Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More on Responding

Thanks for the argument about the wisdom or otherwise of responding to the consultation in the comments section below. It was perhaps long overdue and am sorry not to have included arguments either way previously. Despite not airing it here, I didn't just slip into responding without weighing the pros and cons and without discussing it with those who were better informed than I on the thinking in the DfES. TBH, I do remain unsure as to what to do, but on balance have decided in favour of getting HEors to respond and encouraging them to demonstrate to the DCSF that they understand the significance of messing with parental responsibility for education of children.

I would bill this as a killer argument, and one that if properly understood should mean that the DCSF will drop any attempt to monitor for reasonable progress or for whatever other standards they can dream up.

There are other possible arguments too. Dani decries her response as a boring post. Perhaps it's just me, but I was gripped! She discusses a number of issues I didn't stress fully in my response, and which can also be fleshed out as killer arguments of wide significance. eg:

"I welcome the emphasis in paragraph 2.7 on the fact that local authorities only have a duty to act if they have good reason to believe that parents are not providing a suitable education. While many local authorities currently believe they should make enquiries of all home educating families they are aware of, this practice goes well beyond what they are required to do by law.

"Unless my behaviour gives cause for concern, I am not routinely questioned as to whether I am breaking the law. For example, I do not have to persuade local authority staff, on a routine basis, that I do not violently assault my partner. It is presumed by society that I am innocent of this crime, unless proved guilty.

"As the law stands, I am due the same courtesy, as a person who is presumed to be abiding by the law which states that I must provide an efficient, full-time education, suitable to the age, aptitude and ability of each of my children."

Whilst I am not sure that this argument could be fleshed out as pertinent to the principle of the presumption of innocence, (since according to this principle there is no reason why a person may not be investigated for committing a crime, but merely that in law one's status is innocent until proved guilty), it certainly does seem to have a bearing upon the idea that we should not be subjected to unwarranted levels of personal intrusion, since at what point would one stop? If you investigate HEors for not educating their children when there is no reason to suspect that they are failing in this duty, why not set up security cameras all over everyone's home? That, I think, should be the logical consequence, since people have all manner of rights under EU law which it would be possible to infringe in the home, and for which we don't routingely investigate.

37 comments:

Carlotta said...

JFT...an awful thought has penetrated the haze here....Am not accessing emails easily temporarily, and we are not where we thought we would be right now, ie: Are neither in Harrow nor at home. We are at GS's instead. If necessary, could you get GS's mobile number off JF?

Have every intention of sorting this out by tomorrow.

Hope all is well.

Love Cxx

33, 452 said...

Hi Carlotta,

Why don't you make a short blog post to speak to this person, in case they're not reading comments? And pin it at the top until you manage to get in touch?

I hope you get the situation sorted out. :)

Adele

Anonymous said...

Hmm..

Should I still send the Ed Phil or use the innocence argument? Maybe both?

Gill said...

LOL! Let us know when you've worked out the answer...?

Carlotta said...

Thanks Adele,

Sorted, though still without mobile and access to email!

Leo said...

I wrote in the EO list about this but it didn't come through.

I have noticed that this consultation is a bit absurd.

Shouldn't authorities/ public servants know their job before they take it? Aren't they obliged to know the law? Why would they need guidelines? If they are abusing power and acting outside the law they should be fired.

More ridiculous is the consultation itself seems ignorant of the law.

Can you imagine a consultation on guidelines for policemen adding things like "you cannot search people's homes without a warrant but an informal knock on the door and questioning the person's honest intentions is ok".

33, 452 said...

Hi Carlotta,

Glad you got it sorted! :)

Hi Leo,

It's not the consultation aspect of this that's ridiculous, it's the ignorance itself.

Responding to the consultation is kind of like going to see a GP, telling them your symptoms, and then saying "Now... I suggest you start by taking my temperature, and then, perhaps, you could listen to my chest? No, you can put those back now, bandages really aren't appropriate for a chest infection."

We're having to explain procedure for them, instead of vice versa, and, yep, that's ridiculous. And, yep, those acting outside of the law should be fired. But who's going to fire them, if their superiors don't understand the law either?

