The trouble with Select Committees... well, there are a few troubles with Select Committees. The first is that they are made up of a bunch of people who – er – want to rule the rest of the population. That is an odd thing to want to do. Personally, I don't seem to want to rule anyone, except myself and I have a darn difficult time doing even that on occasions being as I'm so multi-layered and mysterious.
Another trouble with Select Committees is that they have to read a tremendous amount of information in a fairly short time. How can they sort out the chaff from the wheat? It would take me a couple of years to properly digest what some interesting and erudite characters have had to say in support of home education and some fascinating points they have raised too. I'm proud to call myself a home edder.
Of course, I've had a tremendous advantage. I belong to some lively and thoughtful lists with some incredibly dedicated folk adorning them so I've been able to sharpen my little Shrek pencil as I've watched their amazing contributions to the outstanding learning opportunity afforded by home education to even the parental contingent of the home educating family. Me, in fact.
Yet another concern of mine about Select Committee is that they employ discreet language. I want to shout Balls is a moron and Badman is a (er, I cannot think of a suitable thing to shout. Perhaps the DCSF would like to consult on that. Suitable names for Badman. It would probably be as meaningful as consulting on a suitable education).
Then, again, there's the fact that people sitting on a Committee are not exactly unbiased. They are biased in many different ways, but one specific way is that they will be biased towards state schooling. If you skin the average person you will find state schooling writ large upon his or her heart. It's a strange thing how something so potentially damn dreadful, and no matter what atrocities of either the educational or bullying kind were perpetrated upon you, you STILL insist that 'they were the best days of mah life.' What PR school has enjoyed. How deep it has sunk into the societal bedrock. What crap it is! So much so that, if someone brings up all the terrible, soul-destroying happenings in his school, he finishes by wiping a tear from his filling eye and blowing his filling nose at the very thought of the old alma mater.
It's like the most insidious of abuse cycles.
So, we have those worthies of the Select Committee, all with their various Party lines, and their multitudinous prejudices listening variously to the rapidly sinking and almost incomprehensible muttering Badman (an upstanding representative of their kind of man) and the bright, inquisitive, alive responses from home educating children and their families.
What is a man constrained by the likes of Ed. Balls to do?
How are they to look their leader in his dark eyeballs if they deploy the nukes on the pathetic heap of prejudiced garbage that is dignified by the name of the Elective Home Education Review.
One of my first thoughts on sighting the Committee report was that they still have not realised that parents are the best ones to parent and are best placed to decide which form of education suits their own children and that local authorities underlying remit is to destroy home education and get those children into school.
So we have home educators – totally committed parents – and we have local authorities, some with fine representatives but others, a lot of others, with no darn clue about any kind of an education at all and a serious blind-spot which makes them avoid the facts looming up to crash into them. The facts are that the school system does not work. I would say it does not work for everyone but the longer I live the more I believe (there's that word again) that school DOES NOT WORK because it is predicated upon force.
And, however men like to spin it, force does not conquer all.
Overall, it's a 50.3% from me for the Select Committee Report. They criticise Badman, yes, they'd have to be blind, deaf, dumb and living inside the mountains not to know that Badman's so-called report is fit only to line our budgies' cages. Yet they haven't caught on that it is the parents' duty to choose the mode of education for their children. The parents' duty. Not the government's, not Balls', not Badman's, not Barry Sheerman's, not the MPs', not the paranoid LAs'.
You know it's practically impossible for a child to avoid getting an education. They're born to it. They question as soon as they wake up and talk. They do it because it is an instinct. You cannot deny a child an education, but you can choose which education – in accordance with their wishes – that they will get, even if that's one that they select for themselves (this is called the autonomous way).
That's the kind of Select Committee I approve of.