Consultation Questions My responses (others do it far better!)
1. Do you agree that these proposals strike the right balance between the rights of parents to home educate and the rights of children to receive a suitable education?
Disagree: These proposals recommend uninvited entry into the homes of innocent people on the presumption that they may be guilty and so should prove themselves innocent.
These proposals recommend stricter controls in many areas where educational provision is being relaxed in schools because over control has been seen not to work for child or teacher.
These proposals no not allow for the right of a child to remain unseparated from its parent (UN Rights of a Child) nor for its voice to be recognised if they ask not to be inspected or interviewed alone. The recommendations seem to suggest that a child’s voice should only be recognised if they comply with the invading adult authority.
These proposals invade family privacy, parental rights and the right in law to educate a child in a way that suits their specific needs.
2.Do you agree that a register should be kept?
Disagree: The plain fact of the matter is that only the parents with nothing to hide (assuming they are not 100% of the community anyway) will register. Anyone with anything to hide will not register, rendering the system useless and costly and harming the innocent family lives of people who deserve the right to privacy and trust.
ContactPoint, Child benefit records, birth records and medical records (all government database) ought ot give anyone who wants it an accurate picture of what children exist anyway.
3. Do you agree with the information to be provided for registration?
Disagree: This is not registration, this is yearly licensing, outside the legal status of home educating parents.
No parent should have to apply for a licence to educate their child as they see fit. parents do not have to apply for a licence to continue to send a child to a failing school, yet their responsibility for the child’s education is exactly the same as an EHE parent.
4. Do you agree that home educating parents should be required to keep the register up to date?
Disagree: This is almost irrelevant. It will be impossible to do or administer and only the law abiding parents with confidence their EHE status will remain will do so. Criminal proceedings against parents exercising their legal right to EHE simply because they don’t wish to be catalogued is a major breach of the government’s contract with the people (the people of this country) who employ them.
5. Do you agree that it should be a criminal offence to fail to register or to provide inadequate or false information?
Disagree: See above.
6a)Do you agree that home educated children should stay on the roll of their former school for 20 days after parents notify that they intend to home educate?
Disagree: I cannot think that this would be anything other than an administrative nightmare at best and at worse an opportunity for a child or its parents to be bullied or cajoled into returning. It is easy enough to allow absence if a child and the parents need some time to think. There is no useful purpose i can imagine would be served by such a legal amendment.
6b) Do you agree that the school should provide the local authority with achievement and future attainment data?
As the PARENT always was and will become even more responsible for the future of the child, i think this would be best provided to the parent. Schools can make up whatever they like about “future attainment” but it is relatively a nonsense – attainment changes, as do needs, desires and aspirations. At best this information would be expensive space and time wasting and at worst a pointless and potentially bullying piece of misinformation.
7.Do you agree that DCSF should take powers to issue statutory guidance in relation to the registration and monitoring of home education?
Disagree: The DCSF and the LAs already have plenty of powers and expensively created guidelines, issued only 2 years ago. More control equals more invasion into family life and more bureaucracy in an already far too powerful department which has, in any case, far bigger fish to fry. Like sorting out the mess our education system and Social Services system are in.
8. Do you agree that children about whom there are substantial safeguarding concerns should not be home educated?
Disagree: May i suggest that unless you plan to take these children into care, there is not a great deal of point to this question. If children are in danger from their parents, they should not be in the care of their parents and SS should be dealing with that. If an HEd child is ‘in danger’ and is sent to school for 6 hours a day, they will still be in the care of their parents for the other 18 hours of the day. What do you plan to do about that?
9.Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises where home education is taking place provided 2 weeks notice is given?
Please consider changing the law first so that you have the right to force entry to our homes. Then we can genuinely call this a police state. And while we are at it; i’ve heard the DCSF has some politicians employed there. I would like to force entry to your homes to check that you haven’t been claiming any expenses you shouldn’t have. I’ll give you 2 weeks to hide the evidence first but then i want to interview your staff and children about it. Does that sound okay? After all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.
Quite seriously, many HEers are all to happy to have home visits. Others are not because it makes them, or their children uncomfortable or the exercise their right to privacy in their own home. An English person’s home should still rightly be their own, private, castle.
10. Do you agree that the local authority should have the power to interview the child, alone if this is judged appropriate, or if not in the presence of a trusted person who is not the parent/carer?
Disagree: A criminal has more rights than this. If you are trying to alienate parents who love and care for their children and want what is best for them, thengo no further than this. Think of the man hours, if not of the trauma and distress caused to young, often vulnerable. You will need at least 2 people, both CRB checked, both with Child Protection courses, to ensure neither is accused of abuse while alone with a child. You will need a note taker and possibly recording equipment to make sure it is safely done. And you will need policemen to hold back the parent who feels their child is being abused by the state. And the paper work will be horrendous.
And frankly, if you imagine i will let ANYONE take my 5 year old into a room alone and trust that she will be listened to and not asked leading questions, you must be joking. If anyone asked her “wouldn’t you like to go to school and have lots of fun and friends?” she might say yes, to please you and get back to her mummy as quickly as possible.
That no more makes her answer her real experience any more than asking a child what they did at school today and being told “nothing” is the full story.
11.Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises and interview the child within four weeks of home education starting, after 6 months has elapsed, at the anniversary of home education starting, and thereafter at least on an annual basis? This would not preclude more frequent monitoring if the local authority thought that was necessary.
Disagree: This appears to be largely what happens anyway. However, it is often unhelpful to the deschooling family and due to the wide variety of experience an EHE officer has, the visit is often on no value to the family. I have never once had a useful piece of advice from my perfectly reasonable and nice LA visitor.