Wednesday, April 12, 2006

De-Registration Furore

Anxiety remains high in UK home education communities over the issue of changes to de-registration from school. At issue: the proposed minimum two day delay in deregistration whilst the school informs the Local Education Authority of the dereg. This has been proclaimed by the DfES a cure to the alleged problem of parents withdrawing their children from school over-hastily, and will also give the LEA the opportunity to put pressure on schools not to de-reg failing or troublesome pupils.

There is much scepticism in the HE community about the reality of over-hasty school withdrawal. There certainly aren't many examples of families to be found back at the school gates the next day begging to be let in. Even in situations where families find themselves home educating reluctantly due to the failure of schools to address their needs, these families are rarely to be found asking schools who have already caused them to take drastic reluctant action, to take their children back.

From our side, it looks as if the two day delay is proposed so as provide sufficient opportunity for LEAs to put pressure on parents to return their children to school, and/or for LEAs to run a quick suitability check on families.

Of course the proposals implicitly dramatically infantilise the population - "Oooh poor little poppets, they don't know their own minds" sort of thing. The risk the ptb run with treating people like this is that people may well start to live up to their perception. I wouldn't be above suggesting to the DfES that this proposal will result in an increase in parents casually whipping their kids out of school for a couple of days here and there.

But the main point is that the law should, instead, clearly reflect what should be reality: that it is parents who are responsible for their children and this includes being responsible for their education. This proposed change in de-registration from schools alters this presumption of responsibility, firmly placing control of the life of a child within the remit of the education authorities.

Pragmatists at Education Otherwise report that it looks bad in terms of changing the minds of the ptb at the DfES. When last we heard, the DfES had received some 180 positive responses from LEAs and schools. We must get letter writing, I think. I feel a letter to Jacqui Smith (Schools Minister) coming on.


Anonymous said...

When de-registering my son from one school I remember how they seemed to think we should give the process more time. They were completely baffled by the fact that we didn't seem to trust them to resolve the issues and that we were not prepared to spend a long time trying different things first.

They don't consider how long that failing period feels like to the child, or that one might have had numerous experiences with schools failing to address issues effectively, so that an apparently hasty decision is not actually hasty at all.

Why should teachers be allowed to experiment on pupils and play with their well being? Plus, my ds did have no faith at all in the ability of adults to resolve problems which were created by the obligatory schooling in the first place. His past experience meant that he 'knew' that things were likely to be worse once there was adult intervention. You can't make a boring teacher interesting, an out of control class suddenly behave, or bullies think that they will give up just because some one tells them to.

I can imagine that particular school being one of the many to have advised authorities that more time should be given - their egos are at stake basically; and as you rightly point out they come from a system where no one is presumed to know their own mind.


Anonymous said...

De-reg Furore---Eo felt the DFES wouldn't budge on this issue ? So, now home educators are in a furore over the consequences. Your assessment of the situation has been put forth most accurately...I question, Why a small group of home-edders should be speaking/deciding critical issues for all?..but then apathy reigns supreme until "you don't know what you got til its gone." It's now time to put this issue out to the all UK citizens, as ultimately this isn't just a home-ed concern. Truthfully, though why should the DFES budge now, if it wasn't raised in the first letter?

Carlotta said...

Letters to MPs and the papers look like the only option.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading the wrong lists.
I hadn't heard about this. Does anyone know where I should go to read more about what the f is going on!
I'll write letters too, when I find out more.
(Have EO screwed up?)

Anonymous said...

Dear Dare to Know--I'm sure you can answer the previous anonymous comment...
But have EO screwed Up?
Go to and
and you will get your answer.
As I do, drop by Dare to Know,regularly...for up to date accurate info on UK home-ed and other relevant issues.. unfortunately, Rome is burning while a good portion of home-edders play the fiddle

Carlotta said...


Yes...last anon has it. The HE- consult group contains almost all the story, as does Mike FWs and the UK HE list, now moderated by Barbara et al.

Am meaning to write that letter (for DfES and Schools Minister) as and when. I see there are several attempts at it on Mike's list and the HE consult. The main thrust: that HEors object strongly to the proposed minimum two day delay in deregging (and also that many are very cross with EO for not representing this anger more immediately).