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.

LA man visited today.

The man from the LA came over today. He’s the new guy and I felt sorry for him taking over after the Ishaq trial. He is pro-home ed as far as I could tell. He asked what I needed and I told him I needed some copper sulphate if he could get me some. He said he would look into it.

Something like that would be a useful service from the LA to those of us who are registered. In return for the box ticking we could get some basic inexpensive science supplies.

He mentioned that he thought the Tories wanted HE families to form their own schools and be paid for the HE. I pointed out that would undoubtedly come with strings attached and after what Ed Balls had done it would take a while for HE families to trust even a different Government.

He seemed fine about what we were doing. That should be it for a year.

I’m not bothered by it-but I’ll wait and see if I get any copper sulphate ;)

I had just posted this and was pottering around when I saw THIS ASTONISHING ARTICLE. It seems to me that Clegg and Cameron could save money by sacking everyone involved in NICE. They aren’t nice at all.

Good grief it was this very attitude home educators talked about only a few months ago. No more nanny state! PLEASE!

Goodbye DCSF Yippee!

Carlotta has linked to a Graun story that Michael Gove has set to work already and has changed the Dept for Children Schools and Families to The Department for Education. I would like to hope that his is a sign that my fervent wish that this government will leave families out of their interfering shenanigans might come about.

The Graun says:

Some fear the new name could mean that children and families will now become a lower priority for ministers.

Well we can hope so! The view that the DCSF was in way way encouraging inter-disciplinary work or improving the lives of families is a bit of a sick joke really. If there is one thing we learn from recent child murders right under the nose of social services and other departments is that they DIDN’T work together. No, the people in these agencies simply thought someone else could deal with it.

Maire who linked to THIS asks if it too much to hope that some of those involved with the appalling treatment of families under Bully Boy Balls will see their P45s? I think if this new Government wants to really CHANGE as their horrible obamaesque posters proclaimed then this does have to happen. I’m not holding my breath.

Nevertheless it is a good step in the right direction.

There is also the mild fiscally dependant promise of parent led schools. I still think home education is a better and cheaper option; but there are some things about little parent schools that might be better than HE. I have a few fluttery thoughts on this which I hope I can elucidate  later; but I’m not promising.

Fancy a bit of School-homing?

Check this out. :)

Petition closed.

The petition to the bishops is closed and ready to be sent. You can check it out here.

There are good signs that a couple of bishops are prepared to speak out alongside others.

Confessions of a (semi) Structured home educator

Now that all the damage is done the DCSF have rather strangely decided to start some research into home education. They state the object is

Close the gap in educational achievement for children from disadvantaged backgrounds

Of course I laughed. If they really want to ensure hardly any EHE families come forward this has to be the way to do it.

But I do wonder, just how my family and group would fair in research like this.

I have wondered if on the surface at least, my family and group set up looks quite good to someone of Badman’s mindset. After all he could turn up and quite often find a load of children sitting around a table doing history and mapwork.  That might look “suitable” to someone with a ‘school-knows-best” mindset because it looks a bit schoolish. But then I wonder what he would make of the lessons.

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So now the DCSF want to do the research! ROFL!

Having no actual evidence or even basic information to hand Baroness Morgan decides to announce that home education can be an excuse for forced marriage, domestic servitude and other forms of abuse. Therefore the Balls sent out his hound Badman to sniff out some actual evidence. On finding none at all Badman made up some statistics and the NSPCC helpfully provided support suggesting among other things that a toddler killed at her home was home educated. She wasn’t. The two cases where home education was a factor were jumped on gleefully and the fact that the first abuser was a registered foster mother right under the eyes of SS and the second was a mother whose children were in school and who was also right under the noses of SS was duly ignored (though not by the MSM thankfully).

The year went on with half truths and lies being told by so many people in positions of power that I can barely be bothered to list them. If you’ve paid attention you will have seen it play out.

Finally we reach the point where the Bill looks set to fail to get through. We might sigh with relief at the thought that forced sex ed (grooming) and forced licensing of home educators might not happen (for now).

The country is financially embarrassed and a general election is due. Education is in the papers as schools churn out the illerate and innumerate and children can’t attain basic GCSEs even when they are free at school. Children go to school in stab vests and at my local comp children are locked in as police are called to try and stop a riot.

