Tag Archives: Government Attack on Home Education

Home Education; Government want to “support” us??? I doubt that.

Local Authorities are still breaking the law on Home Education. I personally wouldn’t mind being “monitored” nearly as much if there was any real support for families who home educate and any real care for children in school who are being seriously abused either at school or at home. The fact is, I am not alone in having seen Social Workers, Local Authority staff and even the police betray seriously abused children and children in extremely difficult family situations simply because of being idle, while these same people are all too willing to bully innocent families. I can’t even blame it on lack of training any more. It’s a basic lack of decency and integrity.

So, it would be good to think the present Government might have some kind of committment to cleaning house in Local Authorities, Social Services and the police, especially where children are concerned.

Well they haven’t. Instead they are coming after Home Educators again.

The Education Committee have announced a new inquiry into Home Education looking at what “support” we receive from Local Authorities. The short answer is “NONE AT ALL”.

I would truly like to believe that this “inquiry” really was a way of trying to clean house, but I simply don’t.

It’s  time they just left us alone.

Are Home Educating parents selfish? Phil Gayle from the BBC wonders!

It has been noted that in Oxfordshire and a couple of other places around England that the numbers of home educated children has risen by over 50%. This rise has caught the attention of the local BBC in Oxford who put out this video in which they briefly look at one family and talk to one “expert”. The mother of seven is home educating her oldest son after his move into secondary school proved pretty awful. She intends to HE her other children through secondary ed but is happy with their primary school.  She calls home education “the poor man’s private education,” – which is an interesting view. It is more and more recognised that  private schools offer a far superior education to state run schools, strangled by the National Curriculum.  I came across a few nurses over the years working double shifts and other jobs to pay for a child to go to private school. I think home ed is easier than doing that.

The “expert” is a professor at the University of Buckinghamshire. He was introduced with the words that “experts” believed that the rise in numbers may be due more to improved paper work than more children being removed from school. It’s funny how whenever anything rises- such as autism rates, Ritalin prescriptions or depression in children, someone always suggests it’s about the paperwork – and no one ever produces the evidence for the theory. Whatever the reason, the numbers have increased significantly and it leaves me wondering how many more non-registered families are out there. Most of the HE families we go around with are not registered at all.

So what did the “expert” have to say?

Educating children at home is a very important
freedom, but it is something that really needs to be embarked upon with great
care. It is a tremendous commitment. It may well be that your son or daughter
are not lost in a big impersonal school system, but there are great advantages
to going to school. One of them is that you can see what other children are
capable of. It’s also true that you miss out a lot on the social interaction.
So you may have been protected from bullying but you may not have learned how
to handle it.

I note the “with great care” bit. Does anyone ever tell parents that sending their children to school is an important freedom but should be embarked upon with great care?  After all, schools can leave your children depressed, self harming, alcoholic, illiterate and incapable of holding down a job or making decisions.

He admits that a child can be lost in the “big impersonal system” which surely is a very bad thing indeed, but insists that schools offer great advantages. And these advantages (over home education) are?  Er..that bit was vague and weird.

You can see what other children are capable of in school, he says. Home educated children can see this too, any time they like and they can see it in children of different ages and with different problems to overcome. You see, unlike school children, home educated children get to mix with all sorts of people, because they are not segregated from children on age and ability. Because of this they not only learn what others are capable of academically, but more importantly, in life skills and virtue.

His assertion that home educated children miss out on a lot of social interaction is simply untrue. They certainly have less negative social interaction than school children, but that is a good thing.

The final sentence is yet more evidence that those in positions of power and the “experts” of this country have no respect for children as persons. No one I have ever met who was bullied in school has learned how to deal with it better in adult life. Just the opposite in fact. But then if this “expert” was pushed around, hit, kicked, spat at, half strangled, threatened, mugged, urinated on and robbed he would call the police and demand the perpetrators were arrested. But when it happens to a child in school, either nothing is done or the victim is the one punished. I really do want to know how being systematically abused at school prepares anyone for a healthy adult life. There is no evidence to say it does and plenty of evidence to say it does nothing of the sort.

There was also a radio programme covering the same piece of news but interviewing a different parent. The radio host asked on more than one occasion whether homeschooling wasn’t a selfish thing for parents to do.

There was a call from a home educated student in which she eloquently explained why HE is so good.

