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.