In the light of all this the DCSF announce their research into home education. It is set to begin in April. How much will it cost I wonder? And how on earth do they expect home ed families to forget what has been said and done and just go along with it?!

I would love to see real research done in the UK. I am curious about the outcomes of those of us who home educate. We know that American outcomes are very good. So good in fact that some universities over there make a special effort to recruit homeschooled youngsters. But in the UK we have less data to go on. It would be better if some Unis got together and pooled resources to do the research-but that probably wont happen any time soon.

Perhaps the next Govt will ditch all this and try and rebuild some trust with home edders first. We’ll see.

In some ways it doesn’t matter.  Is the research useful? I wonder.

Even if the CSF Bills runs out of time, is it too late for our children?

I did listen to the whole debate in the house of Lords, and have tried to read it too and I suppose I should go back over some of the points raised by such excellent speakers and Lord David Alton and of course Lord Lucas, but I haven’t had chance yet. Too busy helping my children get an education :)

Lord Lucas seems to think the Bill will run out of time and will not even make it to the wash up. I certainly hope and pray he is right about this.

Even so, I wonder if it is all too late for our children. All the way through this fight I have been concerned about what exactly the Conservative party had planned for home education if and when they get into power this year. The hint is that for this time around they plan nothing much, but the suggestion that registration is inevitable has been raised more and more often.

Perhaps it is. Perhaps, as I suspected, it always was. Perhaps I can even give the Conservative MPs the benefit of the doubt and believe that they will bring in some form of registration that should keep the appalling Labour MPs quiet should they get back into power any time soon. You see the Tories are looking at victory with some trepidation, and with good reason. The country is in an economic shambles and culturally,  sunk so low that it is beginning to look like Rome just before it’s complete collapse.

I don’t know what form the ‘inevitable’ registration with take. I doubt it will effect my family at first as we are registered and so far at least the LA here seems fairly good about EHE. How long that will last, we will have to wait and see. I hear rumblings from across the boarder that the LA woman there is lacking in knowledge and understanding of both EHE and the law as it stands. Unless some very serious training and work is done with LA staff registration will be a problem for a lot of people very quickly. I would hope the Tories have noted the willingness of EHE families to stand and fight and will not play to the LA and Badman allies like the discredited NSPCC.

It will take a long time to rebuild the trust between home ed families and the LAs-if it ever happens.

So, what does the future hold for our families? In schools the forced sex ed- what amounts to the grooming of- primary school children is going on anyway. Seven year old children are sat in front of videos that show a cartoon of a couple having sex while a patronising voice over tells the children how exiting it is. Ed Balls thinks this is great for children but even Youtube want you to state you are over 18 before they let you access it. It is long past time to get that pervert Kinsey and his research out of the classrooms of our children. But sadly the kind of parents who let their seven year olds sit in front of Eastenders and Coirrie are not bothered about a bit of cartoon porn in the classroom.

Home educating parents are weird because we don’t want our children stripped of their innocence. While people of the ilk of Soley and Deech talk about “children’s rights” (Soley said “children have rights too”) what they mean is forcing THEIR agenda onto our children. As Soley said: (col 99)

Very often we talk about our children as “my children” or “my child”. That does not mean that the child belongs to you; it does not mean the child does not have rights.

Soley has no problem with children being assaulted, mugged, strangled and stolen from at school (like my son) – they should see it through. A parent like me who when the school refused to intervene removed my son to home educate is “over protective”.  (col100)

Many parents seem to want to home educate-I am reading between the lines here-because of bullying. However, bullying has always been around and is always a problem; you cannot avoid it altogether. Parents have different views on this. I say this gently, but parents have to make a decision about how much they protect a child by removing them from a situation, or how much you protect them by keeping them in a situation and helping them to find their way through it. I certainly come into the second category. I have never played what I regard as an overprotective role. Where bullying is concerned, it is necessary both to intervene with the school and help your child to see the process through because, however long you live as a parent, you are not going to be able to look after your child for ever.

The utterly bizarre view that because bullying in it’s many varied and violent forms has been with us for as long as say murder and rape that children should be forced to endure it on the grounds that once they are adults their parents might not be there is astonishing.

