Khyra Ishaq and Home Schooling

The sad case of Khyra Ishaq is on the front pages of the national press (including The Guardian) this morning. Like many tragedies, it could and should have been prevented, so it is unfortunate that it has provided easy ammunition for those who feel that there should be much stronger regulation of home schooling by the DCSF, i.e. that the Badman Report should be implemented.

The local authorities were alerted in countless ways to the fact that Khyra Ishaq’s situation was far from satisfactory: various visits were made to the girl’s home, and so on, yet these still did not lead to any effective action being taken. If the local authorities had had the power (and exercised it) to try to insist that the girl be sent back to school, is there any evidence that the tragedy would not have occurred? It seems unlikely that Khyra Ishaq would have gone back to school, despite any “official” requests. It would have been just one more problem logged by a variety of authorities who might still have been too slow to take responsibility until it was too late.

Our children grow up in a far more protected environment than most of us remember from our own childhood. Many parents are too scared to let their children walk to the local shop, never mind take the sort of risks that we once took for granted. The trend towards ever-greater protection has been continuous over the last fifty years and the Badman proposals are yet another step in that direction.

Sooner or later we have to call a halt to the suffocating advance of the nanny state. Although tragedies will happen in any responsible society,  each one does not automatically indicate that yet more regulation and systematisation will prevent them.

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