Saturday, May 02, 2009

Home Educating Parents Accused of Neglect

Initially I was going to forward this link from the Telegraph with the tag-line "we don't know enough. Perhaps the family is being neglectful, but we will be keeping an eye on things", but after reading the concluding paragraphs:

"Mrs Robertson, from Whiston near Rotherham, said: "I would lay down my life for my children and I deeply resent the suggestion that I am not doing my best of Elysha. And to use this law, which seems to accuse us of causing harm and neglect to our daughter, is both insulting and offensive. I want to teach my child at home because I believe she has made better progress than she did at Newman School where she was taught before."

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said she was unable to comment on individual cases but said : "In general the authority would always recommend that children receive a better all round learning experience from attending school.""'s very, very hard not to infer that Rotherham Council are just ignorant, prejudiced bullies.

UPDATE: We hear via an HE email list, that the mother is in touch with the local HE group.

UPDATE: EO have produced a Prospectus for Improving Support to Home Educating Families which on first glance, looks to address many of the issues raised by the above case.


Anonymous said...

talking to some Rotherham home educators this afternoon, seeing what we can do.

Fiona ( in Sheffield)

Anonymous said...

That poor woman, who is evidently just trying to improve the quality of life of her very sick daughter! A shame the Telegraph leave no room for comments.

Anonymous said...

I tend to be cautious with news reports like this but there are some significant gaps in this story. First-there is no report of any neglect or abuse mentioned is there. The Red Flag went up it seems simply because the child was removed from school. Then there is the bizarre comment that children do better in school.
More and more I am wondering if we need a legal team willing to back home educaters and perhaps some expert witnesses with a good background in EHE who would be up for court reports in these cases.
I've just been contacted by a mother who was told by the special school her child attends she is NOT ALLOWED to dereg.
This is getting nasty.

Firebird said...

It seems like Rotherham Council have some clear expectations of the end results of the HE Review, i.e. kiss goodbye to the existing guidelines.

Any LA could use the excuse "could be suffering isolation and missing the company of children by being kept at home", aka The S Word, on any HE child, regardless of the reality.

Very nasty indeed.

globeonmytable said...

Time for a legal fighting fund?

Anonymous said...

I agree that we must be cautious with press reports. But as some others have mentioned - there is no mention of the girl being at risk, and therefore without further information we can only assume that this is the heavy handed LA/SS.
(They are not shortened to SS for nothing!!)

HE Parent

Firebird said...

Having looked at the EO document I'd be interested to find out who the EO inner circle have in mind for HE reps on their "national Home Education Committee". Some of the ideas were good but I'm less than happy with the idea of our future freedoms being in the hands of yet another quango.

Anonymous said...

update, i understand that several local home educators have now made contact with the family.


Carlotta said...

Hi Firebird,

I have to admit that I have yet to read it all the way through...will now have to do so tomorrow.

cosmic seed said...

I'm curious to know how this document can be an EO document, but not an EO document. An intriguing idea, wouldn't you say?

Carlotta said...

I agree that this is very confusing, cosmic seed. I do think this is a problem.

teacup said...

please help . any info would be heplful. i have also just been put in a very similar situation. my sons school were not understanding of his needs . even though i had been talking to them for nearly 2 yrs before he went in there. in the last 2 terms he has had alot of time off due to being ill and his tiredness from having to "keep up" with the other "normal" kids.

after meny years fighting for 2 children to get the education statments done properly i felt i could do no more and decided in the end to home educate. since then
ive had all the horrible abuseive leters threats and now the ss have decided to put us on child protection for emotional abuse and neglect. the story does have alot of lies and deciet and twists in it from all the hassels over the years . right down to they say i dont cook for him. please if you can help me to . i was given this link via a person that befriend us from seeing my coments on a group. im realy needing people in the . even if someone can help me befriend the other family that would be great.

Carlotta said...

Hi Teacup,

I am so sorry to hear of your situation.

I am wondering if you have contacted one of the many HE support organisations who may be able to help you locally? Despite the problems with the political decisions that Education Otherwise has made recently, I would still recommend contacting them for what they do well, which is to provide support in these sorts of situations, and to help you find other HEors locally who again may well be able to support you. (See links in side bar for ways of contacting EO).

At the very least, if you are in touch with the local HE group, you cannot be said to be isolating your child and if you can get to know someone who understands HE well and who is happy to offer personal testimony, this too may help.

I would also recommend joining the various HE email lists. I would recommend HEUK where you will find excellent advice and also the Special Needs list...links to follow.

Generally speaking, HE advisors seem to recommend that you record everything as far as possible. Keep as much as you can in writing, ask if you can record meetings, get someone to witness on your behalf.

However, I am no expert in this sort of situation and recommend that you do talk to someone, possibly from EO, who will have much more experience of this sort of situation.

Carlotta said...

Hi again Teacup,

There is a list of the email lists here:

which explains how to join these...including HEUK and the SEN lists.

EO can be contacted via the website: