Every home educating list, (well, all the ones I'm on anyhow) has carried strong objections to what looks like a propaganda piece for LAs. Home Educators are right to object. What more needs to be said when we hear that the researchers were teachers and the four home educating families who were selected to partake in the research were put forward by the LAs? No wonder you end up with this sort of response:
"Parents noted the benefits of local authority officers having a teaching background. A keen interest in, and a connection with, the children was considered key to the development of an effective relationship between the local authority and families. "
Whaaa? Effective for whom exactly? It might serve the authorities very well in their mission to control, but I've yet to hear of any HE family who has been bowled over by the help provided by an LA, teachers or no teachers, and even if we were to be offered all this help, we CERTAINLY don't want to HAVE to have it. The thing is, help will only come with scrutiny and this scrutiny is more than likely to actually damage learning in the situation that families feel the pressure to produce for the LA rather than attending to the specific needs of their children.
At least now we know what the LAs really want. It is out there, in its full awfulness:
"Local authority personnel's legal concerns led them to propose the following: that all parents register their intent to home educate with the local authority; that the term "efficient and suitable" full-time education be more accurately defined; and, because of the local authority's responsibility with regard to safeguarding children, a requirement for EHE children to be seen by professionals (although local authorities are responsible for safeguarding and promoting children's welfare, they do not have powers to enter homes). Other recommendations fell under the remit of monitoring and assessment and included the importance of monitoring the educational provision made for EHE children and the need for regular assessments to determine EHE children's educational progress. "
Ok, so where does all this monitoring actually stop? Perhaps we should monitor the monitors just to make sure that their learning is up to scratch. In fact, by their own argument surely they must see this as essential. Given the evidence so far presented, it is quite clear that the policy makers and the LAs haven't got a good grounding in very much at all that is pertinent here, eg: in how to undertake or read research, or in learning theory, or in the British tradition of freedom for the populace. It looks as if we must set rather a large amount of homework for marking with a final examination on the subjects of the problems of scientism and statistics, epistemology, ethics and including a large section on the reasons for the importance of freedom and the dangers of subjugation of people.
However, I personally would rather not bother. How about this idea: we will leave you alone to get on with stuff that might be useful, and you leave us alone to get on with stuff that will be useful?
Go here to lodge objections with the NFER and to provide further rather more accurate information than they've managed to seek out so far.