Sunday, November 01, 2009

Ofsted inspects provision for Home Education

Ofsted are setting out to inspect home education in 15 local authorities. As part of this exercise they will be approaching some parents.

I trust Ofsted to keep whatever they are told in confidence, and not to pass it on to the LA ever, at all, in any way.

I am not happy though with the secrecy with which Ofsted is surrounding its investigation - which LAs, which parents will be talked to, etc. I have put down some questions to see if I can open them up. Nor am I confident that Ofsted understands home education - but talking to more HE parents and children should help.

So please send me news when you happen across Ofsted - which LAs, what were they like, etc etc - on this blog or, if you prefer, privately to lucasr@parliament.uk.

40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

why no answer to my letter to you lord Lucas? Lord Ralph Lucas
The House of Lords
London
SWIA OPW


Dear Lord Ralph Lucas

I am writing to you about the Home Education Review by Graham Badman. I am very concerned about the recommendations in it especially the one about giving LA officers the right to enter the house and the right to speak with the child alone. This would not help home educators and may also frighten younger children. The parents would also not have an independent record of what was said during the interview between the LA officer and the child. The recommendation about a registration system does not seem too bad at first but later on the review says that LA’s can revoke registration on safeguarding grounds. This means that an LA can refuse registration with any safeguarding reason and since many LA’s consider home education a safeguarding concern in itself this would be an unnecessary power. It would also be an annoying power because home educators will have to battle with their LA’s. It will also be a criminal offence to not register and this will be awkward for home educators. I enjoy home education because I can follow my interests. My interests are Taekwon-do, and chess. I also go to the Scouts and a Trampoline club. Some home educators have organized a mass lobby of parliament over the home education review and I will be going there to lobby my Local MP Michael Mates. It will be interesting to see what happens. The lobby is on the 13th of October 2009.

Yours Sincerely
Peter A Williams
A Home Educated Child

6:20 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

I am sorry that I did not reply to your letter - I cannot remember receiving it, but anyway I tend to spend my time reading letters rather than replying to them: too little time and too little support.

I was at the lobby too. I thought that it was very effective, and Michael has an independent and respected voice in the Commons.

As for your detailed concerns, I'm waiting to see what the government chooses to put in the Bill - is it to be battle or reconciliation?

9:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this has been said by many before me, but perhaps it's worth saying again in the light of this move by Ofsted:
Home education takes place in many different places in the community and in many different ways, including group learning organised by parents, independent learning and one to one tuition by professional tutors, depending upon the child's needs and wishes. Does Ofsted plan to inspect group learning as it would do a school class? Private tutoring? How will they manage to do this when these things take place at widely different places and times outside the home?

Now, if they plan to inspect the LA and make sure it is offering no-strings free access to exam centres, music lessons, sports facilities and money for educational books, IT and materials then that sounds fine to me. But sadly I can't see that ever happening.

10:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you read and learn that is good!
Lets hope it is a battle. I will not comply with forced home visits or any of Badman other crazy ideas! did you know Graham never answered my letter to him.I have made repeated attempts to contact him but he just will not answer!
Are you in favour of forced home visits and a register system? I am unclear of your views on this?will you tell us? i have been home educated since June 23 2003 and it is all going really well we do not want any one from our LEA visiting us thanks!

1:15 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

Registration as a right - to record that you are home educating, but not to have to qualify yourself to do so - seems sensible to me. Beyond that, no. There are quite enough powers under child protection legislation to deal with abuse.

1:43 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

Who should inspect home education?

The government have licenced the Schools Inspection Service (SIS) and the Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI) to inspect independent schools. SIS inspects the 50 or so Exclusive Brethren schools and some Steiner Waldorf Schools. The EB ban children from using computers or reading fiction, and believes that members should not go to university.

BSI inspects 57 schools belonging either to the Christian Schools Trust or the Association of Muslim Schools UK.

If the government is happy to allow what amounts to self-inspection in these circumstances, there ought to be room for HE self-inspection too.

1:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

registration is not a sensible idea that implys your need permission from an LA hoops to jump over? what if you fill it in wrong fine? LA already have a list of home educators why do you want a new one Lord Lucas? registration will not solve child abuse or make any child safe! its a waste of money and we will never comply with it! what would solve child abuse is to fund social service. What do you mean by self-inspection? some one who home educaters inspecting a home educator. This is not a good idea because we know that Ed Balls would put in home educators who agree with Graham Badman recomendations.
Im still not sure of your views on forced home visits and home education what are you really up to?

2:55 pm  
Anonymous Stewart said...

Lords Lucas;

That is a fascinating comment on the School Inspection Service.

Two points;

1.) Why does the Government refuse to look at what is happening in regards to regulation or lack thereof in the United States? There are more home educated children in the USA that the rest of the world. But they ignore it. I am also curious if you have looked at the enormous amount of reference material online with the Homeschool Legal Defense Association in the US?

2.) We now have Graham Badman on record with the following statement in a letter to the Select Committee on 28 October 2009.

"Finally, I wish to reiterate that I am not suggesting that there is a causal or determining relationship between home education and increased safeguarding risks.

Graham Badman, CBE 28 October 2009"

Based on what Badman has just written, if there is NO CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP between home education and safeguarding risks, why is the Government going to regulate?

I am glad he has admitted the truth, but then why are we still on the path?

7:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lucas Dear.
Surely Self-Inspection to HE should amount to parental trust.
We take on the responsibilty as a matter of love, commitment and endurance to our children.
Plenty of us have children who have already gone through the system, with schools failing to address the childs' needs, only to discover the potential HE has to offer the child and build on their talents in a calm and relaxing atmosphere away from the doctrines of school life and the trauma of school gangs etc.
Not being impolite here dear, but as a gran, parent and home educator who has seen many sides of these senarios over the last 3 decades and more, would it be impartial to imagine they could teach me to suck eggs (old saying)on what should be in their eyes, best for my children.
I think not, wisdom comes with age and experience and as a confident parent and home educator, while we facilitate all our childrens' needs till they are fully equipped for adulthood then we would rather govern over our own household.
This can not be much to ask for surely in the name of Privacy and dedication to parental duty. Having the interests of our children at heart is beyond red tape of the inspectorates, so it makes sense to allow the parent of each child who home educates to be able to put in to practice their own inclination and responsibilities, after all, a parent is for life. How many children turn back to their parents at sometime in their life, in need of guidance and a boost at difficult times, many do. So hence the need for self-inspection lies in the parents quarters.
Taking too much a way from the parents abilities to manage their own affairs, will in the future lead to double standards and could lead on to dangers of children loosing respect for their parents and confussion with who's role is in the best interest of their children's futures.
A home is flourished and maintained out of love and willingness to keep a family home running smoothly. If inspectors were introduced then the pressure on children alone would begin to show clearly in their efforts to relax and move forward at their own pace.

I clearly see this action of intervention in this way as detrimental to the child.

Nan.

1:54 pm  
Anonymous David Hough said...

The problem that Ofsted has when interviewing home educated parents is that they cannot contact the ones they probably really need to speak to.

Those of us who have chosen not to engage with the system because we see no advantage and plenty of hassle are possibly the ones who need the most convincing of any change, and to have our fears and distrust of the system addressed.

It is not impossible to achieve; the head of EHE at my local authority asked one of the parents who was known if anyone would be interested in meeting for discussions, and had a reasonable response from those who are not recorded on his system. We got to understand his concerns, where he has responsibilities imposed by government but no powers to carry them out, and he got to hear our concerns and reasons why we didn't want him to have those powers. All done in a constructive manner, and the quality of the LA documentation for home education was much improved and made to reflect the law. They still file it under "behaviour and attendance", but I choose to be amused rather than annoyed at that.

