Those Who Can’t Do, Teach, Those That Can’t Teach, Manage…

June 25th, 2009

Gavin Webb is a Libertarian Liberal Democrat councillor for Stoke and Trent Vale ward on Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

He has just written something that was sent to us, so lets look at it shall we?

Those who can, teach – like parents!

As a matter of principle, Liberal Democrats should support home educators in their opposition to Graham Badman’s recommendations in the Review of Elective Home Education in England. However, I fear the Party leadership will not do so.

That is because they have no principles, obviously.

Instead, it looks at though it will be seeking to find a ‘balance’ between the rights of parents to decide for themselves how best to educate their children, and the collective welfare of children as a whole.

Why am I so concerned that the Party may side with collectivism as opposed to defending individual rights? Upon seeking clarification on the Party’s policy on home education from Cowley Street’s policy boffs, and in particular on the Badman recommendations, I was reliably informed of the need to find that balance. In short, I was told the Party is generally supportive of the Badman recommendations.

Which is just what we expect from a party filled with irrational people.

I have several problems with siding with this subjective piece of rubbish. As a libertarian, I say the Party should not be endorsing coerced collectivism at all. Sure, if a group of parents want to voluntarily come together and register their children with the State and the evil database that is ContactPoint, then let them do so. I would say they are foolish in their choice but they should be free to do so nonetheless.

Parents should not be ‘free to register with ContactPoint’. That is completely absurd. If the government of TODAY says its voluntary, any future government could suddenly make it COMPULSORY. This is why we should never support totalitarian infrastructures being built in the first place; you may trust Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith, but in the future, someone who you do not trust may take the reigns and do something dastardly with all that collected data. Also, for some parents to be able to use ContactPoint, the parents who do not want it will have their money stolen from them to pay for it by the state. The state should never put something like this together. If parents want to create and run their own private ContactPoint, that is another thing, but one designed and run by the state is always unacceptable to Libertarians. This is pretty basic stuff, how can you get it so very wrong AND support No2ID?

If however, parents decide they want nothing to do with the State, they too should be free to exercise their rights.

They should be free to live without interfacing with the state.

Under the Badman proposals home educators will not be permitted their rights.

They will have their rights stripped from them. They will not be free to exercise their rights.

They will be forced to register their children with their local education authority, and their children will be entered onto the ContactPoint register, and if parents’ standard or type of education doesn’t conform with that which is prescribed by the State – which most of us know to be crap – then the freedom to home educate their children will be denied them. Opposition to this is a matter of principle for all Liberal Democrats.

No, it is a matter of principle for all libertarians. Liberal Democrats HAVE NO PRINCIPLES except BAD ONES.

Of course, if a child is being abused – which, as an aside, government do-gooders have attempted to use as a justification for more regulation and control of home education – then that is another matter. No-one should be aggressed against contrary to their will. If there are victims of abuse, then the full weight of relevant laws should fall upon the aggressors.

Home Education has nothing to do with children at risk. The two should never be used in the same context, except to refute that vicious lie.

And the current laws and systems in place are more than adequate. In fact, in every one of the cases that the state trots out as pretexts for more control, the social services and police were fully aware of the families involved, were concerned and took no action. The fact of the matter is that they consistently fail to protect children; this is the message that is never propagated and brought to light. More powers will not help them improve their common sense. Putting ALL children into a database harms ALL children; it creates a needle-in-a-haystack scenario where people are looking into the affairs of perfectly innocent and ordinary people for no good reason.

If however a child is not receiving an ‘adequate’ education, this in itself should be no business of the State’s to resolve. Despite it being written in man-made Human Rights laws (that by the way also protect the State so should perhaps be referred to as Human and States’ Rights laws) the truth is that under natural law no-one has a right to education.


Yes, it would be nice if every single human being on this planet had access to not just a ’suitable’ education, but excellent education too; but I say this again, no-one has a ‘right’ to education. For if they had, the question is then what standard of education? Mediocre to poor? For that is the general standard delivered by the State to our children.


If people want better than the State can provide, they should be able to opt out of State provision without fear of threat and hindrance from government and its agents. They should have unrestricted freedom to choose what they believe is best for their own kids because – and this is a fundamental point – the kids belong to the parents, not to society or government!


Once bureaucrats gets involved and starts dictating the terms, quoting laws and targets, the already high standards that are achieved in most cases through home education – and indeed independent sector education – will be dragged down to State level.


I hope the Party leadership sees sense and doesn’t allow the collectivist malaise undermine home educators’ freedoms, for if it does, it may as well ditch the word ‘Liberal’ and replace it with ‘Social’.

It is YOU that clearly have no place in the Liberal Democrat Party.

Are you a Libertarian, or are you a Liberal Democrat? How can you possibly remain a member of a party that explicitly wants to eradicate the rights of people to run their families as they choose?

You cannot serve two masters; you can either be FOR liberty or AGAINST it, and liberty is indivisible. Its like someone who is a member of the BNP saying on the one hand that they are FOR immigration but at the same time they are members of a party that is explicitly AGAINST immigration.

Gavin Webb’s council is going to run ContactPoint. Unless they say otherwise, he will be involved in the mass violation of children by working in a place that runs that system. I would like to see a written declaration that he is going to refuse to do any work that comes from, is in any way touched by ContactPoint.

