Ok, peeps, stay with me on this one! I do know how boring I've become on this issue, and I also personally know how very easy it is to get complacent with regard to the proposed Elective Home Education Guidelines. You know, they don't look so bad - they at least read as if they could be used to maintain the status quo, even if they won't actively ensure against bad practice by LAs. So generally, phew, we can sit back, make another tea, (yes, my de-caffination regime isn't going so well), pat ourselves on the back and not worry too much. After all, it might be a terrible chore to have to respond, since it would probably take quite a bit of a nuanced argument to improve upon the guidelines as they currently stand.
The thing is, I do think it would be worth putting our responses in soon, (well before the 31st July deadline), not least because there is good reason to believe, (from a number of sources), that LAs are doing just that, and that rather unsurprisingly, their responses are frequently very negative about the proposed guidelines. It is after all, pretty easy just to tick NO, NO, NO to a load of boxes, and then put in a complete counter-argument in the comments section. Problem with this is that these kind of responses are the ones that are currently informing the DfES.
The other problem we have is that in responding to the guidelines, rather than responding to the LA's responses, we risk not putting up the counter-arguments to the LA's possible proposals to the DfES, so for example, the DfES may be hearing that all HE children should be reaching such and such a standard by such and such an age and doing this or that curriculum. The DfES may never get to hear or understand why such measures would be so counter-productive for many HE families and may well end up thinking "Oh, what a good idea, let all HE children be reading book 14 of the Oxford Reading Tree by the time they're six."
So, my thinking is this: let's get those responses in now. They don't have to be perfect or represent anyone's views other than your own. Indeed, it would probably help if you were to personalise it by telling the DfES how HE has suited your children, or how you have suffered mistreatment at the hands of LAs and how you need the guidelines to protect against this mistreatment, or indeed, how your children would suffer if the guidelines were made more stringent. Or if your LA is exemplary, tell the DfES about it. Let them have that model of good practice. Show them that this is possible and that other LAs could conform to this model to the benefit of everyone.
Let's make the reality and success of the personalised learning that is HE vivid to them there at the top and the sooner the better.