Tag Archives: politics

The Government want to define what “full time education” is for 16 – 17 yr olds

It has been noted by the Government that education as it stands isn’t working so well. strangely the Education Act of 2008 in which it was decreed that adults must stay in school until they are 17 or 18 has been continued. It was one of the most glaring examples of doing more of something that was already failing that I have ever seen, but for whatever reason Grove and his mates are sticking with it.

A new consultation document has been released to discuss how this further compulsory education is to be handled. Part of that is to decide what is going to constitute “full time education”

Home education is marked down as a valid form of full time education and there it is further stated that how the education takes place should be at the discretion of the families.

But I am left wondering why the “time” spent in education is so important and the actual education that takes place in that time apparently secondary. As with most home educating families we get through a lot of work in a shorter time than schools manage simply because we don’t waste as much time.

There’s no queueing outside the classroom until the teacher comes. There’s no faffing about while everyone settles. The lessons go on for as long as they need to and are not interrupted by the bell. There is no moving around big locked buildings.

As a result of the efficient use of time there is also no “homework” after a long day of learning.

I can’t help thinking that sorting out the standard of education, how children learn and whether the national curriculum is fit for purpose (which I doubt) is a little bit more important than how many hours constitute full time education. It looks like drawing another tick box. Frankly deleting a few tick boxes would be more useful.

As it stands I am not convinced this going to be a problem for HE yet. But I suppose there will be LA people who want us to buy timers to ensure we are fulfilling the time directive or whatever. We’ll see.

Advertisements

I don’t do politics usually but…

I tend to follow the Chestonian view that “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”  Frankly the whole lot of them are so alike it would be difficult to tell them apart even though they wear different coloured ties.

Until I settled on distributism as a general political, social and economic view I suppose I was more or less a Labour supporter. That changed rather rapidly when Blair fitzThatcher took over and the astonishingly nasty Balls and Brown dark-comedy duo hit town.

Interestingly I see Fr Ray has this post with a link to this article which appeared in the Herald, and I never got around to reading. It’s a good article that explains how people like me ended up with no “politics” to speak of at all.

Some of you may remember how difficult I found it to decide how to vote at the last General Election. I knew from a tactical point I had to vote Tory, but most people of my age have a lot of memories of the Thatcher years and they aren’t good.  I went to school in an area where within a couple of years of Mrs Thatcher’s attack on the unions we had a school full of kids on “free dinners” because their dad’s were suddenly out of work. Whole communities went to the wall – and frankly the Union grip didn’t seem to get any less. But I was just a kid – what did I know?

As a nurse however I saw something up close that I still think was so utterly unethical and wicked, I am amazed there was such silence on it. It was the full on attack on those who had long term serious illness.

Most people noticed that “Care in the Community” was nothing of the sort. Beds in psychiatric hospitals closed with a startling correlation on the number of people with mental illness in prison and the rise in homeless figures.  Like many nurses in the ’80s I saw people who had once been patients begging on the streets.

But for me it was one patient that made me swear never to vote Tory. Let’s call him Jim. He had schizophrenia. It had not been all that well controlled and he had been in and out of hospital and sectioned more than once. Then one day out in the community he had been attacked and left with brain damage. He had been transferred to the psych from general and once his schizophrenia was controlled I had received him for rehab. By this point he had been in hospital a good number of months. He had to deal with trying to get well, and coping with the permanent damage he had been left with thanks to his attackers. (I don’t think they were ever caught).

Jim had a flat in a high-rise which he had continued to pay rent on while in hospital so he would have a home to go to. Unfortunately, his brain damage and the uncertainty of the effects this would have on his long-term mental health meant we no longer deemed it a safe place to be discharged to. Thankfully Jim had a good mother. She was getting on a bit and just about making ends meet on her state pension but she was willing to take care of her son and keep an eye  out. All we needed was a change of tenancy so he could live on the ground floor and near her. SIMPLE.

However, sneakily Thatcher and her buddies had changed the benefits system. Once a seriously ill person had spent more than a year in hospital their benefits were drastically cut. No appeal. Just cut. So Jim received weekly benefits that were less than his weekly rent. This put him into rent arrears obviously and also meant he couldn’t even buy basics such as toiletries. – just at a time when hospitals were no longer helping out there either.

Like many student and qualified staff back then, we bought stuff for our patients because they wouldn’t have them otherwise.

