...which is a shame, given the excellent article by Dave Hill on home education only a month ago. However this article, 10th May, on the current DfES consultation on elective home education generates far more heat than light. Perhaps the journalist, James Meikle, had a tight deadline since it looks as if he could have done with a bit more research.
Take his first paragraph, for example:
"The government has issued its first consultation into the growing practice of home schooling to find out whether rules need to be tightened over how children are taught out of the education system. "
Hm, an ill-informed and confusing sentence, I'd say, the most obvious quibble being over the term "home schooling". Mr Meikle, the term routinely used by home educators themselves and in the consultation and proposed guidelines, is "home education" - not home schooling. (This can be seen to matter).
Secondly, is Mr Meikle completely sure that "home schooling" is a "growing practice"? I thought someone from EO had reported that new memberships were down in the last year or so. Not that EO would know whether this represented anything by way of overall numbers of HEors, so if they are not sure, and recent government-funded research into the subject suggested that no-one could be sure, I am therefore interested to know how Mr Meikle appears confident on this point.
More seriously, it isn't the first consultation about home education, since there was a consultation in 2005. OK, this 2005 consultation wasn't about tightening rules, since it was about the creation of proposed guidelines for LAs in how to deal with elective home educators. However, despite what Mr Meikle goes on to say about the intention behind this current consultation, the purpose behind the 2005 consultation is exactly the same as the current one, since the current one is not, as Mr Meikle would have it, about tightening rules, but about clarifying existing ones and presenting these in the form of guidelines for LA practice.
Confused? Yeah well, just check out the post below for information on what is really happening.