On the subject of Ofsted, their evidence to the CSF Select Committee seems to be calling for all home educating parents (and friends and relatives) to be CRB checked. I don't know if Parliamentary etiquette means you keep clear of Commons activities, but if not, it is enlightening to read the responses from the government side of the fence. There's the Ofsted one as mentioned, DCSF thinking that "Home education is the education of children in and around the house by their parents or those appointed by the parents", ADCS showing ignorance of current law about de-registering children from school and the fascinating snippet about Munchhausen's by Proxy. No wonder it's so hard to get them to see sense when they have such bias, ignorance and prejudice (seasoned with dogma).

6:59 pm  
Anonymous David Hough said...

Perhaps you could ask the minister a question about reporting of concerns. It would be interesting to know how many reports to social services of concern about schoolchildren are made by schools, how many by other professionals and how many by the community.

Much is made about school being important in monitoring for abuse, yet many abused schoolchildren never told anyone at school and it was never suspected by anyone there.

8:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord lucas.


JONATHAN PRIOR: I want to read you a section of annex C: “The review will look in particular at if and how far home educated children have access to the five Every Child Matters outcomes.”

PENNY JONES: Ahh, I see, okay.

GARETT ROSS: I don’t want them.

PENNY JONES: Well, want or not, I am a government official, and these five outcomes are government policy. [loud crosstalk from all sides]

https://heyc.org.uk/news/2009/11/aug-2009-heyc-dcsf-meeting-transcript

So lord lucas do you think this is a case of want or not, we are we going to have it anyway, because she and the rest are all government officals. Is what they doing a big cherade, just to make it look good and be seen to follow the protocol, only to be secretly fixed on what they intend on doing anyway.


AND why on earth have they been slandering home edders,when all along they knew the figures were false represented to the media and public.

CHLOE WATSON: Yeah, you haven’t had abuse statistics, have you, you’ve had those known to social services.

PENNY JONES: Indeed, indeed.

JONATHAN PRIOR: Yes. But the trouble is, is that in this report, Badman has used, rather than actual abuse rates among home educators, he has said ‘children who are known to Local Authorities [note: the intended word is Social Services]‘, and unfortunately that’s rather an inaccurate number to be using to try and imply that there is abuse.

PENNY JONES: You–b-bu–co… I’d just like to get over the point that, we’re talking about abuse, and actually the vast… [pause] you know, the vast number of recommendations are–are nothing to do with abuse. and the main thrust of the report is that we want to make sure that every child receives a suitable education.

Could not the lords swap places with those in power in parliament, as you do seem to have more sense and logical understanding then them. It's as if you are all on different stages in life, yet with a high position in society for influence.

Strange, alot amounts to alot about nothing in order for them to achieve their aim.

so sooner or later once they have condemned our children in to system robots, it will soon be the next thing on the agenda she spoke of. What then is going to happen, when they feed and keep happy the pharmacutical companies using our children.

PENNY JONES: Yeah, I think there are, I think there are sort of two, two different things here aren’t they–the Every Child Matters, in the sense of an expression at a very high level, of the way that the state chooses to do things for the benefit of children. Now, there are certainly
*some things which have to come which cover… all children, or the vast majority of children, for example vaccination programmes, you hope we’d extend it to all children, no matter what educational setting they’re in*…


How come we are not daft and know that when they do this, it will be compulsary and prosicutions will start to role out if a parent protects their child if they so wish from vacinations.

Yet one thing is we not daft enough to see, they are stripping britain of a decent future by not addressing the sheer volume of problems in the schools and let home edders get on with their jobs and bring their own children up.

So what happens when children get stressed out because they have to meet people they don't wish to and perform to their standards, what next is going to happen when they turn home ed into a school mirror of worry, anxiety and underachieving. well i do hope parents will wake up then and sue them for abuse pronto.

Maybe we should all interfer in their personal lives and see if they like it, because this is what it boils down too.

thank you for listening lord lucas.

pat

6:42 am  
OpenID mum6kids said...

