Thursday, 22 October 2009

Home Education and Religion

Last week at the second select committee hearing, one Peter Traves of Staffordshire LA made a most incredible public faux pas. Or was it?

Mr Traves said:

"There are also parents who withdraw their children, I have to say, for particular religious view and wanted that religious view incultcating that child. It isn’t just about the rights of parents, it’s also about the rights of children…”

The implication being that to choose to home educate your child for religious reasons is wrong, and must not be allowed.

It seems it's hunting season for religious home educators, as even dear old Aunty have been getting in on the act too.

I don't suppose it would interest the likes of Mr Traves to know that in a recent diversity survey I conducted, of the 3.4% of home educators who said they did NOT include any information about other religions/life philosophies in their child's home education, 50% were atheists and 37% were agnostics!

As it happens, I am not a religious person. Indeed, having spent 3 years in a Catholic boarding school as a non baptised person, I have always been rather anti-religion. However, I have found myself in the position of defending people of faith in the last year or so, as they have come under ever greater attack from the system. This is particularly true for religious home educators. It seems that it is fine for a child to be *inculcated* with a state *religion* but absolutely unforgivable for a parent to want to pass on it's religious views and morals to their child.

This reminds me so very much of the DDR.

"While the DDR didn`t officially ban religion, it adopted social policies that had a devestating impact on religion. DDR policies hindered the free exercise of religion. East Germans who wanted to be profesionally successful didn't attend church. And the children in school, of course, were also observed what the parents wre doing. If a teenager wanted to attend university and persue a professional career, he could not be a Church member or attend Church."

We here in the UK seem to think that our history of freedom means we are immune from the encroachment of an authoritarian, fascist state. We wax lyrical about our grandfathers who fought against such outrages, as though their ghosts offer us protection.

We think that human rights acts will protect us against such outrages.

We think human decency will protect against such outrages.

The only thing that will protect us is people, ordinary people, such as our grandfathers were, standing up and saying enough is enough, and refusing to accept these outrages. If we are employed by government departments we must not fall into saying *but I was just doing my job*, because make no mistake, if allowed, history does repeat itself. Just because we are British doesn't mean we cannot fall under the jackboot of totalitarianism - read the newspapers, we're further along the road than you might like to believe. Where is your line in the sand?

Armed police on the streets?
Children removed from their families because they are *too fat*?
Your 5 year old being taught about masturbation in sex ed lessons?

the Fabian Society have plans for your children, regardless of what you or your child have planned for themselves.

What has this got to do with religion? It's simple really, and I know it's become something of a cliché but things become clichés for a good reason.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

ETA: The unesco document incase the Fox News link is too biased go to pages 48 and 49.


  1. Thank you, amazing post

  2. Excellent post so glad someone found the words to say it and say it so well.

  3. Ah Traves is from Staffs LA! Thta explains a lot. I believe Staffs have a strong hand in driving this anti EHE agenda. They've been very proactive in organising inter LA conferences where home education has been on the menu and this has been happening for quite some time.

    Staffs also have a very long history indeed of being hostile to home education. Their position has not changed.

    I keep wondering where the hell the SCI got hold of the idea that Staffs have good practice. They most certainly do not!

  4. Thank you. I was appalled by Traves statement.
    I went to school with a lot of people from Poland and Ukraine. They knew all about what happens when religious freedom gets ditched. One of my friends would be picked up at the gate by her grandmother who still had the Auschwitz tattoo on her wrist. My friend's brother was trapped in then Communist Poland.
    I'm 45 so this isn't really ancient history is it?
    Well, the fight goes on.

  5. Thanks so much for this, Tech. Who will it be next? Stringing up innocent people who simply happen to differ on a point of view! NO is the only answer for us.