It seems we have the job of educating, not only our children, but also LA staff, the DCFS, etc etc And it is, indeed, ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting: "As the law stands, I am due the same courtesy, as a person who is presumed to be abiding by the law which states that I must provide an efficient, full-time education...

The presumption of innocence is one of the cornerstones of this democracy (or at least it used to be) and so, this is not at all about 'courtesy', but about your fundamental rights, hard fought for, natural, and ancient. Workers at your local authority cannot come to your house to ask you questions about anything whatsoever. They have to have a good reason to do so, and if they do, then they need to prepare a formal case against you. If they are not prepared to do this, then you have nothing to answer, period.

People in this country seem have no idea about what their rights are; they blithely accept that the local authority can enter their home uninvited and question them, and some of people even welcome it.

Some of them rail about how everyone should be forbidden from punishing their children, but in the same breath complain bitterly about the control freakery of government and how they 'just want to be left alone'. They are unable to connect the dots, unable to see the wider context, to extrapolate; they are the 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' brigade (although their numbers are dwindling fast as the penny drops).

There is a great deal of confusion and woolly thinking in the UK about rights, and now the direct result of this is showing up in every corner of life in the UK, from CCTV everywhere to ID cards right down to the dfes proposing that they can come into your house, interrogate you, determine your suitability as parents and force you to send your children to school if you do not measure up - and astonishingly, some people, "cant see anything wrong with the proposals".

Bloodthirsty wolves have taken control of this country, and they have smelled the gentle nature of its people and correctly calculated that this flock of sheep is for the taking. That is why these brazen, outrageous, anti-family, anti-democracy proposals can be made without the slightest bit of hesitation. The British have (hopefully temporarily) lost their spirit, their way and their common sense.

And as far as "educating LA staff, the DCFS" goes, nothing is more educational than a vigorous lawsuit personally directed at the people crossing the line - the threshold to my property.

33, 452 said...

You again! ;)

"Bloodthirsty wolves..."

PMSL!!

Sorry, but you do go for the dramatic jugular, don't you? [giggles]

"And as far as "educating LA staff, the DCFS" goes, nothing is more educational than a vigorous lawsuit personally directed at the people crossing the line - the threshold to my property."

Yep. I was saying on Gill's blog, if an LA acted unlawfully towards me, they would find themselves the subject of a lawsuit.

33, 452 said...

However, LAs actually *do* have the legal right to make informal inquiries as far as I am aware.

And, yes, we can simply refuse to answer them at all, if they are not bringing a formal case against us. And, if everyone took this path, then it may just lead us somewhere!

But there will always be people who *don't* take that path, so LAs *will* take it to court if a family refuses to answer their inquiries. And, (though I, myself, would enjoy it and would take great pleasure in besting them in court!) most families would find this extremely stressful, and I see no reason why they should have to make themselves political martyrs.

33, 452 said...

Though, of course, there is a great difference between "informal inquiries" made by post, and "informal inquiries" made on the doorstep. IMO, the latter should never be tolerated.

33, 452 said...

Sorry for the multiple posts! I've just been looking at the summary of the law on the EO website again...

It seems that there is no legal right for LAs to make informal inquiries, nor is there any law that stops them from doing so. In a test case it was stated "reasonable" for LAs to make informal inquiries, and also that parents have no legal duty to respond to these.

However, LAs *do* have a right in law to serve a *formal* notice for this information which parents are legally obliged to satisfy within the specified period. If they fail to satisfy this, then it's court.

So it's up to individual families whether they would rather answer the informal notice or wait for a legal one to be served. If they don't provide the information informally, they will have to provide it formally.

And (other than the extra hassle for LAs) I see no advantage in pressing for people to wait to be served with a formal notice - if enough people did this, then formal notices would probably replace informal inquiries in standard pratice. This would lead to a lot of fear, far more court cases, and people having to satisfy their LA *to deadlines specified by the notice*.

So, all things considered, answering informal inquiries seems prudent.

Anonymous said...

So, all things considered, answering informal inquiries seems prudent.

