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Problems with Education Otherwise?

(28 Posts)
mysterygray Fri 06-Jul-12 11:54:14

I've name changed for anonymity.

I've just joined EO. It's taken three months to receive my pack. And the membership cards and truancy card (£1 each) are just printed on flimsy pieces of A4 paper for me to cut out.
I realise it must be run by volunteers, but I'm not very impressed.

Is there another national group which might be worth joining too?

Marjoriew Fri 06-Jul-12 12:22:36

Are you on the MN Facebook Page? You'll get just as good advice there and it won't cost you anything.

Kas32 Sun 08-Jul-12 22:13:32

Iv just received my EO pack as well after waiting 3 months & emailing them. I wasnt impressed either especially when the envelope was already open

jomidmum Mon 09-Jul-12 07:33:30

Exactly the same for me! And it took
nearly 3 weeks to get hold of a discount code for mathletics from them, as the one on the website was out of date.
I have been thinking of asking for a full refund if there is any more problems with the membership.

mysterygray Mon 09-Jul-12 09:57:11

I think you're probably right, Marjorie. And yes, I am on the MN page too.

I was hoping to use the 'card' (which was also poorly printed and might look like a DIY job on my part) to gain discounts, but there are few and they don't all seem to be exclusive to EO.

I just wondering if this was some temporary blip/upheaval, as I notice the website design has changed. I hope so. I can't see the benefits at the moment, and the general newsletters are scant (and late, as apologised for) too.

Marjoriew Mon 09-Jul-12 10:25:10

I've never been a member of EO. But I have heard and seen many complaints about the membership. I haven't had personal experience, but there are many who feel that it is more politically orientated now than when it first started up. Happy to be corrected on that though. From the truancy point of view, I have been stopped on several occasions, and at the time I had LA visits, so I carried a letter from them and was able to name the contact at the LA. Don't have visits any more, as I have refused, but we are known now so it's not a problem.

ommmward Mon 09-Jul-12 12:48:35

we were members when we first started HEing, just for a year or two.

Honestly, I think it was a really important organisation in the 1980s and 1990s, when HE was becoming established, and before the internet. But we've really moved beyond needing quarterly newsletters - how old is all the news by the time it gets into a newsletter? Almost everyone is hooked up to the internet, and advice, support, local contacts and anecdote are instantly and universally available through messageboards and email groups. And in the Badman drama a couple of years ago, the HE community really showed that it has far more connectivity than can be encapsulated in one members' organisation that represents a small fraction of HEers. The submissions to the Badman select committee hearing from HEers were from all over the place - local groups, facebook groups, a Badman action group, the HE-special email group, all sorts. EO was just one of many voices.

I wish no ill will to those who invest time and energy in running EO; it does still have a function to play, especially for families new to HE who are looking for a one-stop something-to-belong-to. But, for me, it feels rather last century as a concept smile

julienoshoes Mon 09-Jul-12 14:14:58

mmmm
I think I am correct in thinking that EO is less political than it was pre and during the Badman era.
I actually think that is a shame. Like it or not EO, along with HEAS are the two organisations that the Government talk to first-even though (as a person who went along and met with Badman and the Department of Education for EO at the time) I kept saying that there are other home educating organisations that they needed to speak to directly.
I think we need to know asap when changes are a foot.
I too was a member when we first began home educating, and then stopped when I didn't need them any more. I rejoined only because EO became more political.

Being a representative of EO has got me to places I wouldn't otherwise have been invited, and the information obtained was useful all round I feel. Organisations have listened where they otherwise wouldn't have done so.
I even had one LA bod tell me to my face that he was ignoring me because I wasn't speaking officially for EO, when at the time I was offering a personal opinion and experience about the then current train of thought by parents who I talked to online (this was when the HE 'community was very angry at the time of the Badman enquiry)

EO also tries to organise local contacts for home educators.
Through EO I have gained really useful information that I am able to pass onto other home educators-I wouldn't have gotten close to the Barrister who has helped me help very many other families for example, nor would I have had the knowledge or confidence to stand up beside home educators against LAs/SS nor had the confidence to run the workshops at HesFes all week again this year-although I should say that HesFes is in no way linked to any organisation.
Other people I know, gain their knowledge outside of EO, but it has been mighty useful for me and then through others I have hopefully helped.

EO are an organisation that is made up of busy home educating parents like me. It requires people to volunteer to do some of the jobs so that it can run more efficiently.
Not all people are on line. I am frequently reminded of that when members reach me by phone with their problems, and they don't want to/can't get to me online for advice/support. The EO newsletter does seem to have a place for some families, and the support line is very busy!

If the scant number of other volunteers are as busy as I am helping people-it takes an enormous amount of my time-then it is hardly surprising that the packs are late. It is however very regrettable.
It would be lovely if other people shared the burden. Not all posts are as busy as mine, there are plenty of small jobs that need doing and every little helps!

Before anyone starts throwing brickbats, I am not nor have ever been a trustee of EO. I do not care to be involved in that way at all.
but if any of you have ever had any help from me, then it is indirectly a result of EO.
The person who is currently most at the centre of the organisation of EO is a mumsnetter, so will get round to reading this I am sure. I don't know what the answer is to get more people volunteering, nor I am sure does she.

julienoshoes Mon 09-Jul-12 14:32:32

Oh and that wasn't in anyway meant to diminish the frustration of not receiving your pack OP. Just maybe explaining a little.

