Sunday, November 12, 2006

Latest on Monitoring of Home Education

It really is happening. The nightmare is only just ahead of us, for not only are Home Educators now very unlikely to escape the initial attentions of the state, (as a result of the Children's Database) but it may well be that we shall have to dance precisely to their tune. From the following, it really looks as we may have to say "bye bye" to any hopes of personalised learning unless we jump to it and make it very plain just how much resistance the DfES initiative will meet.

From Adrian Thompson of the Public Communications Unit of the Department for Education and Skills:

"There is no specific duty in statute on local authorities (LAs) to monitor parents' education provision. However, it is our view that case law (Philips vs Brown 1980) places such a duty on LAs. Only s7 of the Education Act 1996, not s351, applies to home educated children, and legislation does not define 'suitability' of education. However, a suitable education has been defined in case law as one which "primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child's options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so."

The state cannot currently prescribe what form of education parents should provide, whilst all maintained and independent school provision is prescribed in legislation and subject to inspection. This anomaly is at odds with Every Child Matters reforms, supported by the Children Act 2004, which set out the Government's aim to improve educational outcomes for all children, regardless of where they are educated, and to narrow the gap between those who are doing well and those who are not. Whilst s437 of the Education Act 1996 provides a remedy for LAs which have concerns that there may be no suitable provision, this is unwieldy, time consuming and expensive and in some cases will be nugatory where home educators are making good provision but are resistant to LA enquiries.

We note your comments and re-iterate that the intention of a full consultation is to open up a constructive debate on whether or not changes are required, and if so what they might be. Can I suggest that you gather together your thoughts on home education monitoring, and any other aspects of home education, and submit these in due course as part of our future consultation. We will add you to our consultation email list so that you will be aware of the consultation when it starts.

Yours sincerely Adrian Thompson. Public Communications Unit.

If you have any further queries why not browse our Popular Questions Website."

Home Educators everywhere who value being able to offer personalised learning to their children and who hold out any hope of a private family life must get writing to the DfES at

This is my missive:

Dear Mr Thompson,

I understand that there are plans afoot to consider changes to the way that Home Educators are monitored by their Local Authorities.

I would be very interested in hearing more about this initiative and any forthcoming consultations on this subject.

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Thanks to Jax for pointing out that you can sign up to be kept informed about DfES consultations at


Jax said...

I already wrote. I'm also signed up on the dfes consultation website as interested in educational consultations, so they are supposed to let me know through there as well.

Anonymous said...

What should I write? I don't talk the language of politicians. How is it ever possible to communicate with those people?

They believe in an utopia where governments can predict children's futures and prevent their doom by causing the exact interference that will ruin their lives.

To give an example, they create poverty when they demand children to wear uniforms to school. Further disgrace they will create if they believe childhood happiness is a matter of aesthetics and ticking little boxes.

To only way to ruin a person's life is to take a person's freedom away.

It's obvious to me, but how to tell them? Not from where I stand I can say anything.

I find their every child matters goals tacky, insane and that that act ever came to be just shows how the majority of British parents are stupid and willing to have the government take care of their children for them.

I also do not see the will and the power in the home education community to do anything. They want to show they behave. Don't behave, rebel!

Parents that chose to be responsible for their children's education should not have to put up with this shite. Full stop. The end. Curtains closed.

Fiona M said...

Hi carlotta, I've posted on here before, I really like reading your blog as there's often interesting stuff on here. I caught a bit of the news this morning, a man was being interviewed on the BBC about the possibility of children being made to stay on at school until they're 18/have 5 GCSEs. I think he was a labour mp and that his first name was Alan, it sounds a bit iffy as far as home edders are concerned, do you know anything about it? I briefly thought about emailing him as he seemed to be saying that schools were failing so he might be interested in home ed as it seems to suceed most of the time.
Back to the topic, Leo I agree with everything you said. I feel at a loss for what to do about this madness. I don't think it's just the government, alot of parents that i know do act like they don't want personal responsilbily for their own children.

Anonymous said...

hi carlotta

would you be interested in joining grassroots protest/info network .i am talking with dani ( greenhouse by the sea blog )about setting one up. big discussion about it on uk home ed today as well. this would be to share news and tactics and promote awareness of the issues, i guess.

( i post on AEUK and uk home ed among other places. i was the one recommended viktor frankl to neil t...i'm still pestering him to read it !)

love, fiona

Carlotta said...

Hi Leo,

I agree with your sentiments. I think the only thing we necessarily need do atm is make it plain just how much interest there will be in any further government initiatives to monitor home education and/or be prescriptive about the content.

To this end I therefore think that all we have to do is write to and specifically request to be forwarded any information about any intended or actual consultation on any possible changes, both to the way we are monitored and to the type of education we are permitted to provide.

If we can get enough HEors to do
this, the DfES will get some idea of the scope of the resistance to any further interference.

At some stage, I shall happily go on to use the argument that if the DfES choose to monitor and prescribe a form of education with which I in principle do not agree, then I cannot logically be held responsible for it, and in these circumstances I will therefore set out to challenge the law which states that parents are responsible for the education of their children.

Then I will sue their butts off should either of my children fail in their chosen system.

Carlotta said...

Dear Fiona M,

Saw that article and had it lined up to blog...asap! Thanks.

Jamming the switchboards did work in the US over a similar issue, so it probably really is worth signing up at to get info on any consultations to do with HE

and it is also worth sending off to to let them know you're interested too!

I think if we can all persuade. say, 4 other HEors we know to do this, and then get them to do the same, we might end up with serious numbers!!

Carlotta said...

Dear Fiona N,

I would be very interested in any initiative on this matter. Do let me know what you are up to.

(and lol re Neil and Viktor Frankl, though also a serious business as we really need Neil not to give up hope!!!)