While being beaten at school is just part of life to Soley he was appalled to know of children who helped care for their mother when she had bouts of depression, even though when she was well she was a good home educating mother. Nothing there about learning through life experiences, oh no! Those children’s rights were being violated by their mother’s illness. This propaganda against parents with illness or disability is deeply disturbing.

I can’t bring myself to write about Barroness Deech whose spiteful vitriol was actually shocking to me because I (mistakenly) thought the House of Lords was somewhat less political and more honest that Parliament. You can see good overviews HERE and of course HERE.

Grit picks up on Deech’s draconian ideas (draconian even by Badman and Ball’s standards!)

And she and Soley are surprised we don’t trust the Government!

There were many very good points made in the debate which was quite interesting in many ways. There really is no evidence against home education at all, otherwise those who wanted to come after us (and Deech really wants to) would produce it.

So, now we await the next bit.

[Published with no apology to Baroness Deech if there are typos or other grammatical iniquities]

CSF Bill in the Lords

You can watch it here - starts at 4hrs 6min

Hansard transcript HERE

I haven’t watched it yet.

Okay I have watched it now. There is a lot to say I suppose but the real thing that struck me was how dishonest some members of the House of Lords are. For some maybe it was simply ignorance but I was still amazed at what some people said and how they said it.

I don’t think Baroness Deech likes us. We are, to her view, uncaring of the rights of our children. That was such an utterly deplorable and dishonest speech.  But she was by no means the only person who wore jackboots and carried erroneous information to the debate.

I lost a lot of respect for the House of Lords to be honest. I had thought they were a more robust group of people. I have to say that the Bill must be pretty shoddy if those who wish to support it need to be dishonest and selective in presentation of information to force their view. If it really is going to shore up the rights of children and improve access to education then there should have been speakers able to say so honestly and with real evidence to back their claims.

The Bill has been around over a year and yet still those who want it to go through had nothing to say that showed it’s merit.

The snowballing media and the attack on Home educating families.

There is something deeply disgusting about the way Ed Balls, Graham Badman, the BBC and even some others are mis-using the tragic murder of Khyra Ishaq to attack the lives and well being of home educated children all over the country.  In all fairness most of the MSM has simply reported the facts of the trial and the Judge’s view that Birmingham Children’s Social Services had seriously failed this child and her siblings because they refused to carry out the Initial Assessment.

It wasn’t that long ago that this social service dept was found unfit for purpose. Having had a couple of friends deal with them I have to concur.

The case notes are heart wrenching and leave me with a lot of questions. The schools acted pretty well it seems although I do wonder why they waited until the children were removed before asking social services to intervene. They had already needed to provide the children with extra food because of their loss of weight and hunger. Perhaps they didn’t think they had enough to go on.

I am impressed that a teacher was so concerned she made a home visit. It’s good to know teachers like that are out there.

The fact that the social worker comes across as, how shall I put this- remarkably unprofessional and lacking intellectual rigour, should surely tell us something about how Birmingham Children’s Social Services came to be assessed as unfit for purpose.

The social worker called Miss G seems to have done all she could to avoid doing her job. Perhaps she was already overloaded with cases-the judge doesn’t say. Instead of carrying out an Initial Assessment she got the teacher of the school to contact the police and forcefully demand a Safe And Well Check. The police went out to the house to do this check and then quite remarkably didn’t do it!

Balls and Badman have from the get go tried to conflate safeguarding and suitable education. But the dangers of doing this are stark in this case. Para 244 says the Social worker ditched the Initial Assessment that was so desperately needed because Mr H was now involved.

Now I know Mr I.H: Irving Horne has been bashed by the Daily Mail but I would like to say I liked him. He was supportive of our family and of EHE in general.

He told the court he had a case load of 350 families to deal with alone without so much as a secretary to help get letters out. Frankly that’s dreadful. Of those 350 families quite a few would not have been EHE. He talked to me some time ago about the kind of work he did. He had all the registered EHE families and then families where the children were “between schools”; that is parents couldn’t get the child into the school of choice so they were at home awaiting placements. These parents had not chosen to Home educate at all. Then there were the families where the children were out of school because of trouble with the school or law and were awaiting suitable placements or home tuition.