Just looking at the Ofsted response to the home ed licencing idea-and they appear sold on the view that children are owned by the state to the point where parents must be CRB checked before being allowed to home eduacate. And from Badman's bizarre question on MSbP can I assume we must all receive mental health assessments too?
Enough. I simply refuse to accept this and will not comply with ANY of it.
I have, up to now allowed the EWO into my home for a cuppa and to chat with my children and look at their work. He was a lovely man.
But I have just had enough of this horrible dishonest, meaningless review.
I wont comply.

11:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you up to Lord Lucas? You do not speak for us and we do not trust you! What are you geting out of it? We will NEVEr comply with Badman review we will just be saying NO.

3:00 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

Thankyou, mostly, for some very helpful insights.

Doubtless the HE community will open up Ofsted's activities in due course - I think it's ridiculous of them to be so up their own arses, but then if they're thinking along CRB lines perhaps that's where they belong.

I am impressed by the results of all the lobbying HEers have done with MPs - there's a good clutch who are interested and well informed, and an All Party group has formed.

Some of you seem to question the proposition that the state has a responsibility to ensure that children are receiving a suitable education. If so, I'd be interested if you could address that proposition directly. If though you just distrust the state's intentions as to how they wish to fulfil that responsibility, then I understand your arguments completely.

11:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No the state does not have a responsbility to ensure that children are receiving a suitable education it is parents who ensure this! it goes with out saying that most home educators mistrust the state! im still not sure what your really up 2 lord Lucas? we know you want a register of home educators and fine if you do not register? what else do you want how many sides of A4 do you want home educators to fill in? We as a family do not trust you or any of the other experts and M.Ps! so tell us what your up 2? whats in it for you?

2:05 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

Anonymous, to reply to you in detail:

"No the state does not have a responsbility to ensure that children are receiving a suitable education it is parents who ensure this!" We agree that Section 7 of the 1996 act places a duty on parents to cause their children to receive efficient full-time education etc. The point under discussion is: who enforces that duty, and how? An unenforced duty is no duty at all.

"it goes with out saying that most home educators mistrust the state!" Nothing like that ever goes without saying, or proof. There is certainly a nexus of mistrust around Badman, but for how many HE familes does that extend to their GP? 'Mistrust' and 'state' are very broad words.


"im still not sure what your really up 2 lord Lucas?" But at least you know who I am.

"we know you want a register of home educators and fine if you do not register?" You have to stretch the word 'knowledge' beyond breaking point to do that. Try 'imagine' or 'understand'.

"what else do you want how many sides of A4 do you want home educators to fill in?" Not even Badman wishes to make it compulsory to read my blog, let alone write on it, but I am grateful for those who do as it broaden's my understanding of the HE movement.

"We as a family do not trust you o any of the other experts and M.Ps!"
An untrusting life is a hard and unhappy one, in my experience.

"so tell us what your up 2? whats in it for you?" I am in it for my own pleasure, fulfilment and education. Whether I am at the same time useful to you is for you to judge.

3:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Lord Lucas you want it enforced by some one checks monitoring home visits box ticking reports? cos you dont trust the parent?
You do want a register of home educators dont you? will you sleep better then?
you want to ask yourself why home educators do not trust they LEA? i tell you why its because of the way they treat us when we start out on home education or id child has had a problem at a school the LEA in most cases always sides with the school blaming the parent like you do?
Diane johnson was on about 2 sides of A4 paper for home educators?
Why are you talking about GP? we talking about home education!
No we dont trust you or any M.P you only have to look at the expensive'scandal to see why one would not trust an M.P most of them did not want the public to know about this! claiming for a duck house very nice!
We just be saying no to Balls Badman and DCSF.
I still like to know the real reason your so intersted in all of this?
you do very well out of being a member of the house of Lords what perks/advantages do you get? because we do know that goverment awards peerage as a reward!
Hard working family's should be left alone to get on with the job of home educating!

4:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Lord lucas, I certaintly trust you, infact I hold admiration for your involvement and interest in the HE community.
In my opinion you have shown indepth reasoning and understanding, a will to bring your self in to the lime light to help the children of tomorrow.
I and my family are more then greatful to you.
You have a unique love there for education, the same as any home ed child, that goes along way to address your dedication to this situation.

