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Really awful day today :(

(44 Posts)
CaisleanDraiochta Thu 20-Mar-14 20:07:11

I've been told I am neglecting my DD, by preventing her from having an education. I've been threatened with social services and told that if I home educate her I will have to be visited weekly by a social worker and an education officer AND prove exactly what she has learnt that week. Every week without fail.

But if I leave her in the failing school, where she is miserable, bullied and learning nothing, the same school who have refused to offer any additional support that would be just fine. It's just the fact that I care about my DD's wellbeing and want her to actually learn that is considered neglect.

angry sad and trying to hold back the tears until DC are in bed

Badvoc Thu 20-Mar-14 20:24:17

Well, that is all bollocks.
I am sure someone more knowledgable will be along shortly, but home ed is legal, and for many dc it is the only way they can access some sort of education.
When I home schooled (for a year in 2010) I was visited once by a chap from the LA. It wasn't compulsory and I could have refused, but decided to show them what we were doing and see if I could get any advice/tips. He was lovely. Very pleased with ds and what we were doing.
Ds decided to go back into school and it's been fine up to now.
Get onto sites like education otherwise - they may be able to help you word a letter to point out that what you are doing is perfectly legal and what they have told you is factually and legally incorrect.
Stress you are happy to have involve to of anyone who can help your dd access an education.
Good luck x

FavadiCacao Thu 20-Mar-14 21:17:53

Schools can just horrible. Dd secondary school referred us to SS upon learning we were changing schools (they also rang the school we were moving to badmouthing our dd). SS rang us- I was petrified- but left at that once we explained the reasons for moving.

I would recommend to join 'HE-special Uk' (a mailing dedicated to home educating children with SENs) for more support.

Also, read the pages within 'Ed your self.org'. I'm Fiona will help/advice you, if you need.

Remember that in this country, the responsibility of education lies with the parents/guardians. Choosing to send your child to school you are simply delegating your responsibility. By choosing to HE you assume/reassume your responsibility. I wish schools understood that they are privileged in educating our children and not the other way round (children being privileged to attend their establishment! )

ommmward Thu 20-Mar-14 21:35:44

Who has told you that?

If it is someone from school/LA, you need to send them a link to the home ed guidelines for local authorities

you also need to have a good read of them yourself.

The LA DO have the right to investigate the education you are providing (after you have had a settling in period) - you get to choose the form in which you provide evidence of that education (and most of us strongly recommend that you keep all contact in writing, which you are completely legally allowed to do). And the normal thing is for a LA to make contact once a year to ask how things are going. If you have contacted them once with evidence about the educational provision and they say it is ok, and then ask again within a year, you can ask them on what basis they are enquiring so frequently, and what it is they think will have changed.

If there are good reasons to suppose that there are safeguarding issues around your daughter, then YES, the school SHOULD be reporting you to Social services, but that has nothing to do with you home educating (although if you are taking her out of school to HE, then that can be the trigger for a referral where the school were keeping a careful eye before).

Sounds to me like someone is trying to bully you, honestly.

CaisleanDraiochta Fri 21-Mar-14 12:04:50

Sorry I didn't reply straight away, I got myself in such a state last night that it was too painful for me to look at screens, without my head pounding.

It was the behaviour specialist from the La who said these things to me yesterday. I now know she is also part of the attendance team and she said that she is correct about the weekly visits as she is one of the people who does them. she was also adamant that every home educated child must have a social worker and that if I didn't allow the weekly visits social services would look at it as a child protection concern.

I know what she was saying can't be right, it is contrary to those guidelines, not the experience of other home educators I have spoken to and tbh how exactly could a LA manage to fund a SW plus weekly visits to each and every home educated child in the county!

Personally I think she is very anti me home edding DD, and wants to push her to transfer to a huge local school (I feel the size alone would make it the wrong choice for DD) she won't recommend any extra support for DD at her current school, but would be able to magically provide loads of stuff if she transferred. When pushed though this seemed to consist of 'nuture groups' and little else.

Oh and she is convinced that the only reason DD has anxiety in school is because she is picking up on my anxiety about it. I said I disagreed and that actually DD has been anxious since YrR and my worries come from not being able to 'fix' the things that are wrong for her there and constantly having to battle to get what she needs. If DD had and always was happy in school, I would have no reason to be worried about anything.