Being in arrears meant Jim could not have a change of tenancy even with the maximum medical points that he had.  In the end his mother had to try and pay off his debt out of her state pension. I can only assume she went without a great deal to do this for her son. God bless her.

At last we were able to get Jim the flat near his mother that he needed. No thanks at all to the astonishing attack on the truly vulnerable from that Tory Government.

Tony Blair was pretty dreadful and nick named “son of Thatcher” for a reason. But he did at least ensure nurses got a reasonable wage, eventually.

As a distributist I believe that families should be left with their own money so they can take care of their own and that with local funding and charity projects the truly vulnerable will be known and not slip through the enormous holes in the net we have now.

Jesus said “The poor we will have with us always,” but He never said, “So lets make the really vulnerable as poor as possible.”

Ed Balls, the NSPCC-and the attack on home education

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:

Continue reading

SUPPORT the Rights of Home Educating Families in the UK

Tammy of Just Enough and Nothing More kindly asked how homeschoolers not resident in the UK can support us against the attack on our rights as parents to home educate our children.

The group “Stop the Government Stigmatizing Home Education” has begun a thread in which all messages of support will be placed so that Govt personal, Mr Graham Badman who is to analyse the review and the NSPCC can see that we have support.

Please put your messages in the comments box or you can email me at sctshell@aol.com

For all homeschoolers in the UK- you only have until Friday the 20th Feb to get the review form completed.

Please don’t treat this as somebody elses problem. There is reason to believe this attack on home eduation has far reaching implications for the rights and welbeing of all parents and children in the UK.

SEE HERE and SEE HERE

Also the TIMES ONLINE have picked up the story.

Thank you all for the support and prayers.

In which the NSPCC attack homeschoolers, supporting the Govt. attack and homeschoolers respond.

 Mom And Kids Today I completed the Govt consultation..oops ‘review’. When it was pointed out they had broken the rules on inflicting consultations of people they changed the process to ‘review’. Of course the process is the same. If you haven’t had your say go to ONLINE ‘REVIEW’ FORM. Remember we only have until the 20th Feb to get this done.

below are a number of open letters and pieces of important information from the Facebook based group: Stop the UK Government Stigmatising Home Educators! 

For Immediate Release, 2nd February 2009

HE PARENTS WELCOME CHILDREN’S SOCIETY REPORT

The Good Childhood Inquiry by the Children’s Society will release the results of its study this week. Home educators have welcomed the review which reports that the children of Britain need more parental attention, more freedom to play, more access to the outdoors, and are harmed by junk food, peer pressure leading to consumerism and experimentation with alcohol and drugs, and the stresses of bullying, academic competition and exam anxiety.

These stresses and strains are some of the reasons why so many parents make the decision to home educate their children. Home educated children have greater familial contact and much less exposure to the negative social and academic pressures endemic in schools. They also have far more access to play and to the outdoors and are free of the rigours of constant testing and standardisation. Recent studies also show that most watch far less television than their schooled peers, and become more self-aware and community minded. [1] All of these are exactly what the Children’s Society recommends for a happy, healthy childhood and by extension, a happy, healthy society.

“When I went to school I was bullied and I didn’t get any help from the teachers. Now I’m doing home schooling, I get help if I need it and I don’t get bullied.” – H, aged 12.

“I am loved and cared for and have great fun everyday, exploring, exercising, laughing and talking!” – A, aged 11.

A ‘slanderous’ review

Home educators were angered on 19th January by the announcement by the Department for Children, Schools and Families of an Independent Review of Home Education [2], the fourth such consultation since 2005. The review was especially surprising as guidelines to Local Authorities on home education have only recently been issued as a result of previous consultations.[3] This review targets home educators as potential abusers, but has nothing to say about the well documented abuse of children within the schools system. Home education organisations have repeatedly asked for statistical evidence to back up these claims, but according to Vijay Patel of the NSPCC there is no such evidence [4] and requests continue to be ignored.

The DCSF is ignoring the problems with their over-worked, under-funded and under-trained social care workers [5] and instead is looking into adding to their workload with the monitoring of a home educating minority, justifying their stance with unsubstantiated rumour, hearsay and little else.

Criticism for the DCSF

The DCSF has been criticised for its methods from the start of this review. Home educating parents in their hundreds have decided to use FaceBook as a tool to organise their protests, contesting the rights of the DCSF to interfere with their freedom to educate at home unmolested by bodies who have a history of hostility towards them and little apparent understanding of them. Several conclusions have been reached:

The branding of home educators by this review as potential child abusers is discriminatory and incites prejudice which actively harms children and their families.