But what this means is that whenever someone, whoever it might be, levels a false or baseless accusation about you, you are obliged to answer the LA; this is rather like the French legal system where a 'Convocation' (a special form of letter) can be sent to you, saying that you have committed a criminal act, requiring that you prove that you are innocent. This is completely backwards to our legal system, where you are presumed to be innocent, not presumed to be guilty.

If you say that you are providing properly for your children's education, it is up to the LA to PROVE that you are not. They simply cannot assert that you are not and then force you to submit to interrogation. That is a fact.

It is in no way prudent to submit to these people. What they all need is a short sharp shock to make them realize that they are personally liable for leveling baseless accusations against parents. They need to be taken to court and made to pay your expenses. Once they are chastened, you will find that they are very reluctant to go down that route with any other parents.

So, I couldn't disagree more with you. It is far more prudent to nip them in the bud, rather than let that weed of their arrogance grow until it covers every aspect of you and your children's lives, sucking the very life out of the soil in which you and your family grow and prosper; the soil of a Free Britain.

33, 452 said...

You know, I have a vision of you sat in a rocking chair on a large front porch, with a straw in-between your teeth, and a rifle grasped between your hands, watching out for the government to come and get you...

I have never disagreed with the "innocent until proven guilty" aspect of this; it was a point that I raised quite in-depth in my response to the consultation.

But, if people don't provide "reasonable evidence" that they are providing "an efficient and suitable education" then they will end up being taken to court. And, though I'd happily do it myself, I would never ask anyone else to play political martyr in this way - that just isn't fair. A person's primary duty is the well-being of their own children, and if responding to LA inquiries prevents a court case that would stress the entire family, then they have every right to pursue this course of action. Play politics with your own life if you want to (I may well join you in the stance yet!) but don't expect anyone else to. *That* would be unreasonable.

33, 452 said...

Regarding the burden of proof, the onus is, of course, on them to prove guilt, not ourselves to prove innocence - this is something I find myself constantly telling people.

*But* it doesn't provide a case against "reasonable inquiries", unfortunately.

And you would sue the LA for making reasonable inquiries? You would lose. And you would probably cause great harm to the cause by having a test case go against you!

I would sue if they over-stepped the law (demanded visits to the point where it became harrassment, turned up on my doorstep after I had refused to see them, used misinformation to threaten my family, engaged in acts of intimidation etc)I would sue where it is *clear* in the law that they are acting unlawfully.

But to sue because they take you to court wrongly, after you wouldn't answer their inquiries? You'd lose. Whoever presided over the case would simply say that this could have been avoided if you had provided the information directly to the LA instead of the court. They would say that you had been "willfully obstructive" and the LA had acted reasonably.

You'd lose and the LAs across the country would sieze on the victory to bully others into sending more info than they actually have to.

It would be a pretty spectacular own goal. I hope that neither you nor anyone else would seriously try anything so foolish.

Anonymous said...

You know, I have a vision of you sat in a rocking chair on a large front porch, with a straw in-between your teeth, and a rifle grasped between your hands, watching out for the government to come and get you...

You have a vivid imagination, too bad you cant put it to good use!

But, if people don't provide "reasonable evidence" that they are providing "an efficient and suitable education" then they will end up being taken to court.

See what I mean?

No one has the right to force you to prove that you are not a wrongdoer / educating correctly. You just dont get it.

If they have no evidence that you are failing to provide a good education, then they have no right to question you. They have to have 'probable cause' (in a democracy) in order to search your house or ask you questions. Unsubstantiated allegations are not sufficient to trigger an investigation, and in a democracy, they can be challenged and the people doing the misguided investigating censured.

And, though I'd happily do it myself, I would never ask anyone else to play political martyr in this way - that just isn't fair. A person's primary duty is the well-being of their own children, and if responding to LA inquiries prevents a court case that would stress the entire family, then they have every right to pursue this course of action. Play politics with your own life if you want to (I may well join you in the stance yet!) but don't expect anyone else to. *That* would be unreasonable.

This is all nonsense and a diversion from the point. We (or at least I) am talking only about a principle, and what will happen if you do not apply it. I have said nothing about telling people what to do; stay on topic!

*But* it doesn't provide a case against "reasonable inquiries", unfortunately.

There is nothing in law called 'reasonable enquiries'. This is fantasy. You are obviously not a lawyer.

And you would sue the LA for making reasonable inquiries? You would lose. And you would probably cause great harm to the cause by having a test case go against you!

You cant have it both ways. You cannot on the one hand say that one cannot ask other people to stand up for their rights because it is 'unreasonable', and then in the same breath say that individuals should not fight for their rights singly because doing so might damage some nebulous notion you name 'the cause'.

I would sue if they over-stepped the law (demanded visits to the point where it became harrassment, turned up on my doorstep after I had refused to see them, used misinformation to threaten my family, engaged in acts of intimidation etc)I would sue where it is *clear* in the law that they are acting unlawfully.

You have to get a lawyer to determine that; what you 'feel' or 'think' is irrelevant. Only your rights and the law count, and you know neither.

But to sue because they take you to court wrongly, after you wouldn't answer their inquiries? You'd lose.

Ummm come again? if someone takes you to court wrongly, you sue them AND WIN.

It would be a pretty spectacular own goal. I hope that neither you nor anyone else would seriously try anything so foolish.

The only own goal is to follow the lemmings over the cliff face. Thankfully there are free countries where they have legal defense funds and clear unambiguous rights so that no matter how many lemmings there are, no matter how many sheep there are that are terrified of their servants, the LAs, you can assert your rights and know exactly what your position is, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Might be time to move there methinks.

Judging by the responses to this consultation, the dfes will have a hard time publishing something resembling the form of the draft. Even if they have the gall to do so, nothing will change because this is only guidance and not new law.

33, 452 said...

Firstly, check the summary of the law on the EO website. As I already said here, there is a test case that, effectively, gave LAs the right to make informal inquiries. (Phillips v Brown, Divisional Court [20 June 1980])

Secondly, if you ignore their informal inquiries, and they then serve a formal notice on you requiring information, and you ignore that too, then they would *not* be taking you to court *wrongly*. That's the point.

They have the right under law to issue you with formal notice to provide information. If you fail to satisfy that formal notice, *you* are in breach of the law and they are legally quite right to take you to court. (Of course, they have no *moral* right to do so, but they do have a *legal* one).

If you don't like the law as it stands, then fight to get it changed. But simply pretending that it says something different to what it actually does, isn't going to get you anywhere.

Thirdly, you are suggesting that it is a matter of principle to go to court. This is what is unkindly termed "moral blackmail", and that, my dear, is most certainly a form of "telling people what to do".

And your "principle" is flawed; I hope you are now able to see this.

33, 452 said...

"They have to have 'probable cause' (in a democracy) in order to search your house or ask you questions."

Erm... I think you're talking about the *police*. And they'd need more than probable cause to search your home; they'd need a warrant.

And the LA aren't the police. The LA don't have the right to search your home *at all*.

Different laws apply to different bodies of people.

TV licensing, for example, has every legal right to come to your door and ask you questions whether they have "probable cause" or not. You, of course, have the right to refuse to answer their questions, and slam the door in their faces. But you wouldn't get very far trying to sue them for having asked!

Now, before you try to tell me that LAs are not TV license inspectors, may I point out that this is precisely the point I am making? Different regulatory bodies have different duties and different rights.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, check the summary of the law on the EO website. As I already said here, there is a test case that, effectively, gave LAs the right to make informal inquiries. (Phillips v Brown, Divisional Court [20 June 1980])

Case law can be made that overturns previous decisions. If you are represented properly this can happen; the law is not frozen in crystal. Furthermore, you have misrepresented Phillips v Brown:

In Phillips v Brown, Lord Donaldson said:
Of course such a request is not the same as a notice under s 37 (1) of the Education Act 1944 [now s 437 (1) of the Education Act 1996] and the parents will be under no duty to comply. However it would be sensible for them to do so. If parents give no information or adopt the course … of merely stating that they are discharging their duty without giving any details of how they are doing so, the LEA will have to consider and decide whether it ‘appears’ to it that the parents are in breach of s 36 [now s 7 of the Education Act 1996].


