The scourge of secrecy and anonymity in the world of home education

I have remarked several times before, that I have never seen any need personally to say anything on the Internet without signing my real name to it. Anonymous messages always smack to me of poison pen letters. Still, I am in a minority when it comes to this view; most people prefer to hide behind a pseudonym when posting, both here and elsewhere, about home education. This, combined with an almost obsessive desire for secrecy by some, is starting to cause serious divisions among home educators in this country.

As readers are probably aware, a small group of individuals are working with Graham Stuart MP and also possibly Nick Gibb, the Schools' Minister, to draft guidelines for local authorities about elective home education. This is a worthy enough enterprise, but they have chosen to do it in secret and conceal their identities. Why they should carry on like that is a complete mystery to me. According to one of those involved, albeit in the minor role of proofreading, the whole thing is run like a secret society, divided up into cells, the members of which do not know the identities of those engaged in other parts of the operation! This sounds very strange.

I have been receiving emails lately from those who are either opposed to this scheme, or, which is equally likely, part of it and trying to throw people off the trail of the identities of those who are actually involved. For example on November 12th a had an email from headed 'financial motive?' It said; ' You may be interested in the business accounts of Mrs Anon.' Enclosed as an attachment were Alison Sauer's accounts. Somebody had gone to the trouble of paying for these and then sending them to me with the untruthful statement that Alison Sauer was actually Mrs Anon who comments here regularly. I have to say that Kaycee, who is fairly well known elesewhere claims that this was not sent by her. What is fairly plain is that some people in the home educating world are intent upon causing mischief one way and another and the way that this is being done is through more anonymous messages.

On the BRAG list, somebody calling herself Georgie Eden popped up. She seemed to know an awful lot about the business with Graham Stuart but vanished as soon as people asked her who she really was. Another case of anonymity causing problems and suspicion. I honestly think that it would be a good idea if those in the world of home education thought seriously about being a bit more open and revealing their true names. People talk of 'outing' people, as though home education were some shameful perversion to which people are reluctant to admit. I have never felt that way myself!

Another problem is that posting anonymously encourages rudeness. Consider this gem of incisive invective, posted here a few days ago;

''Simon you are a muddle headed bufoon with breath like an pigs bottom '

I seriously doubt whether anybody would say such a thing over their real name. Mind you, to be fair if I were unable to compose a short sentence without two spelling mistakes and two grammatical errors, I would probably be too ashamed to sign it either!