Despite both the mother and student talking about the exams they or their children have/can sit and of course doing Open University courses, the question over how home educated children can gain qualifications was asked again. And despite the clear message about how children learn together the work “isolation” was still used to describe HE.

Before I answer question about how selfish we are, I want to look at what the other host on the radio show came up with. She said that taking children out of school undermined the school system. She said of the school system “What’s the point of it, if people aren’t using it?” (Oh what a lovely question.) She went on “Its something we pay our taxes for. It’s something I’m immensely proud of.”  But she doesn’t say why she’s so proud of it – what does it genuinely offer as a system? What about all those children the system is failing? What about the shocking drop in literacy levels and the complaints from employers about the uselessness of GCSEs? What about the fact that Universities have had to put compulsory essay writing modules into their first year courses because even students with straight As at A’level can’t write an essay? I could list more, but get my drift.

Then Phil Gayle the host went on to repeat the “is it selfish?” question and also wondered how wealthy we all must be. You would have to be wealthy he thought.

The woman thought we got help. She doesn’t know a thing about HE obviously.

So to answer Gayle and others, no, those of us who spend our time and adjust our tight budgets to home educate our children are not selfish. We want our children to grow up whole, happy and well educated. We want them to be able to live independent lives able to make good decisions and think for themselves. We want them to have the freedom to make those choices, rather than find themselves shoved into a rut created by someone else. And we are obviously massivley counter-culteral because we believe that our children are persons and have an inherant dignity to be treated respectfully.

Our children get a wider, deeper and stronger education than schools can offer. While home education may not be the best answer for all children or all families it certainly is the best answer for very many. And while some children do well in school very many indeed do very badly indeed and an even bigger number of children get a mediocre education from a one-size-fits-all system.

As for the finances we save up, we do without so that the children can have what they need. We share resources, food, curriculum, time and talents. How often do we have to repeat all this before some journalist somewhere gets it? *sigh*

State monitoring of home education; how do you do yours?

The battle home educating families fought for over a year to retain their basic God given rights to education and bring up our children without state interference was hard won. It was won basically because the jack booted control freaks of the Labour Government simply ran out of time and lost the election.

While the local authority really do not have any moral or legal rights over parents, they do have both over the way the schools under their authority are run and how the children in them are taught, treated and protected.

It is strange then that while boys can be bullied to the point of blindness and if you read the comment thread there are other horrific stories to see; and while teachers happily write this stuff about their pupils (H/T Carlotta) that it is home educating families who need to feel the weight of political nastiness on our shoulders.

After everything we went through fighting the Badman and Balls agenda with their lies and fake stats, it is, to be honest. just a bit irritating to read this from and American homeschooler who has a little laugh over the fact she feels the need to hand over far more information to the ‘official’ than is warranted.

Why would anyone want to hand over rights to the officials, especially those of the ‘Pelosi’ flavoured? I assume the author of the article above picked that name because it is so heavily linked with anti-family anti-child rhetoric.. All the more reason imho to avoid handing over information.

I wonder what the Civil Service make of me.

I’ve been given a heads up that my blog has been noticed and possibly read by members of the Civil Service who have been compiling information about home educators and what we think.

I wonder what they have made of my blog. perhaps they are just a little ashamed that they are so worried about a mere mother (statusless) who has, without a PGCE to her name managed to see her children learn to read and write and do science and get socialised, etc. etc…

They ought to be solidly ashamed of the fact I had to reteach my (then) 14-year-old son to read, after his treatment in one of their schools.

There was a big meeting at my LA recently. People with little children couldn’t attend of course because no provision was avialable. So, although this was supposedly a meeting wherein the LA staff could begin to build bridges with a (pretty angry) home educating community, they made it impossible for most of us to attend. Thanks. Then they sent out the most ignorant questionnaire in which documents already placed on their website were mentioned. It never occurred to these people who if they treated us with even a modicum of respect they might get some back. No. They write their silly documents, put them online and only then ask us what we think.

The meeting has come and gone. Have I received information from the LA about what was discussed or decided? No, of course not.

It seems that having quite deliberately knocked down any bridge between is, they, far from trying to rebuild, are simply throwing stones.

The ghosts of Badman and Balls, like poltergeists infect the LA here.

The DCSF was dead, to begin with….

We battled and we won. Oh well, let’s be honest here, we didn’t win, they simply ran out of time. We have a new government who have more than enough real problems to deal with, especially in education, that surely families who are home educating could be left in peace. You would think so wouldn’t you?

