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.