[needs frustrated emoticon]

ThreadWatcher Mon 09-Jul-12 18:21:05

Mystery - I had the same experience.
I waited for ages to receive anything. The monthly 'magazine' didnt tell me much that I couldnt find out elsewhere. The discounts were useless in my area. The members list didnt tell me about anyone that I didnt later on meet anyway.
I wrote and told them about my change of address TWICE and they still put the old one in the new members list - despite the fact that I filled in their change of address form.

I think they have done and are doing good work for the benefit of home education and maybe the benefits are worthwhile if you live in certain areas? - but I wont be wasting £20 on them again.
I am also grateful and inspired by all the great work people like Julie and Fiona etc do on behalf of HErs.

The one thing that was different for me was the membership card and truancy card - mine were both on thick plastic. (I did however ask for and pay for two truancy cards and only receive one............)

Marjoriew Mon 09-Jul-12 18:45:04

julie, I remember when I first started HEing grandson. I was due to have a first visit and you put me in contact with EO who arranged with a local EO member who lived quite near me to sit in with me on my first visit with the LA. You did me a great favour then and I am forever grateful to you for the trouble you went to.smile

ommmward Mon 09-Jul-12 19:48:28

thank you for your perspective Julie. It's really enlightening, and really helpful - I hadn't really thought about EOs continuing visibility to new HEers and to policy makers, but of course yes, that's an important part of what the organisation does (or can do).

FionaJNicholson Tue 10-Jul-12 09:38:14

According to the Companies House web check service, there have recently been some changes to the board of directors at Education Otherwise

wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/bf7364bf1ca09c4a5143459504f2968b/wcprodorder?ft=1

Carol Stone, Fe Sendall, Kathleen Thompson and Bryony McDonagh are all new Trustees, apparently.

The EO website has Shena Deuchars as Membership Secretary
www.education-otherwise.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95&Itemid=225

nickschick Tue 10-Jul-12 09:42:43

You dont need a truancy card ...all the officers do is ask for the childs name and address- weve been asked a few times.

FionaJNicholson Tue 10-Jul-12 10:53:52

erm the whole point of the truancy card is you DON'T GIVE your name and address...

instead you have something generic but official looking (so paper is bad, but plastic card is good) which says "home education is legal, no go away and don't bother me"

mysterygray Tue 10-Jul-12 11:59:33

They don't have to give names and addresses do they?

Yes, the truancy card we received was on flimsy A4 paper, and wonkily cut out. It wouldn't inspire confidence to give to my DC to take out with them.

chocolatecrispies Tue 10-Jul-12 18:39:00

I just got a letter with a paper cut-out cars, no 'pack', no member details or magazine, and the 'local contact' never responded to my email. The forums are almost empty. It has been pointless for us, sadly as I was quite keen to get involved.

nickschick Tue 10-Jul-12 20:54:33

Whenever the truancy people stop us they are accompanied by a policeman - if a policeman asks your name you tell them....why wouldnt you?? my child is home educated its not criminal.

the only concession to any 'card' we have used is one for when he was much younger that if he went out with grandad or anyone else that simply read ds name address and birthdate with my name and the wording 'xxxxis home educated it is perfectly legal that he is with an adult in school hours,he is receiving an education if in doubt please contact mrs xyz at the PRU on 6453345.

ThreadWatcher Tue 10-Jul-12 21:23:17

Choccrispies - try joining the EOsupport and EO debate yahoo groups they are busy (and free......) Also EOsingle parents if you are one!

chocolatecrispies Tue 10-Jul-12 22:25:49

Thanks threadwatcher will do so.

julienoshoes Wed 11-Jul-12 09:59:14

"If a policeman asks your name you tell them....why wouldnt you??"

Because it's a free country and we were not committing an offence?
We were stopped and didn't give our name, (I've never remembered to carry and card) I just said "she's home educated" and I was believed, which is how it should be.

A friend of mine is an EWO locally, she used to be a police officer in her pre children life and was astonished and disgusted that she had been led to believe that all home educated children had to be registered with the LA.

At least half of the home ed families I know are not known to the LA, and wouldn't want to become known, so would never give their names either.

My children were given the information about truancy laws and HE, so when out without me, if pressed they were told to just ask the Officer if he has reason to believe an offence has been committed. if he insisted on taking their names, they knew they could ask him to phone me. If all else had failed, they knew enough to have requested his number, so we could have made an official complaint.

mysterygray Wed 11-Jul-12 10:59:07

"Because it's a free country and we were not committing an offence?"

Exactly that.

catnipkitty Wed 11-Jul-12 15:19:07

I joined EO in October 2011 and it was fine - quick response, useful list of local contacts, a plastic truancy card. I get the online newsletter which I like reading even tho there's not much to it. I do think it's important to have groups which are politically active and prepared to fight for our right to HEd, whether that is EO or others.

EauRouge Wed 11-Jul-12 18:32:44

Thanks for this thread, I was planning on joining EO when DD1 reaches school age. Hopefully things will improve between now and then otherwise I shall have to rethink. The membership fee isn't an awful lot but I'd want more than a couple of bits of paper to show for it.

nickschick Fri 13-Jul-12 10:24:08

The amount of children not at school either through truancy or parental neglect (~ie they should be at school but arent) in our town is shockingly high - I think probably thats why my attitude is very different than yours with regards to speaking to the police and the truancy officers ....I dont really understand why people would choose not to inform the LA they home educate but its not my business to understand really.

I just go by the fact I have nothing to hide so am very open when stopped (which has only been 4-5 times in almost 8 years)

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