Friday, April 14, 2006

First Draft Letter re Pupil Registration Proposals

Dear...,

re: The proposed new Pupil Registration Regulations.

I am writing to register my concern about the above proposal to insert a delay between parents notifying a school that they are home educating and the child's name being removed from the register. It may be of interest that I am not alone in these concerns. My anxieties below are either mirrored exactly or are very similar to the views held my a large number of home educators.

Primarily at issue for me is the de facto derogation of the duty of responsibility on the part of the parent/guardian for the provision of education for their child. Not only should this duty be considered a natural one, but it is also designated as such in Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act. A delay in deregistration of a child from school effectively rescinds that duty since it removes the power of parental determination in the matter of their child's education.

So whilst such a proposal may, on the surface, appear trivial, I believe that it does in fact have significant symbolic implications. Our children would clearly become the responsibility and the property of the state.

Further and very unfortunately, I believe these proposed changes will not only impact symbolically. Despite assurances to the contrary, received via communications from home education support charity Education Otherwise, that the DfES holds that local authorities have no duty or right to prejudge whether the parent will provide a suitable education, we are very aware that even under the current circumstances of immediate de-registration upon demand, there is frequent abuse of power by schools and LEAs. Pressure is often applied to get parents to return their child to school or to conform to strict curricula demands. LEAs run checks on parents and send out Education Welfare Officers almost immediately to families who may have already suffered extensively at the hands of an insensitive system. Children may, for example, have been appallingly bullied. These families do not need further bullying intervention by the authorities.

How much worse will this situation become when there is apparent leeway for the authorities to behave in such ways?

Home education is equal in statute with education in school. This fact must remain abundantly clear in law, particularly given that it is already so regularly abused. That a delay in deregistration from school is being proposed when a delay is not seen as necessary in the case of a transfer to another school suggests that the government is not acting in good faith when it professes to take home education seriously.

Yours sincerely,



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Anyone out there with the necessary energy, do let me know what you think and do use, copy, alter as you see fit!

Update: Slightly improved version sent to: david.fletcher@dfes.gsi.gov.uk and peter.baldwinson@dfes.gsi.gov.uk.

3 comments:

JoVE said...

Very well written and clear. I think the comparison to the situation when a child transfers to another school is apt and seems to come into your letter as almost an afterthought. I'd put more emphasis on this, maybe. I'm also not sure how the bullying thing will play. On the one hand, I think it is often a reason for home schooling but I certainly wouldn't want to suggest that it was the main or only one. Often it is just that the system/curriculum doesn't suit a particular child for whatever reason (including having a philosophy of education quite different from that which underpins the state system). You letter would not be weaker for leaving out those couple of sentences.

Good luck.

4 girls and 3 boys said...

Well put

Carlotta said...

Thanks 4G&3b, and good points, Jove - I agree with both and will adjust accordingly.