Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quick Answers to Some of the Questions

...from the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee here.

These are my answers, the ones I was shouting at the screen.

1. In response to the minister's question about whether the panel thought a simple registration process, no other strings attached, was a good idea in order that missing children could more easily be found, the short answer is "no, it is not a sensible suggestion".

The longer answer is that the authorities will not know from just a list of names which children are really there and which children aren't, so unless you have a huge process of inspection and monitoring, you would be none the wiser. This monitoring of all these children will involve inspecting the 99.6% of well-functioning families, at massive expence to the tax payer, whilst children who are known to be at risk, languish at the bottom end of a social workers to-do list.

2. The answer to the minister's question about if home educators' standards are so good, why are they so resistent to testing and to being compared with school children is that home education is often so vastly different from school, that it would be like comparing apples and pears. You simply couldn't do it productively. What you could look at is the adults who are produced at the end of it all. Who are happier, more balanced, feel more in control of their lives, doing more productive work, pick your criteria.

There is a detailed response to the Badman Report, including some reaction to Monday's Select Commitee hearing here.


Heidi de Wet said...

Speaking for myself, I am "resistant" to testing because setting criteria for my children's education (in the form of a test or any other method) is no bloody business of the state's whatsoever. *I* am responsible for their education, and I define what form that education shall take. I refuse to give the time of day to any jobsworth who thinks they know better than me what is suitable for my children.

Carlotta said...

Yep...include that as part of my answer.

Barry said...

I have a further problem with this... Testing and planning are flip sides of the same coin - you can't test without knowing what you're testing, and a piece of paper setting out plans for the year is ultimately pointless if you don't test it. So discussion of either one suggests the presence of the other. Fine in schools - the curriculum says what you're doing for the year, then you test it somehow. But unless they impose some form of curriculum on us all, they're going to have 50,000 (or however many) individual learning statements each year, each with wildly differing starting points, existing skills, interests, ambitions for the year, resources available, differing learning styles, different SEN factors etc. Against what criteria will these 50,000 statements be assessed? And will they then come up with 50,000 'tests' with which to measure each of these children? What will the 'pass mark' be? Who will mark them? I'm not even sure you can establish a pass mark for a cohort of one! Assuming it's not a formal test, but 'a friendly chat', this still involves some decision of whether they do, or do not, 'pass'. An inspector might, in the course of a day, be making such a decision about one 15-year-old into athletics, molecular biology, and Russian history, then an 8-year-old interested in botany, literature and baking, then another 15-year-old into statistics, set theory and computer languages... How on earth would this work?! Like many of these ideas, it just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Note also, at two sides of A4 per child (as was bandied about), simply to read these statements (without deciding whether they pass muster, or how they might be tested) is going to be 100,000 pages of text!

Luke said...

Gee I wish you folks had been on the panel.