It clearly says "LEA will have to consider and decide whether it ‘appears’ to it that the parents are in breach of s 36 [now s 7 of the Education Act 1996]." this in no way gives (the) , "...LAs the right to make informal inquiries." as you state. It only says that they will have to consider, and does not confer any powers to them as you assert. They would indeed, be taking you to court wrongly, and that is that.

In order to make a determination on wether or not you were in breach of s 437 (1) of the Education Act 1996 ("the act") they would have to provide evidence. Anecdotes are insufficient, and they cannot interrogate a child a child or a parent to do so. Any lawyer worth his salt would be able to defend this successfully. The problem up to now is that there has not been a family with sufficient means to do the job correctly. This will change as more wealthy parents become HEers.

"They have the right under law to issue you with formal notice to provide information. If you fail to satisfy that formal notice, *you* are in breach of the law and they are legally quite right to take you to court."

That is not correct.

Secondly, if you ignore their informal inquiries, and they then serve a formal notice on you requiring information, and you ignore that too, then they would *not* be taking you to court *wrongly*. That's the point.

No, it is still wrong, and that is why it needs to be vigorously challenged should they dare to try it. Caving into them like a sheep is the worst thing you can do, it merely serves to embolden them.

Thirdly, you are suggesting that it is a matter of principle to go to court. This is what is unkindly termed "moral blackmail", and that, my dear, is most certainly a form of "telling people what to do".

I am saying that no decent person gives in to this sort of thing. Everyone is free to respond in any way that they want and to take the consequences, but do not say that hot is cold and up is down and expect to get away with it....My dear.

You do not know the law, and you have no means to interpret case-law. The worst thing in the world, other than a person who cannot cook trying to be a chef is a person who is not a lawyer giving legal opinions.

Both of them will end up making you puke.

33, 452 said...

You are misreading what has been said, both here and on the EO site, and you are getting confused between informal inquiries and formal notice.

Is your confusion a deliberate ploy to obscure the issue? Or is your earlier claim to "superior intelligence" as flawed as your "it is right to take 'em to court for asking questions" principle?

"It clearly says "LEA will have to consider and decide whether it ‘appears’ to it that the parents are in breach of s 36 [now s 7 of the Education Act 1996]." this in no way gives (the) , "...LAs the right to make informal inquiries." as you state. It only says that they will have to consider, and does not confer any powers to them as you assert. They would indeed, be taking you to court wrongly, and that is that."

[Sighs]

The right to informal inquiries precedes the "LEAs shall have to decide..."

The point made by Lord Donaldson, is that a person has no duty to respond to informal inquiries, and that *the LA* shall then have to decide whether a person's refusal to do so gives the *appearance* that they are not providing an education.

If they think it does, they can then serve a *formal* notice. This right is enshrined in section 437 Education Act 1996. It is this that you have a legal duty to respond to.

"That is not correct."

Yes, it is.

"No, it is still wrong, and that is why it needs to be vigorously challenged should they dare to try it."

It is wrong morally. It is correct legally.

"The worst thing in the world, other than a person who cannot cook trying to be a chef is a person who is not a lawyer giving legal opinions.

Both of them will end up making you puke."

Then, I would advise you to stop being such a person. You don't want to get nauseous every time you walk past mirrors, after all. ;)

33, 452 said...

To spell it out even more clearly for you:

The Education Act 1996 gives LAs the right to serve a formal notice asking for information about your educational provision, which you have to comply with within a specified amount of time.

The Phillips v Brown, Divisional Court case states that it is "reasonable" for LAs to make inquiries about educational provision, and that parents have no legal obligation to respond to these inquiries, but it would be sensible for them to do so.

Further to this, the Phillips v Brown, Divisional Court case also states that whether a person's non-compliance with these informal inquiries makes it appear that they are not providing an education is a decision for LAs to make.

If LAs think that it does give this appearance, they can then utilise the powers granted to them under the section 437 of the Education Act 1996 (which, from the chronology is, presumably, a rewrite of an earlier act).

Is that any clearer?

Anonymous said...

Now from a neutral source:

Some home educators have recently become rather worked up about the landmark case of Phillips v Brown (20 June 1980, unreported, Divisional Court). They have even considered telephoning Lord Donaldson to complain about his “bad judgment”! What is all the fuss about?

