Friday, March 23, 2007

Anna King Show - Radio Gloucestershire

From Radio Gloucestershire, from 11 minutes into the show.

AK = Anna King, Radio journalist
AN = Ann Newstead, of Education Otherwise
MR = Mary Rose, Home Educator

AK: Now parents who educate children at home say that they are concerned that people would put off home teaching in the wake of the child abuse case of Eunice Spry, the foster mother from Tewkesbury. The 62 year old convicted of 26 offences, having removed the youngsters from school to teach them at home.

Now Ann Newstead is from Education Otherwise.

AN: Well it shouldn't affect public perception of home education because the fact that the children had been removed from school, is as I understand it, just one small part of the case. I mean, when you think this actually took place, all the safeguards that have been put in place in the last couple of years with the Childrens Act etc, to set up of all these heads of children's services and all this interagency co-operation, they weren't there then. And the whole point is that things like this shouldn't be able to happen now.

The lady, if she had removed the children from school, it doesn't automatically make her a home educator in the sense that we would call ourselves home educators. For us it is a way of life, it is a choice, we are committed to our children, we take these steps because we believe it is the only way to get the best for our children and we commit all our time and energy to them to educating them and bringing them up. That clearly wasn't her motivation in removing the children from school.

AK: The council have said, Well we don't have any rights to go into a home if somebody is home educating and we don't have any rights to see what is on their curriculum, if they even have one. Um, would you be happy to see inspections, would you see that as a way forward or a detrimental step?

AN: I think this case actually proves that no amount of inspections, home visits, off the cuff inspections, dropping in when you are passing, actually is enough in itself to prevent something like this from happening. I truly don't think if the lady lied herself, to doctors and to everyone around her, and forced the children to lie, then no amount of inspecting and visiting would actually have in itself, from an education point of view, would have highlighted what was going on.

AK: Anne Newstead there from Education Otherwise, well Mary Rose home schooled her three children from her house in the Forest of Dean
MR: This family was visible and they were more visible than most to be honest. Now home education isn't about hiding. I think there is a general view that it is about the Little House on the Prairie type of approach where everybody goes into their own homes and doesn't come out. And I don't think that is generally the case with home education in the UK at the moment.

LEAs certainly don't have the right of entry to everybody's private accommodation, private home and quite right too, in my opinion because that would be in the same way as saying they can have the right to search anybody's homes because they are Muslim on account of the fact that they may be building bombs or they could see through teacher's computers to look for porn. That would be ridiculous. And I think in the same way, because people choose to home educate, this is to do with education, this is a choice about how your children are educated, I think that to have a blanket approach to saying that home education equates to child abuse on the result of even one or a few isolated cases of abuse, is silly really.

Abuse goes right across the board. It doesn't matter where you look. Whether it be in school or anywhere else.

AK: Mary Rose there from the Forest of Dean.


Gill said...

Thanks for transcribing this, Carlotta :-)

33, 452 said...

Yes, thank for transcribing this, Carlotta! :)

Ann put forward good points there.:)

I don't think the fact that this woman's motivation to remove her children from school was not to home educate is particularly relevant though... Won't authorities then decide that they have a duty to check on HEers to find out whether their motivation is really to HE or not? Wouldn't they just claim that they have to assess us to ascertain our motivations then?

In fact that would be an astute move on their part as it would neatly side-step accusations of prejudice towards home educators "Oh we think very highly of *home educators*! We just have to check that people really *are* home educators, that's all!" kind of thing?

It seems that if the powers-that-be decide that they *want* right of entry, they will use and twist whatever they have to in order to *get* right of entry. :(