Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Will They Ever Learn?

Below - a list of organisations which asked for home educated children to be included in the scope of new guidance on sex, relationships and alcohol education:

British Association for Sexual Health and HIV: 'The needs of those educated at home should be considered. The assumption may be that they are not a high risk group, but this is not known. Can resources be provided for those home-educated?'

Central Lancashire PCT: 'Why will this not affect children and young people educated at home?'

East Sussex County Council: 'The omission of home-educated children is a concern; this cohort includes some very vulnerable children and young people. Perhaps guidance could address LEA supervisory/advisory duties for this cohort, and liaison with home educators' associations e.g. 'Education Otherwise' could be useful.'

Healthcare Commission: 'CYP not educated at home may not be covered under the elements of the guidance which is delivered but perhaps (hopefully) they will have access to provision through youth, voluntary and community services. Information for home educators could still be provided through voluntary networks. Could explain provision for 0-4 is through other channels and cite (perhaps that's for the guidance when published!)'

Jo's Trust: 'Children and young people educated at home should be covered by any guidance.'

Sex Education Forum: '"Groups not covered". It is unclear why this document would not be relevant to children educated at home.'

To every which one of these, one would say: thanks for the offer but home educating families would rather not be included. Firstly, they are almost always perfectly capable of managing this on their own without any government initiatives on the matter. They know they are responsible for managing this aspect of education. They know they can't delegate these responsibilities to some half-baked crusade in schools. Secondly, despite the fact that there is no statutory basis for enforcement of this guidance, local authorities may well try to use the guidance to pry into extremely private areas of family life.

Moves are afoot in the home educating community to try to remove the offending phrase from section 4.1.1, but should this not pan out, LAs should be aware that any attempt by them to insist upon monitoring HE families for this provision will be met with strong resistance and many a suggestion that they go and remind themselves of Protocol 1, article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights which states that:

"In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions."

6 comments:

Ruth said...

I've already written to pshe@nie.org.uk expressing my concern and asking WHY they changed the scope. Just because some 'stakeholders' asked? After all they must have had a reason to specifically exclude HE kids in the first draft.

Leo said...

I suspect we are never going to make a difference pussyfooting around the subject and using arbitrary authority (European Convention and written laws) to protect us from arbitrary authority.

Ageist laws are wrong. They are a form of descrimination. Children should not be under special censorship laws or compulsory education laws.

To accept such things is to accept children are unpersons.

Carlotta said...

I think the current law does look to be problematical, but not so much for reasons of ageism, (which I suspect only carries a second order of explanation, ageism in itself not necessarily being completely wrong...eg: it is right to assume that a new-born baby cannot walk and talk..which could be construed as a form of ageism).

I think that the current law (Section 7 of 1996 Ed Act) is a problem because it looks as if it doesn't make sense in terms of theory of knowledge...all parents are breaking this law since they cannot strictly cause a child to receive an education, any more than they can open up the minds of the child as if they are removing a lid from a bucket, and pouring in the knowledge.

In a non-anarchic state, I do believe that it is possible to argue that parents should be required to make educational provision...and this would solve your problem too, Leo, in that children themselves would not be subject to ed law.

In haste...

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go as far as saying children should have the same rights as adults because it's not reasonable to expect a four year old to have the same capability to made well informed decisions as a fourteen year old.

However in the west we really seem to have gone mad, extending childhood well past the point when our children are physically young adults and would IMO be better off being treated as such.

Leo said...

"it is right to assume that a new-born baby cannot walk and talk..which could be construed as a form of ageism"

That's not ageism. Ageism is for age what racism is for race.

Newborns are very ignorant and that prevents them from voting. You don't need to forbid them, though.

Even if education law was epistemologically correct, like for instance, "parents should not stop their children from learning" the discussing would still be on.

Authorities would say that not making a child go to school is to stop them from learning and that day to day life is not learning and blah blah blah yak yak yak.

Carlotta said...

"That's not ageism. Ageism is for age what racism is for race."

I think of ageism and racism as forms of discrimination. Of course discrimination is, in itself, not necessarily wrong. It depends on whether you discriminate in an informed manner or an uninformed manner (and of course, whether you do this fallibilistically or not).

"Even if education law was epistemologically correct, like for instance, "parents should not stop their children from learning" the discussing would still be on.
Authorities would say that not making a child go to school is to stop them from learning and that day to day life is not learning and blah blah blah yak yak yak."

The only way I could see this working is that when a parent tries to prevent learning, the state could invoke welfare laws in order to protect the child. However, in this situation, presumably welfare laws would then be applied to education, and we would be back to square one with regard to the law, I believe...unless of course, you got rid of child welfare laws too....which I think would be nigh impossible in the current legislative situation.