This article in the Catholic Herald this weekend is interesting. On the face of it this looks like a good idea and a perfect way for children to have access to better tailored education. Could home ed groups like mine apply to be a ‘school’ and get a little funding—-without too many strings attached?
Tag Archives: Government attack on homeschoolers
Peter Traves from the Association of Directors of Chilren’s Services was insistant that his pretty bottom was on the line if anything happened to any home educated child. He never once wondered why he should be responsible for all these children that have no need of his services, but hey, what a power trip.
Meanwhile he managed this amazing statement when challenged on the terrible state of LA services and schools, that lead so many of us to withdraw our children:
There are also parents who withdraw their children, I have to say, for particular religious view and wanted that religious view incultcating that child. It isn’t just about the rights of parents, it’s also about the rights of children…”
So my family no longer has a right to religious freedom in his eyes. My children can’t use their Catholic Heritage Curricula or Faith and Life books.
Already we have heard that disabled people should not be home educating and religious home ed has been attacked time and time again. I do wish these people would learn a little history.
The Select Committee Meeting yesterday was almost farcical. I took notes and if no one gets there first I will try and get time to transcribe chunks of it at least.
There are some corking reactions around the net that I truly recommend you good people read.
I noticed that the Guardian came in for special praise during the little pre-meeting on appointing the new Children’s Minister. They have apparently written something nice about children. The media as a whole got blamed for the way home educating parents have been tarnished with the broad brush accusation that we are all a bunch of child abusers. The Guardinista came back to kiss the Gov with THIS astonishingly false piece that even though it was in the Guardian I am a bit shocked. The comments however from normal people soon put it in to rights. To think a couple of days ago I read THIS daft piece which also soon got put to rights by the good people leaving comments. It has come to my attention that if I want to know the truth about almost anything these days, I go to a blog written by anyone other than a journo! Frankly even I, housewife, home educating mother and very, very tired person-couldn’t write anything as trivial, inaccurate and downright twaddlesome as this little lot! They should be deeply ashamed that while they are paid to write unmitigated crassness that many people who write blogs or comment on other people’s have more integrity and actual knowledge which they offer for free.
But back to the Committee. The only case used to beat us with was that of Kyra Ishaq who was starved to death here in Birmingham. She was, of course, in school and was already well known as a child at risk by the “not fit for purpose” Social Service’s dept. When her mother de-registered her from school no one seemed to be all that bothered and then ten weeks later the poor little child had been starved to death. She as one of over 15 cases in five years where children have died under the nose of Birmingham Children’s Social Services. As is sadly all to common in these cases the “step father” was involved. So is the Government going to have all step fathers and ‘mothers boyfriends’ registered and vetted? Er no. Are they going after all muslim families as this was a muslim(ish) family? Er no. They are instead coming after all home educators because for a very few weeks before she died Khyra Ishaq had been removed from school for “home education” , now ALL home educating families are to be treated as guilty until proven innocent.
While Barry Sheerman could talk about “horror stories” associated with home education, he seemed unable to list any. Then between his whining about the anger his review had merited in home ed circles Badman could only spin bizarre stats that even I could see were utterly untrustworthy. Then after insisting that “no decisions had been made” a number of things were said that appear to contradict this.
On the one hand they muttered that there would be no forced curriculum and then we are told there should be “a curriculum structure…” which seemed to be one the LA would have to approve.
There was a lot of unanswered questions including why a child should be seen alone and then after all the guff about the Rights of the Child Badman and his pals insisted that any child who tried to excercise his right to to be interviewed by a strange (and hostile)m adult might have that right removed if the LA decide he didn’t really mean it!
Anyway-I’ll post this as it is now. More to follow I dare say.
BLOGDIAL on children as property and a reminder that the Nazi law banning home education is actively policed in modern Germany. There is also the stark warning that the USA is next as Obama wants children spending more time in school (of course he does).
The REVIEW DOC is here and shows a shocking disregard for the genuine welfare of children. It does however, seem to want to move us more inline with the (anti-family, anti home ed) European Union.