Mr I H was a retired head master. As far as I know he had no social work training, and why should he, that wasn’t his job.  I am sorry that his name is plastered all over the press when journalists seem incapable of checking basic facts for one article let alone dealing with 350 in one go!

I know social workers often have a tough time too. But I tend to have less sympathy because I have had to work with so  many over the years and found most of them to be useless. Miss G did what so many other social workers I have come across do-pass the buck. Rather than do the Initial Assessment she tried to get the police to do it. They didn’t do the Safe and Well Check and then she tried to pass the buck for the welfare of these children to Mr Horne who had neither the training nor experience to deal with such a thing on top of his ridiculous workload.

While the BBC and Daily Mail snipe at home education neither have explained how Badman’s silly review would have in any way helped the Ishaq children.

Check out Firebird’s MEDIA WATCH (nb the Daily Mail have altered the page since she gave them a Pass- and now they Fail).

And then came FERN

The BBC have continued their attack on Home Education by wheeling out Fern Britton, who is apparently fairly famous. She tried to tell us all that Ryvita really doesn’t taste of cardboard left in the shed for a few days. I was warned by someone called Ronan who posted on my previous post that this would make me a little cross. I didn’t get to listen to it; a girl has to watch her blood pressure you know. But I have come across some quite startling quotes from Ms Britton that I can only assume are true:

Apparently she began by asking why home educators shouldn’t be made to follow the “same rules as the rest of us.” Erm, what rules would they be that we naughty EHE families are not following? I don’t think she went on to explain.

She did go on to ask, “Do home educators have to show the LA their school room?”  Like many people she obviously thinks home education is doing school at home. For most of us it isn’t. It is learning at home and at other people’s homes and other places in the community.

She then had the nerve to say; “Parents aren’t qualified to teach.” ROFL! Speak for yourself Fern. As it happens most of us don’t do a lot of teaching as such, we facilitate and often learn alongside the children. Often the children will teach us stuff they have learned. It works well.

The silly socialisation question -or in Fern’s case, negative statement, came up again. YAWN! How many times do we have to answer the same things over and over?

I know I should get cross about all this; but with Ed Balls quite deliberately misusing the murder of little Khrya Ishaq for his own bullying of the home ed community and to politically manouvre his Bill through-well Fern is small fry isn’t she?

open letter to Fern Britton from merry.

Shall I vote Tory after all????

I have been trying to work out what I would do at the election. I am one of those fickle voters who have put a cross in a many a box in the hope that it is a strategic way of doing damage reduction.

The next General election is on the way and should be properly announced by the end of March. While dates for the actual election day are muted as early as April and as late as June the most likely date appears to be May 6th (I think). So I need to make a decision.

I hardly watched any of the Third Reading of the Bill. But I managed to catch a few moments where Vernon Coaker was sneering (and practically dancing in glee) at the prospect of the Bill going through and the Tories being quite unwilling or unable to ditch it when (he seemed sure about the when I noted) they got into power.  It was the near enough a straight out admission that this whole charade is to hand a poisoned chalice on education to the next Government.

Carlotta, ever on the ball has spotted some wonderful news in The Times. It seems that the Tories are willing to ditch at least some of the poison and Michael Grove has been good enough to come out and say so. Clause 26/27 of the Bill will never become law under a Conservative Government.

Noami a home ed mum asked him about the Bill HERE and he said:

I think home educators do a wonderful job – they give up time and sacrifice so much for their children – Government should support them and we won’t allow the current Government’s plans to stigmatise home educators to get through

That didn’t quite answer the question as it looks like they might not be able to prevent the Bill getting through. We haven’t forgotten the ridiculous comments posted by Barroness and Deech and Lord Soley have we? So Naomi pushed for a straighter answer and she got one!

Comment From Naomi

Thank you ,but can you promise us that clause 26/27 of csf bill will never be law?

Michael Gove:

Dear Naomi

yes

That is marvellous. I hope he means it. Now if they would be willing to drop the forced sex ed as well I would be dancing with joy.

If I take Mr Gove’s word then I will have to vote Tory for the sake of my children’s education. But I do wonder what a Conservative Government does plan to do about home education.

