Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Why Should I go to the Picnic?

We've done a LOT already:

* We've filled in and sent off the Call for Evidence on the Draft Guidance (closed as of 2nd July).

* We've signed the on-line petition...still open till Friday 13th, please note.

* We've handed in our constituency petitions to parliament in six different sessions which can be viewed here , herehere from 18.47  , here from 23.20, and here . In Hansard, with a more extensive list:  here , here here, herehere, herehere , herehere, here and here. (Latter four, have not found TV links yet!)

* We understand that petitions from other constituencies have been presented in other ways, ie: directly into the bag, or have been forwarded to the Department for Education for their consideration, following which we gather the DfE should table them in their name.

* We've already had a response to the substance of the petition from the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds as follows:

Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle: 

"Approximately 48,000 children are being home educated in England.  In light of the Government's consultation on home education which ends next Monday, can the Minister clarify what steps his Department are taking to reassure home educators that their views will be fed into the Government's consultation response?

Damian Hinds  The Secretary of State for Education

I can give my hon. Friend that reassurance. We are having this consultation, and there has been a rise in children being home educated which of course includes some children whith particular special eduational needs how have had a particularly bad time in the school system and whose parents devote their lives to their education - I pay tribute to those parents.  The rise includes other categories, but it is important that we listen carefully, and we will, to those parents in the consultation. "

*  It's possible that we can expect more by way of a formal response to the petition since we gather that

"substantive petitions should normally receive a response from the relevant government department and this should normally be within two months of the petition being presented."

Quite a few home educators have met with their MPs to explain, amongst other things:

   - that home education is a necessary precondition of a healthy democracy since it provides an essential check and balance upon state powers, and yet civil servants are reinterpreting the law so as to completely change its implementation.  The latitude in determining the nature of a suitable education that is being handed to LAs in guidance could even make home educating effectively impossible if LAs so choose, and all this is happening right under our noses, with next to no real scrutiny by MPs or the public.  

What MORE do we need to do to stop this? 

* Well, first off, as many of us as possible should be trying to speak to our MPs directly.  The Summer Recess which starts on the 24th July 2018 is not a problem in this regard - during a recess, MPs work in their local constituencies, holding surgeries, replying to correspondence and attending local events.  It could be the perfect moment to get hold of your MP.

Research your MP.  What is their position on education and on other related matters.  Consider which arguments they are likely to understand best. Are they a small state Tory, or a paternalistic one who may be concerned to keep costs down?  Is it a Labour MP who wants to do the best by children with different needs?

What should be your elevator pitch?

-  Should it be about better SEND provision via better EOTAS provision?

 - Or about how registration and monitoring won't actually solve the problems of off-rolling that it sets out to solve and won't find real abusers since real abusers won't register?

- Is it how registration and monitoring and being forced to abide by the LAs conception of a suitable education will damage your family?

- Is it the argument in red above or any other of the many arguments there are against the Draft Guidance and Soley's Bill?

* Next - help arrange, advertise and attend your own local HE picnic to fit in with:


The theme of the day is visibility and the major focus will be on a series of picnics to be held around the country. We invite home educators everywhere to use this day to spread understanding of home ed and to highlight our concerns about the draft guidance.

Let’s see if we can get #homeedinsight trending on Twitter!
There will be the  - local picnics 
                            - the presentation of a letter to a senior politician
                            - the presentation of the on line petition direct to Stephen Bishop.

For more information (and as long as you are a home educator who meets the Conditions of Membership, ie: that you oppose the implementation of Draft Guidance and Soley's Bill), please join this Facebook Group.  


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