Wednesday, 5 March 2008

When The State Insists It Knows Best

Over the past five or so years, the Department for Education, later renamed in a somewhat Orwellian fashion as "The Department for Children, Schools and Families", together with Newham Local Education Authority, has been carrying on a highly offensive, legally vacuous and thoroughly ridiculous campaign to absorb a particular tuition group into the state education system.

Tyndale Academy was set up by Ferris Lindsay in 1998 to provide a few hours of tuition a week to teach children their ordinary school lessons, with the group being run upon a Christian and Biblical basis. The group was deliberately set up so as to fall comfortably outside of the government's control - allowing the parents involved to teach their own children according to the way they thought was best, free whatever latest trendy or mistaken ideas were floating through the state's system.

The amount of man hours and pounds of taxpayers' money which the DCSF has spent in its attempt to bring Tyndale Academy under its control, despite having no legal grounds for doing so, is almost beyond belief. They've tried pretty hard to create some new legal grounds, with documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act demonstrating that just how much effort the right-on thinkers in the DCSF have spent trying to craft legislation with no real purpose but to target one tiny group in East London containing only a handful of children.

If it were the case that the schools under the DCSF's control were all unarguably wonderful, and Tyndale were severely flawed, then maybe there might be the tiniest bit of justification for such an appalling over-stretching of itself on the department's behalf. The fact that the reverse is the case, Tyndale being highly effective in its tuition, makes the DCSF's interventions all the more offensive.

Last week the department's activities were raised in parliamentary debate, and the information is public for all to hear. The link to Ferris' website is here - - and you can read more information at

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