Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What Ofsted SHOULD be doing!

Here we go again.  The press barrage that precedes some sort of action by the DfE has started up yet again.  We have the BBC here, the Telegraph there, The Times, The Mail, The Guardian, you name it, it's bash home education day all over again.

Let's just put the other side of the story for once, shall we?  Taking the BBC article: 

"Home education for many families is not a preferred choice but a last resort amid a breakdown in relationships with schools, Ofsted inspectors have warned."

Yep, it's true: home education may not be the preferred choice for many who end up doing it, but what are we actually comparing it to?  Some mythical idyllic alternative that only exists in school prospectuses and in the minds of the serially deluded or the reality of terrible schooling options where school funding means that there is no capacity for give?   After a tiny bit of thinking about the terrible alternatives that actually exist, home education frequently becomes the first preference of many families.

And not being a first choice, doesn't mean that most of us can't do it.

"There's no help, not even paper," said another.

As regards there being no help - simple: take the child's school funding and turn it into an EOTAS. That would help.  The DfE and Amanda Spielman can then stop bugging other home educators who are happy to go it alone.

And of course, there is actually masses of help which is offered completely for free in the home education community. Oh the fricking irony of being so demonised when we are shoring up the system entirely without being paid.

The Ofsted report says its research found parents "commonly viewed home education as the only option for them", especially when there had been a breakdown in the relationship between schools and parents,

Then sort out the actual problem - which is school funding. 

And it warns the length of time for a child to be moved to home education can be very short.

Not in the heads of most parents who are often thinking about this for years whilst they try to sort problems with the school and whilst their children suffer before they take the plunge.

Instead of constantly haranguing the HE community and threatening us with more legislation in the form of a register - as mentioned in the Times article, and which is still under review, despite it not being in the Queen's Speech, Amanda and her ilk would do well to think about what they can do to help home educators. 

She should also seek to educate herself about how different forms of education can work extremely well.  (At last showing, she hadn't the first idea).

She needs to pause and reevaluate, to think about how things might have changed since schooling first started.  We now live in the information age, where people have google folks...NEWSFLASH.

And she needs to question whether it is right to put huge swathes of young people into a system which reduces their autonomy and sense of responsibility, which pits one against the other in a terrible race to the podium and which encourages a tribal mentality, when what we need right now if we are to save this increasingly interconnected world are self-initiating life-long learners who can work co-operatively and have a global vision.

Ofsted Rating:  CATCH UP OFSTED.