Nan

3:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord lucas said.
I'd be interested if you could address that proposition directly. If though you just distrust the state's intentions as to how they wish to fulfil that responsibility, then I understand your arguments completely.

Firstly parents take on the responsibility with heart and sole to direct their children wisely towards adulthood. If a child is not being fulfilled in school, a parent is wiser at the understanding of the child's needs before any teacher, who only sees them in a different light. This anyone will note, from their own childhood.
When a child is HE from beginning, their whole outlook on life is much different. The parent again is the only possible person/s to be able to know all the different criteria's concerning their child.

Now if things are going wrong that are hidering the child's abilities and a one to one situation in a school environment is not addressing those needs, then as failure starts to set in, the parent is fully aware of their duty to their child, then takes on board how they theirselves can address it.

Many sadly come up against one obstacle after another, trying to do the best for the child. The school may hinder progress, or even lack insight of even being able to focus on one childs needs, without taking into consideration the other children. So in practice the child in need, only is fitted in to a programme that also fits in with others, this is not one to one tuition or even addressing the unique abilities of the child.

A child who has been HE from the start, has no waiting periods for addressing their needs, nor do ex schooled children who are HE'd.
The mistrust is there because so much is said that is never done in reality. All waiting hinders a child's progress and effects their development at their own pace.
Trust in the state does not exist as the rules etc, are laid down by them, and are only being abused.

Take for instance, a child is reading well by the time they go to school, a parent knows this good quality in them, after all they did the teaching. Well you would be surprised to know. The school will complete paper work so it "down grades" the childs abilities only because by keeping them low, it will show the school have achieved something when they fill in the data next time. (note it not for the child!)

Now if performance in schools is getting that out of hand, then surely the sense of achievement to a child is lost when they realise their own efforts have been knocked by their teachers. Parents do not do this, they praise them, motivate them, inspire, they do the whole lot. What more can a child ask for. They build confidence, gain experience when all about them is positive attitudes, not unreasonable thinking which the state inflicts on others to perform, just to produce false data!.

As for them fulfilling their duty upon home educators, then for us,its a case of, they have no bussiness upsetting the calm, relaxed atmosphere, our children flourish with thought in. To tip this balance then amounts to abuse by the state itself.

4:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

part 2
We took on home education to help our children, not put barrier upon barrier there for them to climb.
The law states it is the parents duty. Naturally and stronger then any law, is our duty to facilitate such until they are capable to finance/conduct their own life as adults.

LA's instead should take on another angle, which may see more HE'ers more willing to converse with them. Let's not forget their role, they are providing the schools with a service. So as the consumer of their services,us as the service user, should really be holding them acountable,not them holding us accountable for what we do.
The element of their duty is to provide, not judge or seek out information. So when asked; is generally the same way as it is, for other services which are out there in the community.

The La's need to extend their thoughts on helping instead of hounding. One simple way to do this, is to open their hospitality to an open hand of help and aid to home educators. Those that require materials, could then approach them on an open and shut basis the same as any outlet in the community, that lends or extends its hand out to help.

Parents are fed up with the pressure children are put under, because of red tape every where. The whole meaning of living a life, is to enjoy it, not fight your way through it for what you know is right and the principle of it.

If only lessons were learnt by all when it comes to all the tragic cases, then they would realise, its support without interference that is needed, and above all that, it is trust in a parent to be the judge and guider of their own lives, families and above all their own children.

The State itself mistrusts, that only leads to mistrust in return.

All parents have only their childs interests at heart. That should be the icing on the cake to realise that dedicated HE'ers put their children first.

Don't let them make the same mistake with HE'ers, as they have the schools.

The pressure to perform has done so much damage to children, the economy and much more.

That wisdom would have it see, that children need the Home ed outlet to flourish.

