Friday, July 13, 2018

Arguments for MPs

These are my top arguments - the issues I feel most strongly about:

If an MP were to ask me, "Why are you so concerned about the Draft Guidance or Soley's Bill? "(the latter due its Report Stage on the 17th July, by the way), I would answer with the following:

1.   We KNOW that schools fail some children and that genes play a large part in this. Schooling is not keeping up with neuroscience and learning theory and children with different learning needs are being off-rolled from schools all the time. We desperately NEED diversity of provision and we are extremely concerned that since the draft guidance/the Bill would give LAs so much power in the matter of determining the nature of a suitable education, we risk losing the form of education that has suited our children so well.  Indeed we have seen this happen in France where the authorities, given the latitude, have become more and more prescriptive in terms of what they expect to see by way of an education. We should not let this happen here.

2.  Home education is often entirely different from schooling and young people who are failed by schooling more often than not, thrive when home educated.  Indeed these very same young people often later go on to college and thrive there because they are then ready for it. 

3. By way of an example of the flexibility and therefore suitability of provision that home education can offer: home educated children who struggle to learn to read are not overwhelmed or disheartened since the family can easily adapt and employ other learning methods, such as conversation and other audio-visual sources.  Eventually, in this relaxed but enriched environment and when they are ready, children learn to read and, by doing so, do not suffer the appalling consequences of repeated humiliation and failure that they would have otherwise have experienced had they been in school.

4.  It is a repeated problem that legislators and civil servants who seek to determine the nature of a suitable education are usually the ones who themselves thrived in the schooling model, whereas those who struggled in school never get to have their say about what would have actually worked for them.  We need to hear their voices.  Young people with SEN deserve better, and we now have the means to offer them a whole array of new ideas.  We should allow educational provision to evolve and home educators can help lead the way with this, but this will not happen if we are constrained by the LA officials who fail to understand alternative provision.  Worse still, if we give LAs more power to determine the nature of a suitable education, the chances are that they will abuse this power.  Home educators do not want to cede this ground.

5. Children have rights too. They are humans and they should have human rights, such as the right to privacy, for example.  Home education is integral to family life.  When an LA officer insists on inspecting a child's work, it involves intruding upon family life in a way that represents a gross violation of this privacy.   What's more, it all gets reported back and held on file in council offices, and given the data protection violations that are condoned in the draft guidance for LAs, these families can kiss goodbye to any pretence to privacy.  This LA intrusion can also disrupt family life by causing so much anxiety, since families realise how much is at stake, how much their lives could be changed on the subjective word of an LA officer who might just be making pretty unsubstantiated judgements just because he hasn't eaten enough biscuits.   They rightfully do not trust LA officers to report things accurately, (this happens a great deal...could quote examples) and these things could end up being used as evidence in court.  Families feel very vulnerable in this regard. 

6. All this damage to families for no observable gain.  True abusers won't register.  Children will still be off-rolled from schools because of the pressure from Ofsted which is just creating this mess in the first place.  Illegal schools can be found through other means other than pestering home educators at great expense. It is the CPS that needs to get on this case and provide the help Ofsted needs and we need better EOTAS provision, eg: the Red Balloon of the Air

7.  Just leave well-functioning home educators alone to get on with it.












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