Sunday, March 08, 2009

Poll re HEks Views

Please find above a poll to find out how home educated children feel about seeing LA personnel. I have repeated the poll six times so that it is possible for each family to register a vote for each child. Do let me know if there is anyone out there who needs more than six votes.

PLEASE NOTE, whilst the poll is active, newer posts can be found below.

23 comments:

Debs said...

Very interesting results so far - most don't want to see LA personnel. When the poll is finished I think I'll forward the results to my LA - in their consult response they seemed concerned that HE be the choice of the child aswell as the parent, and they were also asking for the law to be changed so that home visits with the child present were compulsory - and this poll indicates that such a change in law would be against the child's wishes.

Debs said...

Lincolnshire LA's response, in case you're interested:

http://tryingtorelax.blogspot.com/2009/03/lincolnshire-las-response-to-he-review.html

I have written to the LA and Graham Badman pointing out some of the contradictions and misunderstandings of the law. :)

Carlotta said...

Thanks for the easy Lincs link, Debs. Very useful.

dottyspots said...

Hmmmmm, can I add for my boys, one said that he did not want to, but felt he *had* to (despite assurances from me that he was under no obligation), but bearing in mind the unpleasantness of our experience with the LA when we moved here, I think he was desperate just to make them go away.

Ds2 says specifically that 'he doesn't care', *not* 'does not mind' - he just wanted me to make that clear for him *sigh* :)

Anonymous said...

the missing poll answer fits for us:

child is unable to articulate how they would feel about meeting an LA inspector, since they don't have the language skills to comprehend such an abstract concept as "what would you feel about a stranger coming into our home to judge our family life?" but parent's brst guess is that it wouldn't go down well.

suspect that quite a lot of parents on the HE-Special list would be answering with something like that.

Carlotta said...

Hi D,

My feeling would be for your DS who doesn't want to meet with them, but feels he has to, is that I would tick the third answer "doesn't want to see LA personnel", for the reason that I am hoping to gather the uncoerced views of children, the views that represent what they would really, really want in an ideal world.

And it is great to see that all answers are being ticked. I don't want the poll to be biased, if I can possibly help it.

Carlotta said...

and re special needs and inability to articulate...am in real dilemma about this one, but if parents can honestly say that they know for certain how their child would react when confronted by LA personnel, and the child is unable to articulate their feelings in language, then I think we must accept this as the honest voice of the child.

It is important though that in every other situation children be consulted on this.

Leo said...

I fear that they might make the argument that children don't always complain where they are abused, so their opinions cannot be taken fully seriously.

Carlotta said...

Yes, I guess that this complaint may be applied equally to every other situation where the voice of the child is sought. Indeed a broad criticism of any poll is that those polled may not be giving honest answers, but is usually deemed to give you some sort of indication as to the way the cookie crumbles.

I do feel though that we can defend this poll on the grounds that a huge number of HE children are known to be given genuine choices, (unlike most children whose choices are limited, and whose thinking then reflects this in the answers they give to similar polls.)

Ruth said...

Well no prizes for guessing which answer my lot ticked - they hate LA people coming round andknow this from experience as it has happened to them so the busybodies cannot say "how do they know they wouldn't like one of our nice ladies visiting?". I wonder if the view of the schooled child is as important when it comes to their choice of education? I cannot imagine a schooled child is ask if they would rather be HE LOL or a parent under scrutiny cos they chose school for their child. Seems asking children their opinions only works one way. Hmm this turning into a comments box rant so I will shut up.

Saracen said...

My dd said she is happy to see LA personnel, so I ticked that answer. But it is a theoretical answer, because I've never allowed it to happen. Her answer is really based on the fact that she would love to be the centre of attention for an hour or two. I am pretty sure she would dislike the experience even if we had the good luck to be visited by a sympathetic person. She doesn't like to be judged, and takes it to heart when judgement comes from someone "in authority." I think this would have quite an effect on her self-esteem.

I'm not convinced that it's all that enlightening to canvas the opinions of people (especially quite young people) on an experience they've never had. Even if they have been visited by LA staff, it will only be one or two particular people. I mean, the child I mentioned above also once said at the age of four that she thought prostitution sounded like a fun job. It isn't something I am going to let her try out.

Carlotta said...

That is certainly a problem I intend to raise when the results are out, Saracen.

I think the best one can do is to explain the whole range of possible outcomes and leave it to the child to decide. Based on other HEors experience, I think it would be fair to explain that it may be a fantastic experience, or it may be horrendous, or somewhere in-between and to give reasons for why any of these might be the case.

Thanks for answering anyhow.

mum6kids said...

My older son who is now in college says he never minded.
My dd (aged 15) can't decide how to vote. She says she doesn't mone seeing him as things ARE- but if his remit changes she wouldn't want to see him. "If he has to start asking me about what sex ed I'm receiving or something like that. I don't want to talk to him. Why should I want to talk to him about things like that?"
So far she hasn't put her vote in.

Carlotta said...

In retrospect, I should have put a not sure option...sorry...but will make this point as a comment with the results.

Mike said...

I've asked both my two (boys aged 18 and 16) and they've said that they have been happy to see LA personnel in the past. Eldest has been HE'd for 7 years and the youngest for 5 years.

However, they do understand that some children will not want to see LA personnel. Consequently, they haven't answered the poll in case their answer is construed as a vote in favour of universal visits.

Carlotta said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your explanation. I do see what your sons mean, but do hope that they would put up their vote, as I think the results might otherwise be construed as being inaccurate. The poll is meant to represent how each individual would feel about LA contact for themselves.

Imogen said...

My children found it v difficult to give a straight yes/no answer: they wanted to write essays instead, introducing lots of caveats and ideal situations.
They all said they would be more open to it if the intention was purely to check on welfare: it's the conflation of welfare with education that would bother them. My eldest said that he would be okay with checkups IF there were a strong system of laws in place specifically to protect his autonomy. (He has had the experience of the anti-autonomous inspector criticising us).

I suppose what they were saying was: yes someone can check we're ok, but we don't want someone telling us what to do.

Imogen said...

It's interesting that there appears to be a trend in the statistics according to how many children in the family there are ... I wonder whether it's significant or just coincidental.

Leo said...

Remember to explain to your children that if the LA personal is not happy with their education, they can be forced to school against their will!

info said...

What is an LA visit like? It sounds like it varies from LA to LA?

Carlotta said...

It varies hugely I understand, from the very positive to life-shatteringly awful.

Anon! said...

During our LA visit (many years ago, when we were new to home-ed), I was so anxious that I failed to put us across well at all. The kids (who were very little) picked up on my anxiety and misbehaved through the whole visit. It was awful. The inspector actually seemed happy at the time and then sent us a "failed" letter anyway. I felt that he had tricked us by pretending to be agreeable, because I could have shown him the things he wanted to see had he asked; instead he just let me mess it up. Is that supportive? After that we sent a report (which they "passed") and we declined all future visits. I'm a probably more confident by now, but I wouldn't want to go through that again. Some people might think from that that I was just silly, but not everyone performs well under stress, and presentation skills should not have to be a requirement of being a home-educating parent. And all this was bad for my son because I was so anxious not to fail the report too that I heaped more and more work upon him in the ensuing weeks to ensure we "passed" the report. I know better now.

Carlotta said...

Hi info...

further on your question, there is a blog post on this subject here:

http://tinyurl.com/da5jzh