Thursday, December 20, 2012

AND another one.

OK, just when you English peeps thought, "Phew, well that's all sorted then," we have another newly announced consultation on the yet another draft guidance on Children Missing Education.

What have Children Missing Education got to do with home educators, you would rightly ask? Well it's all a question of how Local Authorities set about finding children missing a suitable education. Should HEors have to submit to routine checks in order to ascertain whether the education they provide is suitable or should they only come under scrutiny if others raise the alarm bell? 

The question has huge constitutional consequences.  Think about it for a second.  Asking LAs to routinely check for a suitable education means that without doubt, the state is responsible for determining the nature of that education.   The state becomes the ultimate arbiter in the matter.  Not very British, all a bit scary, open to abuse, the easy road to totalitarianism.  Far better that in the first instance, the nature of a suitable education be determined by individual families and the state only steps in when this situation has demonstrably failed.

Given the current constraints on the public purse and the natural (or more cynically subsequent) preference for small state politics of the Tory party, the drive towards localism, (devolving power to those whose lives are directly affected by the influence of that power), seems to be gaining ground in government circles. The whole thrust of Elizabeth Truss's  testimony in the recent Education Committee , with her insistence that parents are responsible for a child's education, seemed to be going this way. 

The draft guidance here seems to suggest the current preference for localism, suggesting, in effect, that HE families get on with it, and are only investigated when alarm bells are rung.  In the meantime, LAs can get about alerting professionals such as GPs and the police to the issue of CME.

All this seems eminently sensible to me as it saves time and public money not screening bundles of healthy HE families, and instead allows resources to used where they are needed.  

So yep, will be responding to the consultation  (click on Response Form on the upper right (you will need Word), or else send a response to an email) to tell them as much. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Report on Home Education from Education Select Committee

....published today, concludes: 

"58. We share the view of our witnesses—home educators and those from central and local Government— that a parent clearly has, and should have, the right to home educate their child(ren) if they so wish. We note that a significant body of evidence to our inquiry makes clear that many parties, on both sides, have made real efforts to engage, to understand each other's motivations and constraints, and to ensure more constructive relationships and better support.
59. At the same time, though, we acknowledge that there is clearly some way to go, particularly in terms of raising the quality and consistency of support, and ensuring that all local authorities are compliant with Government guidance. We hope to see improvements concerning the wide variety of practice and performance across local authorities, which we do not consider acceptable, and we look forward to seeing the development of local offers of support, a national association to share best practice and professionalise home education officers further, increased Government monitoring of local authorities, and other mechanisms to ensure a more consistent approach to home education across the country."
Yep, that all makes very good sense.  
The Guardian has this take on the report.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Secret of Education....whatever works!

Autonomous home educators have been saying it for years, but it seems the rest of the education system may finally be catching up.  The secret to successful education is to respond creatively to the interests and needs of the individual child.

Ofsted have given Springfields School an outstanding rating, and this probably because they simply had to.  The results have been superb.
And all because the headmaster is prepared to seek the spark and be creative in response to need.  
On this BBC documentary, he even says words to this precise effect:
"The future of education lies outside the classroom".

OK, so not every child will change their entire future playing football at altitude with dust and mossies at 30 degrees C, but for some,

 it is a godsend.

If the spark can be sought for all manner of different learners (and not just those who would benefit from the sort of learning the army offers), then who knows where we could end up! 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Welsh Proposals for Home Education: What to do next.

(Posted with permission:)

What the Welsh Government is proposing and if you are living in Wales, what you can do now the consultation has closed: 

The Welsh Government proposes:

*Changing the law in Wales to permit compulsory registration and routine annual monitoring of home educated children.

*Using existing powers to develop statutory guidance on best practice for LAs working with home educating families.

*Future consultation on definition of "suitable education" in context of variety of educational approaches used in home education, to be "covered in statutory guidance and consulted on separately."

*Qualified expert assessment of suitable education in cases where home educated child has special/additional needs.


*Constituency Meetings are held on Mondays and Fridays. Get appointment booked before the Christmas Holiday.   Welsh Assembly members are in Cardiff mid-week and tend to be available in their constituency offices on Monday and Friday.

The Assembly Member website gives full contact details here .

Go and see your Assembly Member: The Senedd in Cardiff is closed for a month from Thursday December 6th. Try for a meeting in the constituency on Friday 7th December or the following week, when your AM might be catching up with constituency business before the holidays. Otherwise you can book now for an appointment in the early New Year.

It should be possible to email all five AMs (constituency and regional) to ask for an appointment for a small group from your local area. Note that a full postal address within the AM's constituency is required, even in email as they'll only deal with their own constituents.

Opening your conversation with Assembly member.

1. Our children are home educated because...

2, We have been home educating since...

3. In our home education we have had support from...

4  Our experience of the council has been...[if not known, can say what friends' experience has been]

5  We feel very strongly about the Government's plans for home education because...

6  Our family would be affected by the proposals in the following ways...

7 Current Government Guidelines already cover welfare/safegarding/standards/diversity 

This can be sent to your Assembly Member as a web link and as an email attachment. You can also copy and paste from the web page here into the body of your email.