When populations are being rounded up for ethnic cleansing, many people working in the apparatus simply got on with their jobs, even though they might not have agreed with what was happening. Every person who works at a council and who touches ContactPoint instantly becomes an accessory to the sale of children. By using that database, they are helping the contractors make money out of the children they have been paid to put into that database.

I do not immediately see a policy position on ContactPoint at Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s website but we do find this:

Elective Home Education

Information for Parents/Carers

The education of your child is a great responsibility, one that Stoke-on-Trent City Council takes very seriously. We have 93 schools across the city, catering for a wide range of needs and abilities. We are proud of the way they meet the challenges of an ever changing environment, whilst continuing to provide a rich diversity of experience for pupils of all ages.

It is a legal duty of parents/guardians to secure appropriate full-time education for their children. Most parents/guardians do this by ensuring that their child attends their local school. However, for a variety of reasons, a small number of them decide to take on the duty to educate their child themselves. In Stoke-on-Trent there are about 45 families educating their children at home, out of a total school population of over 32,063.

Educating at home is sometimes known as ‘Education Otherwise’, named after one of the independent charities set up to support such parents. More information about this charity can be found on the ‘Useful Contact and Links’ page.

Children should not be taken out of school simply because of a disagreement with the local school. There are many ways of solving such problems and talking to the Headteacher, or consulting with Children and Young People’s Services, will often resolve any difficulties. In Stoke-on-Trent, we will always make every effort to find a place at the most appropriate school for your child.

Home education is a major undertaking for a family. It will require serious amounts of time, patience and energy, and can have financial consequences.


It is not the place of Stoke-on-Trent City Council to ‘take seriously’ the education of children who they themselves admit, are ‘yours’. How many schools you have is irrelevant… and for that matter, lets take a peek inside one of the schools that you ARE responsible for:

Peer Support at Longton High School

Longton High School is a large comprehensive on top of a hill on a mostly council housing estate on the edge of Stoke-on- Trent. The building consists of a tall tower block and a maze of buildings on the ground floor.

The kinds of problems students face are racial and bullying problems such as harassment, name calling, violence and singling out occurring both in between lessons on the schools corridors, and during break and dinner. The school has had a few major racial disputes but mainly faced with minor disputes between students, which with the skills we have been taught through our training, we are confident to deal with.


Anti-Bullying Alliance

Uh huh, just as we thought, your schools are as bad as everyone else’s.

They then say that:

It is a legal duty of parents/guardians to secure appropriate full-time education for their children.

This is a LIE. The actual wording of the law is:

Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—
(a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b)to any special educational needs he may have,either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

As you can see, the word ‘appropriate’ is not there. What is or is not appropriate is the affair of the parent, not Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Also, as someone clever said on a blog, if a parent sends their child to a school that they know is not providing an efficient full-time education, are they not ‘in violation’, since it is the duty of the parent to ensure that their child receives such education? Or are they relieved of all responsibility under that section of the law should they hand their children over to the state?


Educating at home is sometimes known as ‘Education Otherwise’


Children should not be taken out of school simply because of a disagreement with the local school.

Says who? It is precisely because of disagreements with the local school that children are removed from school.

Home education is a major undertaking for a family. It will require serious amounts of time, patience and energy, and can have financial consequences.

Having a family is ‘a major undertaking’ educating your children is a part of it. Raising a family requires serious amounts of time (whatever that means), patience and energy, which parents (especially women) have in abundance, and having a family costs money.

We know this.

Major digression there, but I just could not let it lie. I will leave you to splutter your tea over your keyboards at their useful contacts page and their outrageous FAQ, where you will find gems like:

What evidence will the Local Authority expect to receive?

Basically, we are satisfying ourselves that the education received by the chid is ‘efficient, suitable and full-time’, so the sort of evidence will be:

  • long and short-term planning;
  • possibly a weeks outline programme;
  • a diary of work covered; and
  • evidence of the child’s own work.
  • Often talking to the child will be important evidence


What does the law actually say about the parent’s duty?
A parents’ duty is actually defined under section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, which says:

“…to cause the child to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

Unfortunately the words ‘efficient’ and ‘suitable’ are not defined. ‘Efficient’ is usually taken to mean that the activity achieves what it sets out to achieve, and it is ‘suitable’, if it prepares the child for life in our society and enables the child to fulfill their potential.

My emphasis on the last one.

We are now at the stage where everyone has to draw a line and say, “I am morally obligated to refuse to work with this.” Everyone has their limits and their pain threshold, however it is clear that unless people refuse to take a stand and refuse to assist this infernal machine, it will continue to gain momentum and end up turning us all into hamburger meat.

Its good to read words from people who are waking up; we must give credit where credit is due, every time. At the same time, illogic, inconsistency, errors of judgment etc have to be flagged, otherwise, people persist in believing nonsense. Im sure Gavin is a nice guy. Clearly he can think, and he is aware of what is going on to a great extent. What I cannot accept are inconsistencies that actually hurt people. By all means, everyone can believe what contradictory stuff they like. When it becomes a matter for concern is when those people have their hands on the levers of the machine.


I updated and reinforced the section about parents who want ContactPoint being entitled to it.

One Response to “Those Who Can’t Do, Teach, Those That Can’t Teach, Manage…”

  1. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » Gavin Webb sees the light Says:

    […] while back we wrote a piece about Gavin Webb, who wrote about Home Education. Gavin Webb was a Liberal Democrat councillor at Stoke on Trent. He […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.