Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home Education: Ofsted on free schools

The Ofsted report on home education is out this morning - not yet on their website. It's more rational about local authorities than Badman (if muted in its criticisms), has a generally supportive tone about home education, but focusses on how to help children stay in school and on how to allow local authorities to fulfil their 'monitoring duties' - Ofsted sets outs its views on these in some detail. In my view a measured exposition of what Home Education is up against with officialdom.

Good news: the current government has no interest in early legislation.

Good news for some: it's looking as if the 'free schools' legislation may allow virtual schools to be funded.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Fiona Nicholson, Education Otherwise said...

Education Otherwise has issued a Press Release on the Ofsted Report http://tinyurl.com/eopressrelease170610 saying Ofsted doesn't understand the law and the report is past its sell-by date.

Fiona Nicholson, Trustee Education Otherwise

10:40 am  
Anonymous Dave H said...

I suspect the Department of Education is having a busy day, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has emailed Michael Gove and asked him to make a statement rejecting the report as the remnants of a totalitatian government. The longer he leaves it, the more letters he'll receive.

It is interesting how these quangos can't see that the simple solution is to remove any statutory duty that LAs might think they have, thus saving time and money and possibly even abolishing another quango. Oh, so that's why they do it, self-interest and justifying their continued existence.

It's yet more proof that most inspectors are not qualified to inspect home education because they obviously fail to understand how it works or the motivation behind it.

12:32 pm  
Anonymous harry said...

No! Its tone is not "generally supportive", and its main call is the same as Badman's, namely compulsory registration. Partly so they can count us all up (because presumably the sky will fall in if they can't), and partly because of the supposed fear that HE is being used by some parents as a "cover" for abuse. It's Badmanite through and through.

Never forget that Ofsted told the Select Committee that parents should be criminal records checked before being allowed to home educate.

Ofsted's involvement in anything to do with home education has been completely discredited.

On the good side, your colleague Graham Stuart, new chair of the CSF Select Committee, issued an admirably clear response to the Ofsted report. If I might translate his words into the demotic, he basically says it's a complete crock of shit fit only for the bin.

Harry

PS There's only one 's' in 'focussed', Ralph! And you a publisher too! :-)

12:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Press release by Mr Graham Stuart M.P June 17th 2010
EWS RELEASE
June 17th, 2010

Ofsted Home Education Report Seriously Flawed Says Graham Stuart MP

Graham Stuart MP, who last week was elected to take the Chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, today condemned Ofsted’s report on home education, “Local Authorities and Home Education” as “an unpleasant hangover of the last government: a manifesto for more state power at the expense of dedicated home educators and their children”.

Mr Stuart went on, “It is astonishing that the Chief Inspector of Schools should stray onto home education and get it so wrong. In Ofsted’s official press release she says that “it is extremely challenging for local authorities to meet their statutory duty to ensure children have a suitable education”, when they have no such duty. Parents, not the state, have the statutory duty to ensure that their children have a suitable education.

“I find it deeply concerning that, after months of work, the Chief Inspector should make such a basic mistake and so utterly confuse the duties of local authorities and parents. Parents who home educate deserve our respect and awe at their dedication and achievements, not the relentless suspicion of an over mighty state.”

Under section 436A of the Education Act 1996, inserted by the Education and Inspections Act 2006, local authorities have a duty to identify children who are not receiving a suitable education in their area, so far as it is practical to do so. As the 2007 Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities make clear, however, ‘local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis’ and are only required to intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education.

Mr Stuart went on, “As local authorities do not have the power to demand access to home educated children and cannot insist on parents registering with them, the obvious and correct answer is for local authorities to improve their support for families so that more families make contact with them voluntarily. If they did this and made sure that they employed sympathetic staff who built good reputations, then the number of “unknown” children would be reduced. Such a positive approach would respect the primacy of parents in determining the education of their children and put the onus on local authorities to serve and support, rather than catalogue and monitor, families who home educate.

“Ofsted’s report has little to say about improving local authority support for home educated children and says only that the Department of Education should “consider” funding an entitlement for home-educated children to take public examinations. Ofsted’s report is seriously flawed and damaging to the confidence of home educating parents who had hoped that the relentless disinformation and bullying of the previous regime was over.”

12:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has a generally supportive tone about home education, but focusses on how to help children stay in school and on how to allow local authorities to fulfil their 'monitoring duties' -

why do you say stay in school? these children are home educated? what do you mean monitoring duties? they is no legal requirment for monitoring of home educated children?

what you mean is you want monitoring of home edcuated children and they parents? yes or no will do? so far you have refused to say?

12:29 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

No I cannot spell - have always found it difficult.

Graham Stuart as chair of the education committee in the Commons: if the government holds, which I think it will, HE should be untroubled by Badmanesque assaults. It was a narrow squeak, though, and I still think HE needs to look to its defences for the next time the tide comes in. The Ofsted report shows that his views run deep in officialdom.

12:43 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

I see that I have not answered harry.

I agree - as a report it is irrelevant. I draw only general conclusions from it: that HE is not painted as a pariah, which is progress, and that officialdom still wants to control it, which is not.

Not being a pariah is important. The previous regime in the DCSF seemed to have reached the point where they were believing every bad thing that anyone said about you.

There is a long way to go, but I cannot see any reason why HE should not find itself, in five years time, in a position where it has officialdom under control.

12:58 pm  
Blogger confirm or deny said...

I liked your question on 3 June:

"To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will be extended to academies, examination boards, the Higher Education Statistics Agency and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services."

but were you aware that the following bodies concerned with education are also outside the scope of FOI?

*Academies (state-funded schools)
*Learning and Skills Improvement Service
*Learning Trust
*Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
*Quality Assurance Agency
*School Food Trust
*Teachers TV

see also Addtofoi.co.uk

5:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you not said if your against monitoring of home educators yes or no will do Lord Lucas?

9:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should have officialdom under control. We pay for it.

Unfortunately, the usual suspects of LAs are continuing to burble the usual illegal nonsense about home education. I don't like to point out that their jobs are probably very much at risk, but, basically as public servants, if they cannot understand the laws governing home education and their restricted relationship to it, I don't see why we - the long put-upon public -should be funding their LA jobs.

Danae
http://www.threedegreesoffreedom.blogspot.com

8:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes or no Lord Lucas to monitoring for home educators?

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

answer Lord Lucus yes or no to monitoring for home educators?

3:42 pm  

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