I received a letter and questionnaire yesterday from the LA. They say they want to improve relations between LAs and home educators. Well, that didn’t seem to be the case during the Badman and Balls bulldozer event. In fact the LA we are registered with were so honest and shiny that they managed to loose their response to the Government so that a FOI request could be denied. If they want trust, being honest would help.

The questionnaire wants to know all about our family inclduing how many children we have and what our post code is. Strange questions for an anonymous response methinks.

But the glaring omission in all the paperwork is what they have on the table for us. They say they want to improve relations, and I bet they do as they must surely be at an all time low after the Badman’n’Balls debacle. But their info and questionnaire STILL give the impression that they think they are the ones in charge of our children even though they admit they have nothing to offer.

Despite the fact that I have had visits here every year for 6 years and I know most of the other registered families have the same, the questionaire shows no understanding of the philosophies and methods that underpin much home education. In fact the only one the seem to acknowledge is Autonomous/Child Led. This is deeply frustrating.

The website info admits that parents do not need to follow the unbeleivably awful National Currriculum and then lists subject on the NC!

I don’t think I will attend the meeting. So far as I know the LA have no idea that I use a wheelchair. I don’t want to advertise the fact by turning up in one. But I do think I’ll fill in the acceptable bits of the questionnaire.  It’s just a bit depressing that after all that has happened, and all the information LAs could have and should have listened to, that it seems the people who think they are in charge of us, just HAVE to have boxes to tick and some strange need for us to tick boxes for them.

Home education is bad I tell you! Here we go again.

The report is out on the murder of Khyra Ishaq, which Kelly over at Green and Gold picks up on. I still haven’t read the report but apparently the dear decrepit NSPCC (fake charity extroadinaire) are still trying to pin this on home education.  Both Kelly and Carlotta picked up the Guardian article by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison in which they try to correct some of the gross misinformation out there. I am a little surprised a paper like the Graun allowed this to be published but you can soon see by the comment thread that the usual Graunids (or whatever you might call them) are crawling around spewing their ignorance and bigotry. I actually laughed when I saw the “What about science?” question.

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Before Ofsted education was a homely thing. Education BO

I know I’m late to comment on the recent serpent bites its own tail event. I am sure most of you have already seen the news that Ofsted made a last twitch attempt to bite at home educators. Graham Stuart stamped down on the attempt quickly and we hope that can be a breather.

One person commented on the Indi thread that she had reported a home ed family and nothing was done. Finally the dad went to prison for child abuse. I am sure there are plenty of cases like this out there. Does that mean the LAs and Ofsted need more power to monitor all of us or does it actually mean they need to get to grips with the families that genuinely require intervention? If, as seems to be the excuse, theey are already stretched too thin and that is why so many mistakes happen and so many children end up hurt, then surely getting around to all families regardless of whether there is a problem or not is only stretching the service more so that even more vulnerable children are left to sink.

Perhaps they should be working closely with social services. Perhaps they should be properly trained, know the law and how to use it, and have a very good idea what home education is and have just a modicum of respect for families. It isn’t just the system that is broken, it’s the people in the system. It doesn’t make sense to want more power when they don’t know how to properly use the ones they have.

I’ve been reading a bit o’history to get to grips with the next phase of history with the children. One of the things that has fascinated me is a quote from a bishop instructing all his priests to offer schooling to the children of their parishes.  The priests and monasteries were instructed by the Church to offer (not force) a free education for the children. It makes it clear that poor families must be welcomed and that no charge is to be made, but donations from wealthier families would help keep the schools afloat. Most education still went on at home right up until about 100 years ago.

I don’t know how we can turn this culture around so that families are allowed and expected to be responsible for their own and their communities. Ofsted are steeped in the view that “experts” and “professionals” and “Government officials” are in charge of every person in everything they do. Like strangle weed in the garden it’s a view that kills the good and is difficult to get rid of.  It kills off the view that we are our brother’s keeper and it leaves that horrible much repeated mantra “The Government should do something.”

The emergency budget has caused consternation with journalists reporting in horror that the price of an iphone will go up and that foreign holidays will cost so much more. I had to laugh. It sums up the Culture in which Ofsted and unions like NASUWT and NUT work in.

We don’t need to be afraid. There is still plenty for everyone to get by with so long as we share what we have. Simple.