Finally, I have finished reading the Select Committee Report on Badman’s bad review. I spent a bit of time thinking about the Conclusions and Recommendations as this is after all a cross party view, isn’t it?
I really think that the negative aspects of the whole business is based on the assumption that going to school is “normal” and learning in some other place than school is abnormal. There is also an underlying assumption that “professionals” such as those of the LAs are more knowledgeable about the educational needs of children, even those they have never met, than the parents.
We have to be registered because they want to know who we all are. That seems to be the primary if not only reason for registration. We have to be registered to work with the LA staff because of course being merely parents we can’t possibly really know the best education we can offer our children.
Local authorities should publicise the benefits of registration, including the resources that will be available to registered families. The success of a system of voluntary registration (combined with improved information sharing) should be reviewed after two years.
Including what resources exactly? How about each school aged child receiving the money they would have had sent to school which is between £1,000 to £2,500 a year depending (not on need) on where you live. For us that would mean receiving £3,000 a year if we got the cheapest rate. With that I could not only provide a brilliant quality education for my three school aged children, but have money left over to donate to the Church for resources to help school kids who lack resources at home. It would be marvellous.
And what constitutes a successful voluntary registration? Successful to home ed families might mean lots of resources and respectful inter working with LA staff for those who need it or want it, while those who don’t can get on with their family life as they see fit. Successful to the LAs and Government might mean we are all registered and have a visit from some stranger who neither knows us, nor understands how HE works- you know, much like it can be now.
All the stuff about trying to sort out the problems parents have that make them withdraw children from school could be a good thing, apart from the underlying feeling that really they think our children should all be in school, so they can have a “normal” education and be “normal” just like everyone else.
There is even this:
We note that in the case of school education the quality of teaching is thought to be the key factor in pupils’ learning and attainment. In which case, the same must apply to the parents and others who are responsible for the education of home educated children. Yet, little is known about the home educating community as a whole within the research evidence. (Paragraph 121)
I really don’t see how the way teachers are in school has anything to do with how families educate their children at home. It’s so different that qualified teachers who home educate often have to ditch their ‘school thinking’ to make it work. To say “the same must apply” to parents and others is a strong statement based on abject ignorance of how children learn at home! The differences are so vast it would take a book to explain them. Maybe I need to write one! I have an Advanced Diploma in Special Needs Education and a Masters in Education (RE and Catechesis to be precise). I have worked in schools and FE college and even taught in a University; all of that experience is useless in my role as a mum with children learning at home, and around the community. It’s just completely different.
While the conclusions go on and on about what we home ed families should provide the LAs in way of registration (that is applying for a license), to assist them in research, provide a philosophy of education, to jump through the hoops and in return…well it looks like there is no money left to offer anything in return. No promise of access to resources, money to buy curriculum, free access to exams, no, nothing promised there at all.
The only outcome of this whole charade is that there is no trust left and we simply will not co-operate. Sad really isn’t it?
Meanwhile friends in the USA are amazed that so many British parents are looking the other way while this happens. So am I.
Maire and her husband have had to put together THIS DETAILED RESPONSE over refusals to reply to Freedom of Information Requests- to nutshell, it says the DCSF should have published ALL the information in the first place and then the FOI problem would never have existed!
Carlotta posts on the rising numnber of stories from HE families on abuse of power from LA staff. I could add a couple of stories of my own; one an Educational Social Worker who tried to get illegal access to the home of a family, and another story of an LA visitor who had wrong information about the children she was visiting and had no information from the letter the mother had already sent!
The internet is a powerful tool for making sure miscarriages of justice are well known. No secrets here. It is undountedly why Obama over in the USA and our own Govt here are trying to curb the freedoms it allows. Like many blogs and websites, mine is blocked by China- ah the Socialist dream.