Otherwise britain will have a future where it is seen to let down the very children in schools and at home, the teachers are unable to aid and facilitate due to lack of understanding, time, resources, ability, data recording. only to persecute a parent for taking their "Duty" of responsibility into hand and doing the best for their child. Either by choice or by pulling them out of school.

The freedom of education has to stay, it is the only way a unique tailored education can be extended to all children in britain. The option is theirs to flourish wisely on.

Its time the gov. extend trust to the Home educators, not hinder them, when what their children learn and how they do, is unique and fulfulling for the child. Parents are the best judge at fulfilling that DUTY. That extends naturally to keeping them safe and well.

4:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point under discussion is: who enforces that duty, and how? An unenforced duty is no duty at all.


The Duty has been set out in law, the law has enforced it upon parents. Parents carry out their duty in accordance with the law.

The state has enforced it upon parents. Yes they follow it, but basically it,it is a natural process of life you would do anyway for your child.

Again it amounts to trusting parents. The law states it, we are not law breakers, we are caring parents.

We enforce the fact of law upon our selves to carry out our duty.

4:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an old saying, and believe it or not, it is a true one.
"Too many cooks, spoil the broth".

Now how many people do children have to take note of to guide them with honesty.? Don't frustrate them, don't muddle their minds, because they are going to be a part of this world too, but wiser and more able to deal with it,then those restricted in schools.


show trust in their abilities and you will gain trust of the parents too. Let the children do it their way, as parents facilitate they prosper with clarity.

4:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a national registration database in london, with every child born here in it. Instead of worrying about registration, is the gov.telling us contact point has not got every child on it. Have they lost children? Is that their reason for trying to find the numbers. or are they just using Home educators to filter out emigration children in the crowds in britain.
Because child protection is a laugh to use, as Home educators have their interests of their child at heart. We don't push them into doing what they don't want. WE don't want them out of our hair, we make time and give them time. So really the gov. are wasting their time in even thinking the bad of us.

5:00 am  
Anonymous Fiona Nicholson, Education Otherwise said...

Education Otherwise has just posted about the non-answer from HMI here.

http://www.freedomforchildrentogrow.org/printview.php?ID=200

Anyone interested in what Ofsted is doing might want to find out more from home educators in Barnet, Poole, Southend and Sunderland.

Fiona Nicholson
Trustee Education Otherwise

9:46 am  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

As Anonymous2 said, "The State itself mistrusts, that only leads to mistrust in return." That seems a pretty good point on which to try to turn the argument.

11:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring it on Lord Lucas cant wait! who wants to be first though our door? i got a real nice surprise for any one from Hampshire County Council attemptong to force his way in i dare them to try!

2:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ralph Lucas said...
As Anonymous2 said, "The State itself mistrusts, that only leads to mistrust in return." That seems a pretty good point on which to try to turn the argument.

11:54 AM

Thank you. Glad to enlighten you.
As the other old sayings goes. "IF A jOB IS WORTH DOING, THEN DO IT YOUR SELF"
also."IF YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER, THEN DO IT YOURSELF".
Looks like Home Educators have done precisely that.

It comes without reasoning, the quality and care our children get.
IF the gov. were to direct their energy in addressing the needs of the poor children in schools, who are limited by imagination, starved of affection while away from their families, limited advice and skills available. limited choice overall in direction for their future, then maybe the country would start to see a turn around in happier teachers who would not be so stressed by the current violence and boredom that exists in schools.

I can say, in all the years we have been educating, our children have never been bored. That inclination has never arisen because they are articulated enough to know, there is always something one can do to not waste any precious time.

Time is important to a child, something the gov. over looks when they mess around working out what is right all the time.
HE'ers get it right first time.

Respect is all we ask to get on with fulfilling our duty to our children, not as they would like to see it, as a duty to gov. that is just the illusion of it all.

And here's something you could return to gov. with.

"Give these people credit, they have taken it upon their selves, to fulfill their duty and in return sacrificed much to ensure they address all criteria's in their own children lives, as a matter of duty to their child and in accordance with the law.
Their dedication can only enhance all the qualities that are required to address all the gov. is worrying about that these children need.
They don't ask someone else to fulfil their duty, they take the responsibilities on them selves.
Trust is what is needed, trust in their decision,ability and dedication. Understand Love and that will bring you closer to that meaning".