School is not compulsory. Education is, and until Phillips v Brown there was an unresolved contradiction in the duties of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) under the relevant legislation. On the one hand, they must ensure that each child receives suitable education (then s 37(1) of the 1944 Education Act, now s 437(1) of the 1996 Act); on the other hand, the Act entitles them to take action only “if it appears” that the child isn't receiving a suitable education. But how can they “ensure” anything without taking any action?

A home educating father, Phillips, had refused to give the LEA any information when they contacted him and argued in court that since they therefore knew nothing about his son's education, it could not have “appeared to them” that he was in breach of his s 36 duty (now section 7 of the 1996 Act) to cause his child to receive suitable education.

Interpreting terms in a commonsense way, one cannot logically fault Phillips's argument. But law does not always give the same meanings to terms as everyday English – and whatever Judge Donaldson had decided, he would have had to re-interpret something. For instance, if Phillips's argument had succeeded, anyone wishing to evade their legal duty to educate could have merely refused to give any information to the LEA and the LEA would have been unable to do their “ensuring” duty. In effect, education would no longer have been compulsory.

Do I hear you all shouting “hooray”? I sympathise, but I think that would be a mistake. To avoid confusion, let me stress that I am implacably opposed to compulsory education, whether at school or otherwise (which is why I founded Taking Children Seriously). Nevertheless, universal compulsory education currently has overwhelming popular support as well as endorsement from almost every sphere of intellectual life. Every Education Act since 1870 has clearly intended to place upon parents a substantive duty to educate their children. Therefore, if it were ever found that some legal loophole made that duty vacuous or unenforceable, Parliament would rush to plug the loophole before you can say “tough love”. And it is hard to imagine how legislation with such an intention could possibly make life easier for home educators.

Donaldson's masterful judgment in Phillips v Brown spared us that necessity. On the one hand, he laid down clear limits to LEA powers which are extremely positive for home educators, giving a list of three things the parent can do – either provide evidence “that it could not have appeared to the LEA that the parent was in breach of his s 36 duty, or ... that it was expedient that the child should attend school...”; or they could bring evidence to show that the child is being properly educated. And the court is entitled to override the LEA's judgement about this, even though the Act refers to how “it appears” to the LEA. On the other hand, Donaldson reinterpreted “if it appears” so that it no longer contradicts LEAs' other duty. He said that even if there is no evidence, an LEA is entitled to write to a parent informally asking for information. If they do not receive any, they may (but need not) regard that as evidence that the education is insufficient.

http://www.fitz-claridge.com/node/15

and there you have it.

"They MAY but NEED NOT regard that as evidence that the education is insufficient". There are no new powers conferred here.

If you were to go to court over this, you could use this judgement to say that there is no reason why the LA should come to the conclusion that the child in question is not being educated properly. The LA would then have to provide evidence that such was the case.

Mirrors don't talk back by the way.

33, 452 said...

I'm sorry but I will *not* read something from this source.

As soon as I got to the paragraph where the identity is disclosed I ceased reading.

(And before you cry "ad hominem!" - Questioning the validity of the argument you quote, on grounds of its source/author would, indeed, be ad hominem. And I have no intention of commiting this fallacy. Rather I am simply excerising my right not to read something. Out of deference to Carlotta, I shall not go into my reasons for this here, but I am happy to start a post on my own blog where this can be discussed, if you wish to hear them.)

I get the gist though, and it ties in with your earlier point that test cases can be over-turned.

I am happy to concede that point, but none of this changes the fact that you were wrong to call my accurate interpretation of the law as "fantasy".

I skipped the rest of the quote to get back to where you write, but caught the following sentence:

"They MAY but NEED NOT regard that as evidence that the education is insufficient". And your assertion that "There are no new powers conferred here".

I never claimed there were new powers. The right to serve a formal notice is in the Education Act 1996, not test cases.

As to *may* - exactly! They *may*. They *may* do that. They have the right to do that. It's perfectly legal for them to do that. Etc Etc

So, how do you think that you would have a case to sue them for doing something that they *may* do?

