On September 5 the Commons education committee will hear from home educators and their representative groups with regard to their current arrangements and relationships with local authorities.
On December 8 2009, home educators made history when MPs presented petitions from over 120 different constituencies opposing compulsory registration and monitoring of home-educated children proposed by the Badman review.
Three years later, home educators are worried that the conflation of education and welfare is gathering momentum.
New Labour shifted the balance of power between families and the state with a programme of interventionist reforms designed to empower professionals to act quicker, more effectively and with impunity in cases of suspected child abuse.
Following the death of Khyra Ishaq and Baby P, care applications have reached record levels, despite the fact that children in care have poorer life opportunities than any other group in society.
It has been accepted that the incidence of serious child abuse requiring the separation and destruction of families has been hidden from view and that any increase in care proceeding is the consequence of effective early intervention.
Little consideration has been given to the burden of proof required to allow professionals to conclude that a child is in need of statutory protection.
As a case progresses through the Public Law Outline - steps that must be taken to satisfy the courts that an order is required - "evidence" or anecdote, third-party accounts from disgruntled professionals or simply factual error becomes established as cause for concern.
To what extent should the state have the power to monitor and evaluate a child's wellbeing?
Successive governments have been heavily influenced by local safeguarding boards and shocking, high-profile cases of abuse - Khyra Ishaq, Baby P and Victoria Climbie.
Parents are cast as perpetrators until proven innocent. The test of that pushes most families to the brink of despair as social work has become a discursive practice, often instigated by misunderstanding and suspicion of difference.
Competing concepts, theories and narratives around the family are adopted by overworked social workers who are terrified of ending up of the front page.
The stakes are impossibly high. If social workers overlook or misinterpret signs of abuse, so evident in hindsight but not so clear when sharing tea and biscuits with a family under stress.
Home-education is a factor which can tip the threshold for professionals to up the ante on a family on their radar.
The safeguards offered by daily contact in school cannot be undertaken on the home-educated child.
Without access, professional anxiety increases, leading to decisions which would not be made for the schooled child.
The death of Khyra Ishaq fuelled an agenda that elective home-education should be regulated to safeguard children's health, welfare and education.
Khyra disappeared from mainstream education following disagreements between her mother and the school she and her siblings attended.
Without a letter of deregistration, it was assumed the children were home-educated.
A home visit by Birmingham City Council to assess the education provided failed to recognise signs of abuse. Children's social care did not carry out an assessment following a referral by teachers, and police who undertook a welfare visit concluded that the children were safe.
The Serious Case Review and transcript of care proceedings for Khyra's surviving siblings illustrate an inability of professionals to properly recognise, respond, refer, assess and utilise existing child protection powers.
The lack of powers to regulate and monitor home-educating families carried the can for multiple agency failings, despite the fact that - as with Baby P and Victoria Climbie - various visits and opportunities to instigate statutory powers were missed.
Education Otherwise issued a statement slamming the conflation of home-education with welfare concerns, saying: "For anyone to blame home-education is a red herring designed to distract attention from Birmingham's lamentable child protection record."
Against a background of multi-agency failings, why would increased regulation have saved these children?
Badman's suggestion that home-educating families were twice as likely to be on a child protection plan as their schooled countreparts was dismissed by the select committee on the grounds that there was no register of home-educating families, so the figure was distorted.
If the highest estimates of home-educating families were applied to those on a child protection plan, it would signify that these families were up to three times less likely to be known to social care.
Despite the resounding rejection of the Badman recommendations, councils are making representation to government regarding access points to these homes and suggesting that a review of elective home-education is undertaken.
No-one considered why home-educating families were on a child protection plan, if the threshold had been reached or if families were on a plan due to professional anxiety that children were not in schools and easily monitored by the state in mainstream education.
Fiona Nicholson said: "Local authorities don't really know what they are supposed to be doing with home-education. There is a vacuum which means councillors' policies and procedures on home-education can easily be dominated by safeguarding boards or by elected members who may be suspicious of home-education."
MP for Birmingham Yardley John Hemming campaigned for reform of public family law after he was targeted by Birmingham Social Care.
Hemming issued proceedings for harassment, but for most people this remedy is out of reach due to the cost.
Hemming said: "One of the problems with child protection assessments is that parents are asked to prove their innocence if there are any concerns. Because the system is not happy with home-educators, they often find themselves on the wrong side of a child protection investigation.
"The case of Khyra Ishaq was a very basic failure that did not require a more aggressive approach from the system, but instead for people to do what they were already supposed to do. Sadly the government has not recognised this and is driving for a more aggressive system."
The question is who or what is driving that campaign and what is at stake if they succeed?
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