OK, I'm feeling a bit tetchy right now. It could be the flu, but I am pretty sure that even if I were in tip-top condition, I would be hoppingly irritated by quite a number of the statements made by local authorites in their responses to the consultation on guidance for home education. It's the potent combination of local authority ignorance, their inability to see how inequitable they would like to be and their inability to think through the consequences that really gets to me.
By way of an example, take this statement from Brighton and Hove:
" What happens if a child wants to go to school but the parent doesn’t want this? Who advocates for the child? Is the parent’s decision overriding? "
Ignorance: most home educated children are absolutely thrilled to be home educating. I personally don't know a single one who isn't. In addition, every home educating parent I know would send their child to school if the child wanted to go. They might do this reluctantly, given what they know about schools, but if the child chose this, they would go with it. I suspect therefore that the problem of a child being kept at home against their will is absolutely MINISCULE. If LA personel actually knew anything about most HE families, they would know this already.
Inability to spot the inequitable nature of their demands: If LA's really feel they must intervene in families to check where are child wants to be educated, will they ensure that children who say they don't want to go to school can be educated at home? No? Then don't demand this of the HE community, because it is clearly hugely inequitable.
Inability to think through the consequences: In setting out to ask all HEKs where they would prefer to be educated, and then presumably determining that a child must be sent to school if he says he would prefer it, LAs would be over-riding the principle of parental responsibility for education. Once that has gone, LAs would become responsible for a child's education, so for example, when a child is failed by school, that family would have a case.
Phew, actually I feel better for getting that off my chest, even if the flu will take a little longer.