Badman likes to point out that the European Convention on Human Rights (a document I personally have had very grave doubts about from the beginning) that “case law on the ECHR challenges any claim that home education is a fundamental right”.
Carlotta has the review recommendations which includes ANNUAL REGISTRATION and ENFORCED visits to see the children and the demand to see children alone without the parent! as well as the view that schools should be part of the process of ensuring home educated children receive a structured education. Do they mean the very schools that haven’t provided the education in the first place?
The CONSULTATION documents are up and the closing date is OCTOBER 19th Frankly it is plain that this Government are very keen to make sure families loose their basic rights. If you don’t want strangers forcing themselves into your home and interviewing your children with goodness knows what methods then get with the fight. This is not just to show Labour bullies like Ed Balls where we stand, but the Conservatives too. They are most likely to be in power in a year or so and we need them to put a stop to this. They wont if there isn’t a reason to.
I will read the whole thing and blog again.
NOTE: Lots of ways to attack us and monitor us-but NOTHING that offer genuine support I notice.
I have just ploughed through the whole awful document. It is almost beyond belief.
Then at the conclusion
International comparison suggests that of all countries with highly developed education
systems, England is the most liberal in its approach to elective home education. Legislation
from the 1930s banning elective home education still persists in Germany and most European
countries require registration, whereas New Zealand demands that the “
at least as regularly and as well as in registered school
have processes for registration and the systematic monitoring of elective home education and
require evidence of progress….
I have bolded the words that jumped out at me. I was just blown away by the sheer NERVE. That is HITLER’S anti-home eduction law. You know, the one that ensured all children recieved the National Socialist propaganda and were forcably enlisted in Hitler’s Youth. That law!
Before I look more closely into the strange and rather disturbing words of Mr Badman when he went off to visit the home edders at Blackwell Court let me add a few links here:
Graham Badman who is leading the review on home education is off to visit the good people of Worcester today at Blackwell Court. I am afraid I don’t know anyone able to go from my neck of the woods who can go today but I hope the grape vine will kick into action and we’ll hear what happens.
I would quite like to meet Mr Badman and ask him some questions myself. I wonder if he would like to join the Ladies Who Lunch one Friday. I will ask.
Gill is still looking into the various threads of this review including the dodgy behaviour of the NSPCC.
Carlotta has been looking more closely at what the review team might consider ‘support’ for home eduction, including the NotSchool e-learning system.
The attacks on families are quite scary really. The Goldston family went through-are still going through THIS. Reading their blog it is patently obvious her children are getting a vastly superior education than any school could hope to offer; but that didn’t stop the attack.
Other families have talked of having SS investigate them because they EHE. None of this raises trust in home ed families and I think this is a bad thing.
I have always worked with the EWO who visits us. I never really saw a reason not to. He wanted to make sure we were okay and to ask what we needed. Most of what we wanted he couldn’t supply; mainly exam centres and free access to exams. But he did help sort out Alex’s work placement insurance thing. He also wrote a reference and front sheet for Alex’s portfolio stating it was of GCSE standard or above. He has offered to do the same for Iona.
Graham Badman has asked what we want as support for home education.
The response has been “Nothing.Leave us alone.” This seems to have surprised Mr. Badman. I have to say my response WOULD have been different but for the way this whole process was handled from the start. It was made clear that this has nothing to do with what might be best for home educating families or the education of children-it is about LAs wanting more power than the Law allows.
It should be obvious that accusing the home education community of abusing our kids was not going to build trust with the ‘authorities’. I do have some sympathy with Badman and his band of merry men and women having to do the review when so much poison has been laid down ahead of them.
We know that ‘support’ will come with strings attached and so we don’t want any. This Government has made it clear it doesn’t like families. It doesn’t want mothers to be at home with their children. We have seen the appalling bigotry of Ed Balls and the even more bigoted Barry Sherman against faith schools and Catholic schools especially. There is little doubt that a Christian education will be discouraged and the fact that many of us don’t want the sex ed propaganda forced on our children wont go down well either.