Remember we have confidence and that inspires the children.
Those who set out and who are less confident in the beginning, very soon find the stamina to build the confidence they need.

It is a learning directive for all.

"Clearly these parents have unique insights and abililities that are different to the strengths and weaknesses of those parents who send their children to school all day".

3:24 pm  
Anonymous Dave H said...

We have more reason to distrust the state because the state has more power than the individual. The far-sighted people who wrote the US constitution realised this, which is why it has various things clearly defined.

I think that for us to start trusting the state here, the state has to make a lot of effort and be prepared to wait for several years while proving that it can maintain that effort. Too many bad things have happened with children being removed from families for obviously spurious reasons. We have wallpaper in shreds in our hallway, courtesy of one of the cats. One day I'll get around to replacing it (at the moment it occupies the cat who will hopefully not do it elsewhere) so until then I won't be inviting any police officers or social workers into the house lest they consider it grounds for breaking up my family.

7:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I be sending you a letter Lord Lucas from me Master Peter A Williams A home educated Child im posting it today first class your love it!

12:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say:
"Some of you seem to question the proposition that the state has a responsibility to ensure that children are receiving a suitable education."

The problem with the idea of the state having a responsibility to ensure that children are receiving a suitable education (besides the ideological issues) is that it assumes the State is capable of fulfilling this responsibility. The relatively high amount of young people leaving school without the relevant qualifications, indeed sometimes without basic skills, would indicate that the state is already failing in regard to the children whose education their parents have delegated to the state. Also, if the state is responsible in this regard, does this not open up the possibility of the state being sued for damages by young people who did not receive a suitable education, for whatever reason?

One might be tempted to argue that the state has this responsiblitiy for children's education because these children are the future of the state and so the common good has an interest in ensuring that their education is sufficient. However, the fact that home educators consist of such a tiny minority of the overall population doesn't indicate any danger to the state in this regard. It would be better to spend a few years (and probably cost less) conducting or funding a study to investigate home education outcomes instead of jumping to the hasty conclusion that home educators need to be registered and assessed because of some imagined educational lack.

Parents are also responsible for feeding and clothing their children, but nobody goes into their homes during the first few years of their lives to check whether they are being looked after in this respect.

"We agree that Section 7 of the 1996 act places a duty on parents to cause their children to receive efficient full-time education etc. The point under discussion is: who enforces that duty, and how? An unenforced duty is no duty at all."

This duty is already enforceable under current guidelines. If there is some suspicion that a child is not receiving a suitable education (e.g. neighbour complains that the kids are just playing in the mud all day) then the LA has the legal wherewithal to investigate this state of affairs, just as it would if someone reported that a neighbour's child appears undernourished. Also, as someone posted in an earlier comment, home educated children should already be traceable as a result of Contact Point.

Lord Lucas, I home educated my children in Germany, where I was criminilased and our family home was spied on by local government officials. I can totally understand why the recommendations made by Badman and Co. are putting people's hackles up. It's not nice to be under constant state surveillance.

5:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you get my letter Lord Lucas? i will also not be taking any notice of any news laws on home education i just be saying NO Thanks! from Peter

4:27 pm  
Anonymous David Hough said...

Now the text of the Bill is out, my first-pass take of Schedule 1 on Home Education is that there's the bare minimum language in there to allow DCSF to make up the rest once it's safely
into law.

No defined procedure to registration
No details of what is included in registration
No defined procedure to update details
No mention of any penalties for failure to update
No defined acceptance criteria for registration details
No defined procedure for LAs to follow on receipt of registration
No defined appeals procedure

Plus the wonderful bit in 19I to allow pretty much any instructions from
DCSF at any time.

At the very least we should be proposing amendments to specify every
single one of those items and remove the ability to change them via the
SI route, and definitely strike out 19I.