Lords and Lab Rats

Having written their first entries on Home Education showing complete ignorance of the subject both Lord Soley and Baroness Deech returned with another attempt. I can only assume they didn’t read a single comment from their previous attempt or if they did they ignored it all. Questions asked have remained unanswered and statements made are still not backed up with any evidence.

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The Children, Schools and Family Bill gets through another reading.

Graham Stuart MP is a sharp thinker and speaker. He has truly done the background work needed to decide whether Schedule 1 Clause 26 should go through or not. Reading what he has to say makes me believe he actually does support Home Education and this isn’t just a political game to him. For that I am truly, truly grateful.

Caroline Flint otoh was quite capable of pointing out some bad practice by an LA officer-who I dare say went on to continue that level of crassness with other families; but then still voted with the Govt to increase the powers of these incompetent people. What incredible hyprocracy!

There is a great deal in the debate from the Hansard transcipt that needs looking at but I think this quote from Mr Stuart will start things off here:

A 1999 study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner, vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which is the testing company that runs the GMAT test in the United States—the primary test used there—observed:
“Home schooling’s one-on-one tutorial method seemed to equalize the influence of parents’ educational background on their children’s academic performance. Home educated students’ test scores remained between the 80th and 90th percentiles, whether their mothers had a college degree or did not finish high school.”

I would have hoped that hon. Members throughout the House would be excited at that prospect. Home education could have a transformational effect on the chance of children from the poorest homes getting a good education—if the parents had the commitment and the desire to do it—even if their parents did not have a good education themselves. He continued:

“Students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families of comparable educational backgrounds.”

In other words, although that cannot be guaranteed for all by any means, not least because of the economic realities, parents who are not well educated and who live in a deprived community and are prepared to show such commitment will none the less make a huge difference to the outcomes for their children, who are of course most likely to fail at school.

We should support home education rather than using measures that suggest that the only way we are going to improve it is by forcing children back to school.
This is the kind of research Badman would simply dismiss. There must be no hint that families who are not of the upper middle class white variety could possibly be capable of properly educating their children. During the anti-family campaign remember Tony Mooney? The man from the LA who thought working class and poorer families were in dire need of help (and SAOs)? This research flies in the face of such a view.
This debate was almost opened with the question from Ann Cryer (Lab) on what would happen if an inspector found a family who were home educating but didn’t speak English.
As it happens I did once meet a family like this. At home they spoke German because they were Austrian and while out and about they spoke English.
Many hearing children of Deaf parents only use BSL at home and English with other hearing people.
Could there be problems for families where they didn’t get access to English? Well probably, but just as I am able to offer Latin, Chinese, Italian and Spanish to my children, despite not speaking those languages myself I am sure parents can offer English in the same way. I have met Deaf parents who have done so for their hearing children. In fact in this country English is a language far easier to access than Latin or Italian.
Children learn to be bi/trilingual far quicker than adults but even adults soon learn English when immersed in it, (obviously Deaf adults cannot always do so) just as I became fluent in BSL far more quickly by being immersed in the Deaf Community that I would have from mere lessons.
I suspect Ms Cryer (despite ALL THE EVIDENCE) is still of the notion that home education means never leaving the home. That a child who only uses punjabi or some other language at home would never leave the house to learn English anywhere else.
The ‘we don’t like these foreigners’ approach continued with the statement that traveller families fail to educate girls past KS2. I wonder how true this is. Apart from the fact that travellors come in a variety of forms; Irish ‘tinker’, some Romany people still travel and there are groups of no particular ethnic set up. I went to school with travellor kids- boys and girls at what nowadays would be  KS3 so I wonder how widespread this perceived problem is. The other question I would ask is what kind of education? 
I realise these might seem like small side issues that don’t effect the vast majority of EHE families-but it does underline the shoddy thinking of the whole approach to EHE.
Mr David Laws  (LibDem) was somewhat confused over some aspects of safeguarding it seemed to me but he did go on to say:
In paragraphs 19 onwards, we see clearly—it is especially clear in paragraph 28—that what is at the moment an entitlement by the citizen in a free society to make a decision to home educate, has become an application in the Bill. In the future, instead of having the presumption that we are allowed to home educate, we must apply to the state for that right. That is an extraordinary change that I find deeply objectionable in a free society. We must not underestimate how serious that change in presumption is. It is clear that the application is not simply a process of notification, which is what we are trying to make it through some of the amendments that I will discuss in a moment. It is a fully-fledged process that involves having to supply huge amounts of personal information.
I do wonder therefore why any LibDem MP would want to support anything in this part of the Bill. It is after all the crux of the problem; these are not as I think Ms Cryer calls the “our children” they are my children or yours. The State does NOT own my children …yet.

