolshy (or should that be sulky) letter to Michael Gove

Relevant article in the Daily Telegraph

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