Father wins landmark case about children’s absence from school during term

David Davis

I saw this just now.

I’ll tell you a story.

The attached picture, if it looks like two little attentive girls, is misleading. The father described won his case. That is the first thing to say.
That said….the discussion of what to do about bringing up one’s own children as a nuclear family – the enemy of GramscoFabiaNazis, SJWs and NWOperatroids, centres on what is best for one’s own children. Attendance in British-State-bog-standard-comprehensives (not my words but theirs) is not so wonderfully-orgasmic for learning, as our little fella will tell you freely, that one ought even to bust a gut to try to go every day.

Last March, having to take My Dear Wife to OFSTED interviews in Nottingham, I decided to give the young man a “Sickie” for the day. He came with us. While the Dear Wife was being Ofsted-grilled for a few hours, he and I looked at a map, and decided where _HE_ would like to go. I gave him advice, but I did not press the case for any particular destination. “Daddy will take you to any town or place you want to go”. He chose the City of Lincoln. It took us about an hour and a bit to drive there.
We had a nice “brunch” together in a tiny cafe where I was taught how to play “Yugio cards” by him. We discussed the layout of Lincoln, as the Mediaeval “City upon the Hill”, which it is. Seeing it from about nine miles away, towering like a grand watcher of all about it, he was gobsmacked. I explained that RAF Bomber Command crews, on their way out, would see it as the Last Thing, and would hope it was The First on their way down home. He didn’t cry (I almost did) but he did understand.
We went round the Cathedral, surely one of the most grand and noble Churches ever that the Hands Of Man have built for God. He saw the “Norman House” and the “Jew’s House”, now each almost 900 years old and in use. We regarded the shopfront of “J Birkett”, full of old RAF surplus electronic parts over which Daddy salivated loudly, but it was sadly closed that day. Otherwise I would have bankrupted myself. This kindled the Dear Boy’s current interest in electronics, seeing his father’s enthusiasm.
Later we went to a Burger King, and you know what that means.

We visited Nottingham, as we had time. The Dear boy, scurrying between traffic with his father, described it as “A Hole”. We decided Nottingham is not as high on our priorities for a re-visit as its “council” and “tourist authority” would like us to place it.

On the way to collect Mummy, he had the internal combustion engine explained to him for the first time. He was ten. What the fc^$ is to prevent primary schools doing this? Why do they have to discuss how “Asif shares 36 sweets between his friends Jayden and Jameela in the ratio 3:2”?

I pause for a reply.


  • I wonder what made him choose Lincoln? Its cathedral must be the finest of the large churches in England.

    I don’t know the answer to your question, but where I would look for an answer is in the roots of the system. Why do children have to attend school at all? I think schools and most universities (and lots of adult institutions too) are a relic of mass industrial societies and their methods could be outdated.

    If anybody here has read Deschooling Society, by Ivan Illich? It’s a critique of institutionalised education published in the early 1970s, and suggests reforms which must have seemed very much ahead of their time.

    The idea of ‘deschooling’ comes from the belief that institutional learning is just a preparation for employment and little else.

    [In case anybody is interested in Illich’s book, here’s a link: http://ournature.org/~novembre/illich/1970_deschooling.html%5D.

    • He decided, reviewing the map for himself, that Lincoln might be reached in an hour or so, and he was also hungry and needed a wee. He said that this did influence his decision, but was keen to see one of the cities that I had described to him.

  • Tom, children in the UK don’t have to attend school at all. We have the right to home educate, and there is a thriving community of families who do this nationwide. In South London, we attend several meetings a week where up to 60 home educated kids play and chat. For primary at least, the academic side of things is easily covered and where we put the legwork in is getting round to all the social and sports groups etc.. Every family does things differently and home educators tend to be very fierce about the principle that no-one speaks on our behalf. My oldest had his first day at school as a 16 year-old starting A-levels! We are fortunate to have this freedom ; the UK is one of the most free places on the world to home educate, and our local groups contain a number of people who moved to this country so they could educate their children themselves, because it is difficult or impossible in their home countries.

    • Yes, I know that the law in England & Wales is that parents are responsible for education and can withdraw their children from school. I think home education is a good thing, but it accounts only for a very small minority, as I understand it (roughly 37,000 out of some 9.5 million children according to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35133119).

      • Nobody knows how many home educated children there are, because they only have to be registered with the local authority if they have been deregistered from school. My own, and most of my friends’, home-educated children have never been to school and so don’t appear in these figures. But yes, it’s not a common choice and not for everyone. I just like to mention it because so many don’t realise it’s am option.

        • It’s an interesting subject. Do you consider yourselves a movement? Do you receive any support from central government or local authorities? In your experience, does it tend to attract children with specific needs (i.e. gifted and talented, learning difficulties, disabled and so on)?

          I admit to having some reservations. A day trip to Lincoln is nice and must be a learning experience for a child, and is only to be encouraged. But, without wishing to labour the obvious, the fact is you can’t ‘experience’ everything first hand or go on trips everywhere. At some point, a child has to open a book (or switch on a computer) and study, and that requires some order and discipline. However I realise that home education and non-traditional learning are not necessarily synonymous.

          • There is no state support for home education in most cases. A very few local authorities offer a contribution towards exam fees and a few workshops, but usually we have to take full responsibility for all expenses. Home educators are a disparate bunch – some choose it because their children are gifted or have special educational needs or disabilities, while others have a different philosophy of education. As a rough rule of thumb, we are hippies at heart, religious, or a mixture of the two! Quite a few libertarians, and many feisty people who don’t like being told what to do. Hard to consider it a movement as they are such an independent-minded bunch, most would hate the thought that anybody could speak on behalf of others or represent them. There is no figurehead, no hierarchy, just a spontaneous and (usually) very supportive collection of people who might hold wildly opposing political beliefs in general, but all share the conviction that the state cannot tell them how to raise their children. Often people just want their children to have more freedom and flexibility in education. Most do some formal studying, either individually or in groups. Some take the “autonomous education” approach, which is about non-coercion; the child will only study formally if they choose to do so. Many encourage independent learning where, rather than the parent teaching the child, the parent is a facilitator who helps them find resources and gives feedback. If you’ve heard Sugata Mitra on self-organised learning, his experiments echo how home-ed works for many families. Personally I wanted my kids to have enough free time to follow their interests, and thought we could probably cover the essentials more efficiently than a school. Mine have done probably 1 hour a day of ‘formal’ studying from age 7 up, then maybe 2 hours + in secondary. It seems to have worked pretty well as oldest is off to Oxford after going to school for the first time just for sixth form. He says he could have taught himself just as well for A-levels, and has found the inefficiencies of school frustrating, but he and I thought it was a good time to experience institutional education.
            It’s not easy, not for everyone, but can be great fun.

  • Clearly your son learned far more on that day with you than he would do in ten days of the sort of brainwashing and brain-numbing that passes for education these days. Our so-called education system has become an industry, and not one that exists to benefit our children in any real and useful sense. All my children have gained good degrees, but they have done so in spite of the schools they attended not because of them. I simply don’t understand this obsession with insisting that youngsters spend longer and longer in schools – and, one things for sure, it certainly isn’t working.

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