The Nazi Law that Badman is ambiguous about gets blasted by Judge in the USA

(I was going to say I thought Badman admired the Nazi law-but he is a bit more careful than that.)

This post by Blogdial is excellent. The Romeikes, a family who have found asylum in the USA from Germany’s gross behaviour is not the first. Germany is perhaps the country most sunk in the totalitarian approach to education, but the disease has spread throughout Europe with Badman even able to say:

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Home Education Review: take it to the Lords

The Bill to make the state owners of our children has got through it’s second reading. The HOC committee has been and gone and although much good sense was spoken there especially by Graham Stuart MP and Chloe Watson a home educated person aged 17 who managed to speak such good sense that she silenced the entire room at one point :) still Badman and his mates have not so much as admitted their stats are wrong. This in the face of the maths (as Mr Stuart pointed out).

Now we take it to the Lords:

It seems likely that the second reading of the Children Schools and Families Bill in the Lords will come soon after we return from our winter half term on 22nd February, and that Clause 26 will still be intact.To interest peers in supporting HE at second reading, aim to canvass us before 9th February – we rise on the 10th.

Hints on canvassing us:

keep it short. We have no staff, and too much to do. Make your main points on the first side, even if you say more thereafter;

understand our limitations. We are most of us more or less ancient, more or less establishment, and conscious that political power rests with the Commons. Liberty plays well – but there are few absolute libertarians here;

your aim is to find friends, not conquer enemies. You will find plenty;

do offer to meet in the Lords, if that’s easy for you, or if you are part of one of the HE organisations ask if the peer would like to meet a HE family who lives near their home (peers have no published home addresses by and large, so only organisations are likely to be able to find a good local candidate).

After Second Reading comes Committee, when the whole house (meaning those who take an interest) go through the Bill line by line. What we will need for this stage are suggestions for amendments – different ways of having oversight of HE, different ways of supporting it. I know that the whole concept of oversight is anathema to some of you, but that’s the way we work and our strengths are more in grinding the government down gradually with practical arguments than cutting them down with politics. So do send in your ideas for amendments, as we can put them down straight after Second Reading.

Information on the Lords can be found on www.writetothem. com/lords
We are not obliged to communicate with Lords who are close to us geographically – we can seek them out according to their special interest and voting record. See previous posts 22nd January on contacting the Lords.

I recommend not only Lord Lucas but Lord David Alton as interested in freedom for families. Got to say though no one else springs to mind and I’ll had a look through the lists.

If anyone else can recommend someone, let me know and I’ll add to this post.

Confessions of a registered home educator

I am a registered home educator. In the UK the way it works (at the moment) is this. If a parent puts their child into school they become registered with the school. Then if you decide to remove the child the school (not the parent) is obliged to inform the LA. This is because the school is obliged to say they are no longer educating the child (if they ever were-but that’s another issue) and so aren’t entitled to that great wad of dosh the taxpayer has been handing over for said child.

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CSF documents are up

The transcripts and memos for the CSF are up. I notice the poisonous approach by the National Children’s Bureau and the Family Planning Association.

But I am blown away by the NASUWT! A teachers union thinking they have any remit whatsoever on what families do in their own homes! WOW! Even the NUT wasn’t that arrogant!

First there’s this:

he NASUWT remains opposed to the right of parents of pupils up to the age of 15 to withdraw their children from Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).

As though teachers own our children now, and then this:

Whilst there is a strong case for the Government to consider whether the right of parents to educate their children at home remains appropriate in the context of a modern education system, the NASUWT generally welcomes as a positive step the provisions of Clauses 26, 27 and Schedule 1 which take forward the recommendations of the Badman Review in establishing more effective monitoring and registration arrangements for children educated in this way.

