Select Committe part 2. Barry Sheerman was sitting on a prickly cushion or something.

I watched the select committee meeting part 2 this morning. It was much more hostile and poor old Barry was very prickly today compared to his relaxed and smiling approach on Monday. Just as the whole thing ended and I put down my pen Josh pointed out THIS bit of news about school education. The same story is in the Guadinista and the similar Indi. This one in the Mail gives some interesting figures about low literacy and numeracy problems and how employers are having to teach these matters. Got to say, I wouldn’t want my children to get their education via Tesco’s. They don’t have a reputation for honesty, good practice and fairness after all do they? Nevertheless, the fact that they ARE having to teach literacy and numeracy is a remarkable indictment of schools.

Bishop Hill has written an excellent letter. H/T to Carlotta. Bishop Hill is responding to the strange response from a LibDem MP who was scratching her head over the real fears of home educating families. As the last time I heard a response from a Lib Dem it was the very illiberal and grossly undemocratic view that if the Lib Dems ever got into power (no chance thankfully) that “There would be no need for home education.”

To the meeting.

Jane makes the very good point that the children missing education are already KNOWN to LAs as they are the ones with families who are known to a number of disciplines.

Fiona says we should do some research with all of us who are already registered with the LAs. I think this is a good idea and an obviously, though time consuming job that needs doing. Nevertheless I am sure there are plenty of us who would be willing to take part in and even do some research in this area.

The lack of trust in LAs was recognised but there seemed to be some confusion about how this could be put right. The lady who thought we could all get amnesia and forget what has been going on with Badman, Delyth Morgan and the media over the last few months was a bit silly really. It HAS happened and even those of us with good relationships with our LA are now much more wary.  As Carol of Austism in Mind points out, when the LA are part of the system that has so badly failed our children why on earth would be want them coming into our homes to tell us what to do. She also pointed out there was no mention of training for special needs.

Even Simon Webb said there shouldn’t be “an overly prescriptive approach” and there should be no formal testing.

Fiona said maybe there needs to be some research into why people have pulled out or refused to engage with the LA. She made it clear there have been some real problems. This was backed up by Jane who explained clearly that LA staff too often didn’t know what they were doing.

The question on whether Statments of Learning would bring about impostion of restrictions. Simon thinks most parents have a general view of what they expect of their children’s learning in a years time. To a certain extent I agree-but as Fiona said, we still don’t know what’s involved and she pointed out that while 2 sides of A4 has been suggested some LAs wont accept a 30 page report!! The question, especially for AE families-and it’s one that effects those of us with mixed approachs-is will we be tied to the beginning of year report? She also said that while many parents can do this sort of writing down-some parents prefer a meeting and oral approach. “BAdman gave us too much information about what he had got in the bag for us really.” TOO RIGHT! Interesting how Simon was given a pat for educating his daughter to such a high level-which was judged by the fact she had A* IGCSEs. So those us who have kids with formal qualifications are better than those without??? What about those of us with a mixed output; formal, portfolio etc. Are we middlin?? Doesn’t this just show the complete lack of understanding of home education and the needs of a child?

Jane pointed out the very traumatised state many children are in when they are pulled from school and this can go on for up to a year. Having had a child who was indeed seriously damaged by his school life I concur. Fortunately he is a tough cookie and we had a reasonably rapid recovery once he was away from the voilence and the appalling lack of care.

Research by Alan Thomas mentioned but Sheerman was concerned that he was positive about home education. (lol) The fact that children with autism do so much better when allowed to focus on their own interests was raised. This is backed by truck loads of research I might add and from my own work in a special school with children with autism, I have seen this first hand. The question about children “learning what they need to function in an adult world.” Umm wonder what that might be. A strange case of a 24 year old who couldn’t learn to be an accountant apparently because he was home educated. Why couldn’t he?  Fiona pointed out life long learning is there and she also pointed out that coming out of Uni doesn’t get you the career of choice.

The silly question of science came up! Simon Webb pointed out it isn’t hard and he managed to teach his dd IGCSE science in the kitchen. My daughter btw has pointed out that her friends were jealous because when she did her science modules she did at least one experiement a week; they are lucky to get any hands on practice even once a month. So, who isn’t teaching science then?

I noticed the lead up to the science question was a dig at Autonomous Ed (I can see more and more why AE parents are getting so paranoid) and the other group (it seemed to me) were parents on lower social incomes who might be unable to do a good job. Was that the influence of Tony Mooney I wonder???

More resources and non-judgemental support could help but the Badman Review doesn’t look set to deliver anything of the sort.

If registration is needed for support why not have it voluntary? But there was this idea that parents might be just too stupid to ask for help when they needed it. Okay, perhaps there really are parents like this.

Money: should a grant be available on condition that there was state oversight? Those who chose to do without the money could be left alone. Should families have the money?

Responses were cautious because obviously lots of us could do with finincial help in home edding our children. Nevertheless most of us would say no because the strings attached would be so bad. It was also pointed out that a small school receiving money is NOT home education. Even so, most of us do work like a tiny village school where the parents teach each other’s children at various times or have certain skills.

Most people want to be left alone.

Simon thought it was only just he should get the dosh. He pays his council tax and should have the service he has paid for.

It was pointed out no one really believed the money would be there anyway. It hasn’t been there for special needs children in school let alone at home.

The “if you have nothing to hide?” question came up. When the LA problem was raised the man said how so if there was no registration? I don’t know who he is but surely if he is sitting on a committe it behoves him to know the basics on registration as it stands now! He seemed to think the LA were well trained, home ed savvy and terribly helpful. He then made the bizarre statement that children who were sick would go to a doctor and children who need educating need a qualified teacher! Apples and oranges! I might also add that most normal parents provide a whole load of unsupervised by medics medical support to their sick kids. When I was re-sussing my kid in the night three of four times no doc was there. Was I supposed to call one every time she stopped breathing even though I can resuss her myself? Obviously there are times we take them to the doc and I’ve spent an inordinate time in hospital with Avila especially. In the same way if there was something the children needed educationally that was beyond me to provide we would get someone else to provide it. (cost is an issue of course but not if other home ed families can either provide the help or share the cost) For example I teach BSL because I am fluent in that language. My friend helps out with high level media projects because that is her expertise and her husband can teach photography.

Parents delegate to the school and then can take back their responsibility to educate the child themselves. Again, the shocking mess children are often in when withdrawn from school was mentioned and not pciked up on from the bench.

“The child is not the personal possession of the parent but a member of the wider…” said he who doesn’t get the difference between a complicated medical procedure and teaching. (LOL)

“The child is not the possession of the state!”

Then Bazza tried to end that little line of thought. Quick, quick change the subject.

Then there was the mild acceptance with the words “PERHAPS” emphasised that some special needs kids might need a bit of time to recover.

While Zena made it clear she was neither registered nor hidden she added the state had no business to decide what was happening with her children.

Simon went on about the rights of the child. He seemed to forget the rights of parents which actually protect the rights of a child from state intrusion but hey. I noticed too that he was quite deliberately allowed the last word, despite having nothing to say.

These are just my notes.

3 responses to “Select Committe part 2. Barry Sheerman was sitting on a prickly cushion or something.

  1. yes and why was Simon Webb invited but home educated children where not? its a stitch up!

  2. I thought Simon Webb was fascinating didn’t you? There he was with really nothing to say and yet there was the in-yer-face pallyness at the end when Barry gave him the last word and he spouted Government propaganda. I would have laughed but it was too horrible.

  3. I thought an analysis of his body language would be revealing.

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