There are concerns that issuing press statements that home education may be a cover for abuse may violate Article 17 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. [6]

Article 17 says that the Government must not allow the mass media to publish things which harm children, but “the media, with Government backing, has inferred that many children are being abused by dint of the fact they are home educated,” says Techla, a home educating mother from West Yorkshire. “My children are hurt and angry at the suggestion, and at the thought that their non-HE friends will think this is the case.” Other children have also expressed their feelings that inciting suspicion against mum and dad is causing them distress.

Also, by not considering disabled children or those with Special Educational Needs the review’s consultation of Local Authorities may actually be illegal. [7]

In-house Social Services and Local Authority publications have carried letters and articles criticising home education, and reports are that memos have been circulated advising on how the Local Authorities consultation should be answered. This will have undue influence over the results of that consultation.

Many children were removed from school because of bullying, abuse, neglect, or the lack of provision of a suitable education. In many cases the Local Authorities were at best apathetic, at worst openly hostile to the needs of the child. To suggest that these children and their parents should be investigated by the very agencies that failed them is insulting and dangerous.

Home education provides a good childhood

Independent research has shown home education provides many of the qualities that the Good Childhood Inquiry finds essential to a happy, healthy childhood, and therefore to a happy, healthy society. Home educators then ask why the Government is apparently intent on the regulation of HE in the face of yet another indictment of their failing schools system. The DCSF’s attitude seems to be that childhood should be managed by the State at any cost. The conclusion seems to be that parents will necessarily abuse or neglect their children if they are not supervised. With their placing of the rights of Local Authorities above those of parents and children, as advocated in this Review of Home Education, it looks like the Children’s Society report will fall on deaf ears.

As home educators and parents we support the findings of the Inquiry as outlined above and feel we demonstrate the positive nature of many of their recommendations. Home education should be seen as evidence of a supportive, loving and nurturing home, not as a potential cover for malefactors.

Issued by the Home Educators of FaceBook

Stop the UK Government Stigmatising Home Educators!”

————–
Notes for Editors:

[1] “How Children Learn at Home” by Alan Thomas, 2007.

[2] http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/ete/homeeducation/

[3] Elective Home Education: Guidelines for Local Authorities, October 2007. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/localauthorities/_documents/content/7373-DCSF-Elective%20Home%20Education.pdf

[4] Jeremy Vine show, Radio 2, 20th January 2009:
JEREMY VINE: “Vijay, have you got any statistical base at all?”
VIJAY PATEL (NSPCC Child Protection Policy Advisor): “We… the inf… We don’t have the evidence there statistically, no.”

[5] UNISON report “Still Slipping Through The Net?” See http://www.publicservice.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=8347

[6] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm

[7] The LA questionnaire asks about children who are statemented for SEN. This ignores children with other disabilities and those which have SEN but are not statemented (parents of many home educated children with SEN prefer that they not be statemented). Government has a legal duty to consider disabled/SEN children (statemented or not) in all its documentation. http://www.dotheduty.org/

OPEN LETTER TO CRAE

Dear Sir/Madam

On January 19th, 2009, DCSF, acting on the wishes of the NSPCC and local authorities, launched a consultation (since changed to a ‘review’) on home education; their grounds for this being that they believe Home Educated children are vulnerable to abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude etc.

DCSF issued a press release to this effect which was taken up across the media with headlines along the same lines as this one in The Times newspaper:

Home education ‘can be cover for abuse and forced marriage’
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article5549380.ece

There is no evidence to suggest that Home Educated children are at an increased risk of being abused than are their schooled counterparts, in fact there is overwhelming evidence to suggest the opposite. Indeed when pressed for evidence, the NSPCC spokesperson stated on Radio 2 that they have no evidence or statistics to support their concerns.

The media, with government backing, has inferred that children are being abused by dint of the fact that they are Home Educated. Our children are hurt and angry at this suggestion, and at the thought that their non Home Educated friends will think this is the case. We believe this contravenes article 17 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, specifically:

(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.