(I’ve bolded the words). I wouldn’t want any child of mine taught by people who think like this.

Hoc Committee Children Schools and Families Bill. Badman at it again.

In between educating the children I have been watching or listening to the HOC children, schools and families Bill. It begins with a discussion of how Special Educational Needs can be better met and the appalling situation for parents who try to get a statement for their children.

(around 14:57) there was talk of OFSTEDs role in assessing SEN provision in school. From the way Mr Lamb was talking it seems OFSTED is only just about getting its act together in this area. This makes me wonder how they think they can assess something as completely different as education within family life when they have barely got to grips with an area they should have been prioritising, SEN provision within schools?

Graham Stuart talking about specifically children with autism who are home educated noted that children with autism (or on the spectrum I would assume) are supposed to get extra monitoring. Does this mean all of us with children who may have an illness, disability or SEN have to be ‘monitored’ more closely? I got the impression that a parent of a child with some level of autism who hasn’t had a formal diagnoses and put in place something obvious for the child’s needs then they could be prosecuted for neglect-even if they know the child’s needs and are dealing with them. Lack of a ‘label’ for the child could cause trouble for the family and if they don’t “cooperate with the authority” they would get an SAO and loose their right to home educate. Did I hear that right? (about 1:06) Did anyone else get that?

Then at 1:10 the next set of witnesses appear; Badman, Fiona from EO, Sir Paul of the National Children’s Bureau (got a knighthood; I wonder how); admitted to being involved in the PSHE (you know little kid grooming by the Govt) Chloe HE Youth Council,  Beth National Autistic Society.

Poor old Badders fell at the first question.

Then he had to answer the question on how he felt about the fact that Autonomous Ed might be allowed rather than a National Curriculum like prescription. Interestingly he tried to fudge and said that many home educators use a structured approach that was “high quality”. Now, it could be just me, but I got the impression he was saying he thought a structured approach was good and AE wasn’t. That would mean I am doing a good thing with my younger ones, where I am fairly structured-give or take- but my older AE child is failing to achieve her 5 outcomes or some such.  He is well miffed that some parents might not want to set hoops for their children to jump through.

Apparently it would be remiss of a parent not to ensure their child gets to know about “climate change.” He is fixated with that isn’t he. Anyway rest assured my children have full access to all sorts of information on that :).

It is a very alarming meeting with so much deliberate misinformation and some misinformation I actually think Badman believes somehow all being re-hashed and never altered over and over again.  Worse than that Badman LIKES the fact that the European approach has been to remove the parents inherent right and duty to the education of their children. (I take it he has never leaned about natural law. Neither have some others and there is a struggle now to understand how rights and duties are inextricably linked. Sadly I think too many people have bellowed ‘my rights’ when those rights don’t actually exist).

He talked about listening to the child again. Only no one is listening to either home ed children who want to be left to learn OR children in school who hate it and want to be home educated.

Then the question of a suitable education came up. I think I need to write on that one separately.

That man Badman has so taken on the spirit of Balls as to appear possessed. He even made a snide attack on Graham Stuart over whether he went to “a better school” than he did! How Balls like! How lacking in maturity and thought! Later one he has the nerve to say “I wont give you figures that I am not certain of.”

I have to say too many people in the room simply didn’t understand the legislation. Graham Stuart does, but I was amazed that this late people sit around that table and STILL have not understood what is going to happen!

There is a huge amount more to write but I’m tired. Later.

What if Balls gets his own way? What if…?

I am sure that in the Home ed world as it stands that we mums and dads take care of one another in a crisis and one another’s kids when it’s needed.

So a day might come when a home ed group includes a couple of children without their mum that day because she has to work; or a couple of children on another day without their mum because she has an antenatal scan; or a couple of kids without their mum one day because she is at hospital with one of the other children. It’s normal life. We would want to take care of one another. However, what if Balls gets his claws into us? We are facing having to have a CRB just to be at home with our own children, what chance then or being allowed to take care of other home ed children to help out?

What if one of the mums is fluent in a language the other children want to learn, or has skills in media or one of the older children wants to teach the younger ones to make curry? Will they need a CRB?

And yet still the LibDems are wondering if there really is anything wrong with cracking down on EHE.