If legally they *may* assume this appears that a person is not providing an education, then they are doing nothing legally wrong in making this assumption and taking the person to court. So you cannot sue them for it.

In this sentence you have pretty much proved my point completely.

Now we have agreed that the law does, indeed, say that LAs may make this assumption, the next question, is how to change this?

Anonymous said...

Not only do you not know the law, but you do not know the English language.

I still like you however. :)

33, 452 said...

"Not only do you not know the law, but you do not know the English language."

Facetious introspection:

Do I bite and ask why I don't know the English language...? Or do I simply assert otherwise? Is the burden of proof on me to demonstrate that I do, or on the other party to demonstrate that I don't? What principle should I follow here?

Slightly more serious (but with hints of facetiousness still creeping in) introspection:

Well... I have a habit of putting commas where they don't belong (I've, no idea, why, I do, that,!,)and my spelling leaves a lot to be desired... Plus I keep editing sentences and neglecting to delete words from prior to the edit (which causes some rather "creative" phraseology at times!) but, aside from that, the assertion is completely wrong!

:D

"I still like you however. :)"

Objection! Irrelevant. ;)

Anonymous said...

Or do I simply assert otherwise? What principle should I follow here?

You educate otherwise, so assert otherwise. Its obvious!

Objection! Irrelevant.

Overruled: Hostile Witness.

33, 452 said...

Hehehe! :D

Well, well, well, it seems you do have a sense of humour after all! :P

Carlotta said...

Thanks for the debate, peeps. Great to thrash this one out yet again!

Anonymous said...

Sigh. May I get competent advice on this matter? Should I send the educational philosophy or not?

33, 452 said...

Depends whether you want to go to court or not, doesn't it?

If you're confident to fight a court case and would enjoy the challenge of that, don't send it. If, on the other hand, you want to simply get the LA off your back as quickly and easily as possible, then send the ed phil.

It's your personal choice.

Anonymous said...

I said competent.

33, 452 said...

And that's exactly what you got. :)

Carlotta said...

"May I get competent advice on this matter? Should I send the educational philosophy or not? "

Sorry, anon. I thought the question was ironic.

I couldn't possibly make any claims to competency, (perhaps you should try EO on this), but I would hazard a guess that Adele is right, ie: if your aim is to satisfy the LA about your own personal educational provision, you are more likely to achieve this with the ed phil.

The innocence argument would be better used in debates over principle with DfES and in collective action with the voting peeps in LAs.

This because LA Ed Officers are likely to be motivated by fear rather than reason, and are therefore less likely to be swayed by overarching arguments about state intrusion, rights to privacy, presumption of innocence, etc, whereas the DfES have access to legal advice and do have to be subject to their reasoning, which would make them take innocence arguments more seriously. LA top dogs who you are likely to meet with if you get together with other HEors in your area, are less likely than their juniors to be motivated entirely by fear and are more likely, through being more directly answerable to the DfES and their voters, to take innocence arguments seriously.

Just my take.

Leo said...

Adele, don't reply to me.

Carlotta,

The only official EO person ever to offer help was Fiona Nicholson and she advised me to put more detail and real examples in my philosophy, which is something that would betray our right to family privacy and that I think I should not do.

Even general examples seem to too much and I've been considering taking them off and leave the philosophy as succint as possible.

Since the law is vague, how much I convince the local authorities seems to only depend on their own educational philosophy and my social position.

If a philosophy can be written in a way that it persuades *any* reasonable person that a suitable education is taking place I would be very surprised, since it's a small amount of people who are truly persuaded that autonomous education works and even smaller those who actually defend it with the right arguments in the UK (a bit fat zero).

33, 452 said...

Leo,

I have as much right to comment here as anyone else. If a point is raised that I wish to answer, I shall answer it regardless of who raises it. I'm sorry if this displeases you.

I hope you get the LA situation sorted out to your satisfaction.

Adele

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as rights to comment in a personal blog )or any Internet site) it's a privilege under the discretion of the owner.

33, 452 said...

That's all I meant - that I am no more restricted than anyone else is.

Well, not *yet* anyway... Though I suppose it's more than possible that Carlotta might start getting sick of me soon!