Some of our children have written letters to you expressing their feelings about this matter, which we have collected on our Facebook discussion board, you can view them here.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/topic.php?uid=45453211491&topic=7289

On studying the 6 questions Home Educators and their children have been given to answer (the LAs have 60 by comparison!) question 6 is not qualified by a yes/no option and is proving very difficult for children to answer, and we are concerned that the children’s replies are at risk of being misinterpreted. As such we believe that DCSF has broken Article 12 of the UNCRC, which states:

Governments are to ensure that children have the right to express freely their views and to take account of children’s views. Children have the right to be heard in any legal or administrative matters that affect them.

Question 1 of the Local Authority questionnaire gives us cause for concern: it asks how many children are statemented – statementing is not common place in Home Education, although there are a number of children with autism/medical issues. We believe the DCSF has failed their statutory disability equality duty, and as such any conclusions drawn from the Local Authority responses will not take the disabled into proper consideration.

The *review* as it has now been called, is due to end on February 20th, 2009, with yet another consultation to follow on the back of it later in the year. We would greatly appreciate your speedy advice on the matters broached within this email.

Yours faithfully

Techla Wood on behalf of:
stop the UK Government stigmatising Home Educators

CHILDREN’s Open Letters to CRAE

Please can you get your children to post THEIR OWN reasons why they think that this consultation and the press coverage announcing it is wrong. We will email CRAE and ask them to read the replies. We are doing this so as not to overload CRAE’s servers, we do however suggest that you copy and email your letters to Mr Patel at the NSPCC:
vijay.patel@nspcc.org.uk
and the DCSF
Gemmaine.Walsh@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk

Dear sir or madam,
I have experienced primary and secondary school education and am now being home educated.
To put all Home Educators under the banner of ‘potential child abusers’ and furthermore to link us with forced marriage is, frankly, insulting. I believe that most of the negative views regarding Home Education coming from the media and government officials are based in a false idea of what it really is. That is to say, it is not being shut in the house all day with a child never to see the outside world, but rather to go out into the world and meet with different families, go to different paces and learn in a free way that can be tailored for each child.
Furthermore the notion that Home Education can be used as a cover for child abuse is somewhat unfounded in evidence and is not even logical. Abuse can take place just as easily around the school day as it can if the child is at home throughout, and abusive parents are surely more likely to send their children to school as to appear ‘normal’ to the community.
Yours sincerely,
Iona 15
 PinocchioThe NSPCC have been very dishonest. While in an interview on BBC Radio 2 The Jeremy Vine Show, VIjay Patel the policy adviser of the NSPCC had to admit that while the NSPCC were accusing homeschoolers of possibly abusing their children he had NO EVIDENCE to back this claim.

 

You can read a transcript of the programme HERE. As Mr. Fortune Woods has said in his video interview which I will post- this leaves homeschoolers having to defend ourselves against an allegation where we are now trying to prove a negative. I simply do not have the space to post the huge amount of disinformation that is trotted out by this heavily Government funded organisation-but if you can access Facebook take a look HERE.

 

The report on The Good Childhood Inquiry from the Children’s Society is due out today but the press have already been reporting on the findings.  The Telegraph concentrates on the lack of outdoor play and too much advertising aimed at children.

The Times Online is more indepth with a number of articles on the subject. HERE and HERE and HERE.

Government attacking homeschoolers again!

It was only December when the last consultation with the Government ended and it was agreed that provision for homeschoolers was fine and we should be left well alone. The attack last year was around the word “truancy”. The suggestion was that homeschooled children and truant children were somehow the same thing. This, of course was blasted down in flames. The leaders in the home ed community, especially spokespeople from Education Otherwise had put forward the facts about homeschooling very well and that was that.

It seems that those with the Government will stoop really low indeed to attack the homeschool community. One the one hand homeschooling is a front for FORCED MARRIAGE-not that there is ANY evidence, and then Government are quite willing to make snide assertions about abuse; again with no evidence. Even that very dodgy organisation the NSPCC are in on the homeschool bashing.

There is a consultation summary and questionnaire online which is to be completed by 2oth Feb.

While they try and persuade you to register-you don’t need to. I would print up the doc and arrange your answers and then get them typed up in one go.

The first question uses the word “safeguarding” as though home education is a bad idea already. It is a shockingly badly worded questionnaire and makes it clear they want to “monitor” us and uses “support” as a euphamism for interfere.

This is not a Government that has shown itself friendly to families or the rights of children. The snide accusation that homeschoolers are either keeping truant children or abusing our children is so dishonest it hardly makes the homeschooling community feel we can trust Big Brother does it?

If you can help us fight this-please do. Prayers will be very much appreciated.