The only SI capability I would have in there is for the Secretary of
State to cancel the whole of schedule 1.

That and an amendment to remove section 26/Schedule 1 from the Bill completely.

9:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The governments impact assessment shows why we should not trust the majority of LA's. They are extremely prejudiced against education that does not correspond to what Balls says is a correct education.

'LAs tell us that home educators who avoid interaction with the local authority tend to be providing inferior education.'

'A survey of local authorities found that in the opinion of officers monitoring home education, 20% were receiving an inadequate education.'

If one disagrees with this government one is deemed to have something to hide. God help us!

1:15 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

I'll open another post on the bill when I have had time to digest it properly. At a first glance it looks truly horrible.

Thankyou, Anonymous, for your letter. I agree with a lot of what you say

6:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
Westminster
London
SW1P 3BT

Dear Ed Balls (MP)

I have just read the part in the Queens Speech about safeguarding the vulnerable to do with home education. How are home educated children more vulnerable than any other child? I will not be complying with the registry system or any other silly laws. No forced visits for me! My parents disagree with the review just like me. It is my own decision to disagree with the review. I have researched all the evidence (Unlike Graham Badman when he wrote it.) and have concluded that there is no need to give LA’s extra powers. Time and money would be better spent improving schools. And shouldn’t we be saving money during the recession. Why are you ignoring home educated children?

I invite you to come down and visit me to discuss this further and to see home education in action. I look forward to meeting you.

Yours Sincerely
Peter A Williams
A Home Educated Child

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lucas,
Thank you for your support.
Kind regards,
David Bentley
Chesterfield
Derbyshire

11:35 am  
Anonymous n said...

Ofsted propose that parents should have to be criminal-records checked before they are allowed to home educate. That's not some nasty joke. It's true. Click on the above link to verify.

If such a proposal is ever officially adopted, that would surely be the first time in English history that parents whom there is no reason to suspect might abuse their children are forced to consent to a criminal-records checked before they are allowed to spend time with their own children in their own homes.

In this humble commenter's opinion, no work of such an organisation should be supported until it reverses that position and apologises for it.

You have to wonder why they're putting their oar in anyway. Ditto the school-teachers' trade union, the NAS-UWT, which told Graham Badman that home education shouldn't be legal and that school attendance should be compulsory.

(And what reason did they give, you may ask? To be honest, I don't want to unpack it all; we'd soon get into the territory of sour grapes, role psychology, dogs in mangers, and maybe even the lessons of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Suffice to say, their reasoning - if we can dignify it with such a term - didn't have anything to do with either education or safeguarding. It was to do with the continuation of home education being "anomalous with" [sic] some "clear emphasis" in government policy or other. Ah, let's leave it to the "professionals". I think not!)

z

12:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure if this is still something you need to know. There was an Ofsted meeting in solihull, the inspector told us the DCSF commissioned Ofsted to look at HE. He didn't really understand why some of us were a bit cagey,even when explained I don't think one can grasp how demoralizing the burden of consultation has been and the feeling of being constantly on shifting ground as we keep getting asked the same questions whilst goalposts are being moved. He felt that it would be an impartial survey but as it is commissioned by the DCSF I have no such confidence

1:07 am  
Blogger Cloudberry said...

I wondered if you would be posting a response to the outcome of this Ofsted inspection, published yesterday.
http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/News/Press-and-media/2010/June/More-information-and-understanding-about-home-education-needed

I see Graham Stuart has responded and is "deeply concerned" that Christine Gilbert, head of Ofsted, does not understand the law.
http://www.cypnow.co.uk/news/1010795

It is concerning to the home educating community that we are again hearing these slurs and being subjected to a new barrage of negative publicity. Many of us are now trying to rebuild positive relations with our local authorities - here in Gateshead we had a very positive meeting with our Group Director of Learning and Children only last week. I find this report from Ofsted unhelpful and irrelevant.

We were very grateful for your support during the CSF Bill and I am sure many home educators would be interested to hear your views on this report.

8:15 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home