It may be that you’ve read my posts on the Home Education Review recently and dismissed it and the comments about what it means for the wider community of parents who do use schools, as nothing more than hysterical rubbish from someone who ought to not mind the idea of permission and registration and regulation and withdrawal of licences and minimum standards.
And now the government is going threaten parents with fines of up to £1000 and court action if their children are unruly, badly behaved or not upholding, in the schools opinion, their side of the “home school” agreement. An odd decision, since i think (off the top of my head) truancy is still rising despite similar powers to ‘combat’ that problem. And if you’ve never signed a “home-school agreement” (and i have) they are a bit vague and woolly to say the least.
Sometimes, maybe even often, bad behaviour will be because of bad parenting, sometimes it will be because of problems in school, the influences of other children or teachers in school or plain and simple boredom. Or lack of connection because they aren’t engaged with what they are learning, not surprising given the government is now having to alter it’s policies on educational provision to “devolve power back to schools”Â – and wash it’s hands of failing standards and cut some costs, if i’m not much mistaken. Centralised decisions on what individual children need doesn’t work apparently; we need more personalised education, suited to the needs of individual children. (Sound familiar… like, i dunno… oh, being home educated!!!!)
I’m completely convinced that bad school behaviour is not necessarily parental influence; i know a boy who behaved badly, truanted, smoked, took some things he shouldn’t have, drove cars and bikes too fast, drank far to much and eventually got expelled for persistent truanting and lack of effort. His dad is great and his brother didn’t have any of those problems as a teenager. He’d had a few problems growing up, his mum died but mostly, if you talk to him now, he says he was bored at school, because he was very, very clever and disgruntled with the restrictions on his life. He needed to live it, so he rebelled so he could.
Cleverest man i know. And i know a few. I’m married to him.
So, the bad parents probably won’t learn masses from parenting classes unless they are very lucky or very ready to change, the policy is likely to be about as effective as the truancy one and the schools, well – will they change? A staggering proportion of senior schools, despite widespread delight at their abolition, ordered voluntary KS3 SATs this year, so i’m not holding my breath.
Any way you look at it, it seems to me that parents are about to find themselves punished if the school fails to educate their child in a way that enthralls them enough to ensure they behave well and want to turn up. Which is odd, when you think about it in context of the HE Review, reviewing parents and children and forcing them back into school if they think the parent isn’t doing well enough.And even odder when you consider that the law says that a child’s education is the responsibility of the parent, which they can hand to a school if they wish. The relationship, it seems to me, ought to be more like customer and service provider, with school expected to provide a service that is good enough to be worthy of the custom.
What will the parents of these unruly kids who are facing fines do? HE isn’t going to be much of an option when the new legislation comes in, that’s for sure. The system is going to have those parents every which way.
They came for the home educating parents, but i did not speak out because i was not a home educator. Then they came for the parents who chose a bad school, but i did not speak out, because our school was good. Then they came for the parents who chose the nursery with a sex abuser as a nursery nurse, but i did not speak out, because my children went to a different nursery.
And then they came for me â€“ and there was no one left to speak up for me.
Still think i’m delusional?