The parents of a homeschooled child have said they would be willing to go to prison rather than submit to Westminster Council’s demand to interview their daughter or send her to a state-run school.
Edward Hardy and his wife Eileen Tracy, both education professionals, were told that the family must meet with a home education advisor, submit an “endorsement by an educator”, or send their 12-year-old daughter Lilian to school by March 7th, reports The Telegraph.
The parents declined the inspection, and offered a sample of Lilian’s work, feeling that should be enough as the Department of Education’s guidelines state that “Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis”.
Lilian came to Westminster Council’s attention after it issued a child’s performance licence for her to the Royal Shakespeare Company, as the young girl won the starring role as Matilda in the award-winning eponymous musical last year. Her parents say that the benefits of their homeschooling methods are borne out by Lilian’s theatrical achievements.
Ms. Tracy wrote for The Telegraph that the council responded that it operates its own policy; “if we do not [comply], we could be prosecuted, convicted and fined”.
Westminster Council issued a statement saying that the parents had “declined meetings and have not provided the endorsements” they had sought, but “remain keen to resolve this matter amicably”. Lilian’s parents told The Guardian that they had not declined to meet with the council themselves, but refuse their child to be interviewed.
— David Kurten ن (@davidkurten) November 28, 2017
“We are exercising our rights under the law to ask [Westminster Council] to rescind [the order], and we will appeal to the Secretary of State if they refuse,” Lilian’s mother said.
“If that fails, we would oppose the council in court – and if necessary, though it doesn’t bear thinking about, we would go to jail.”
Ms. Tracy also criticised the proposed amendment to the Education Act to register and police homeschooling families, saying: “Only totalitarianism would ask citizens to register for a basic human right such as parenting.”
Speaking to Breitbart London, UKIP’s Education Spokesman David Kurten observed: “Lilian is clearly a girl who has been homeschooled to an excellent standard and is in many ways well ahead of her peers who are in state schools.
“It is understandable for Local Education Authorities to take a concern for boys and girls who have Islamist parents from radical sects like Wahhabis, Salafists, or Tablighi Jamaat, who may be keeping their children out of school to radicalise them to hate infidels or to hate the United Kingdom.
“It is wrong of Westminster Council to order them to send a well-balanced and talented home-schooled child to a state school under the threat of splitting up a family. It is utterly destructive to threaten to separate a child from loving and caring parents who have helped their daughter to excel in her education by homeschooling her,” Mr. Kurten said.
Parent Backlash as Cross-Dressing Men Sent Into Primary Schools to ‘Promote Tolerance’ https://t.co/7T1wdrhxnq
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 25, 2018
Noting that the parents have followed the guidelines from the Department for Education, the London Assembly Member said that “they have done nothing wrong; indeed, they have done everything right.
“In the UK, parents are the primary educators of their children. This principle needs to be upheld, not eroded by faceless box-ticking civil servants, or worse: those who want to force children to be exposed to leftist ideologies or the insanity of gender confusion, which are being pushed on children at an ever-younger age in schools.”