Gill and others believe -and I must agree- that non registered families and autonomous educators are on the front line of the fire.
As far as registration is concerned I can’t see how Badman can use this as carrot; ‘register and we will offer the following…’. After all we all know about Contactpointnow so ALL CHILDREN ARE REGISTERED. We can also see in the document ‘Children Missing Education’ that unregistered children not in school will be assumed to be ‘missing education’. So it seems to me at some point we will all be forced to prove we are providing what a the Govt and LAs decide is ‘suitable education’ -and I am quite concerned about what that might be.
Some of the things flagged up:
ONLINE LEARNING: I think because both Badman and one of the team Stephen Heppell have some background in online learning there is a lot of talk about a place where children can log on to learn. Apparently however I remember reading that in the NotSchool system children were secretly monitored through their web use.
I think online learning is very useful, but we use a lot of different sites for a lot of different reasons. I wouldn’t sign up to a one site learning place. It would surely be national curriculum with all its flaws and false information that we are avoiding in our online use.
FREE EXAMS; the complaint that too few home ed children are getting GCSEs comes with the fact that although money follows children into school and college to pay for exams we don’t get any help in this at all and have to pay a hefty fee for each exam taken, plus travel costs and for some families overnight expenseses on top. A lot of families use IGCSEs because they are of a much higher standard that GCSEs and the core subjects are exam based. I can’t see why libraries can’t be exam centres.
DROP IN CENTRES: along with the free exams it has been suggested that there should be education centres that anyone can use at any time. I believe some ideas of this nature have already been discussed by members of Badman’s team. Unfortunately I believe these would be very narrow in approach-national curriculum based and probably require registration. If they could be open, free, well resourced and genuinely aimed at everyone wanting an education I think it would be taxes well spent; but I am far too cynical to believe this could happen if it was tax funded.
But do we NEED any of the above?
I know some families can’t afford a computer but libraries have them and they can be freely used. Revamped and second hand computers are cheap and cheerful- and I don’t see why a couple of families couldn’t club together to share one.
Most of can’t afford exams for our children or the high cost of tutors to get them through the hoops. But when portfolio work can be so good and when there are so many other ways of proving competence and ability I wonder why we bother with exams anyway. We know that both industry and Universities think GCSEs are barely worth anything and there is less respect or A’levels. There are so many other ways to go about building a portfolio of work including making DVDs, running a website, work experience and the bog standard folder of work and presentations.
In the USA more of more universities are accepting homeschooled youngsters with no formal qualifications who prove their worth in other ways. I am sure this will prove the case here as time goes on (if it is ever allowed).
There are many places we can visit. Admittedly our family find a lot of it difficult because of the cost-most places charge a LOT for a family visit; but also the added difficulty of me using a wheelchair (and my scooter is bust). Trips can cost slightly less if a group of home edders invade together. Nevertheless we save for trips and there are places that are free to access and wheelchair friendly if we look around. Would a drop in place really offer anything extra?
So it seems that although the Review team might really want to offer something-there seems little we need and what we might like would come with so much red tape and strings attached that it seems hardly worth it.In the end I agree with those who say we would rather keep our freedom thanks.
Carlotta is running a poll on how teen feel about visits from the LA. Go and see and if you have a teen home edder get them to post.
The Lincolnshire response throws up a couple of interesting points:
‘We feel there should be a requirement of parents that they meet with an LA Officer with the child, so that the child can be asked how they feel about being home educated. At this point EHE is entirely a parent’s decision and we do not have any way of making sure this is also the child’s preference
I bolded the most interesting point. I like the idea that children actually have a real choice in their form of education. Parents do decide of course, as is our right-but I have met only a few parents who state they would not allow a child to go to school if they really wanted to. Occasionally children do ask and do get to go to school-and almost invariably ask to be home educated again.
But if home edder children should have a choice-and I agree they should; then so should schooled children and all those who say they do not want a school education should be offered home education or some other alternative. With the massively high figures for truanting and the number of children stating they are miserable at school if this LA gets it’s way there should be a huge explosion in home educated children.