Badvoc Fri 21-Mar-14 12:23:17

I would go over his person head.
She is simply lying.

ommmward Fri 21-Mar-14 15:30:17

I would write a very very careful letter to this person, asking for clarification:

"you told me in person on DATE that if I remove my child from school under WHATEVER THE SECTION NUMBER IS THAT EVERYONE QUOTES in order to home educate her, we would be referred to social services and would be visited every week. Please would you explain to me the legal basis for these assertions? I cannot see how it tallies with the EHE guidelines <linky>. If these national guidelines are not followed by our LA, perhaps you could make available to me a copy of the guidelines that you do follow"

Copy it to the head of the LA education department (explicitly, so she knows it has gone to her boss).

What has happened, of course, is that she has muddled up elective home education with children-who-are-school-refusers-but-still-on-the-books and that sort of thing, where yes, there is all sorts of intervention from the State because the parents are still making the state legally responsible for providing the education on their behalfs.

FavadiCacao Fri 21-Mar-14 17:30:05

I am on the phone again, please forgive typos/omissions.

The behavioural specialist is wrong, wrong, , wrong. My county council posts home education information amongst their education pages (you may need to search for HE); within them there is also contact number for the HE department (ours is also registered under admission). I would contact HE officer, say you want to HE (you may need to explain your reason) and ask whatbis their policy. Also, EO (education otherwise) have both a local and a SEN representative to help you.

I HE, I am known to my LA, I have child with SEN (for years we had multiple NHS specialists) but Social Services were never involved. I never refused a home visit, however I was aaked only twice. We are now going to have roughly a once a year visit, at our request, in order to have reports but more importantly references- the LA can act as a referee for both jobs and academia.

ThreeTomatoes Fri 21-Mar-14 17:37:31

yes, google "elective home education X borough" and you might find the procedures they follow (of course, whether or not they are lawful is another matter)

FavadiCacao Fri 21-Mar-14 17:44:25

Meant to also say.

I think the behavioural specialist is trying to intimidate and bully you as ommm said. I believe this behaviour (excuse pun) often stems from the misunderstanding of welfare. It is quite possible that the specialist believes that your dd would be at risk of ' missing education' and therefore a potential welfare issue. It is also quite possible that she does visit ,weekly, children educated at home who are under the LA responsibility (mostly excluded children with learning and behavioural issues).

Floralnomad Fri 21-Mar-14 17:49:07

What a load of bollocks ,and I'm sorry you are having this trouble ,if if were you I would simply ignore her ,de register and carry on . This person is clearly barmy. If I understand correctly your dd was in a normal mainstream school so there is no issue with you opting to HE .

FavadiCacao Fri 21-Mar-14 17:55:16

Sorry.

It was precisely the misunderstanding or misinterpretation of welfare (and potentially misuse) that landed us the SS call. We were moving from a Grammar school to a college. The school could not understand that a smaller class was more suited to dd and that we could provide the resources the college lacked!

TeaAndALemonTart Fri 21-Mar-14 17:58:42

I'm sorry you're going through this worry but can I ask a question?

If you have to provide evidence of actually educating her what do unschoolers do?

Roseformeplease Fri 21-Mar-14 18:00:58

Not an expert on HE but there must be some sort of checks made, not on the education itself but on the child's welfare. Surely recent cases of children being taken out of school and disappeared (killed, one in Inverness a few years ago) mean that the authorities need to be sure that a child is being home educated, not hidden. Once they have established this, maybe they will be quite happy. Over zealous social workers might, in some cases, have saved children's lives.

Martorana Fri 21-Mar-14 18:02:43

Do you currently have a social worker?

CalorHousewifeoftheYear Fri 21-Mar-14 18:10:49

Has the ed psych for the authority been involved? Does your DD have a Statement? Tactics seem very heavy handed otherwise

ommmward Fri 21-Mar-14 18:21:18

Roseformeplease - there are absolutely cases where a child is in school and the teachers are keeping a weather eye out without doing anything official, but there are informal safeguarding concerns. In such cases, the teachers ABSOLUTELY have a responsibility to refer the child to SS if (s)he is deregistered from school, since their safeguarding role is at an end.

But if there is no reason to suppose any welfare issue apart from the fact that the parents are deregistering, then the guidelines are absolutely clear that no referral to SS should be made.

Teaandalemontart - what unschoolers will provide to the LA varies.

Some will have meetings (but only where that LA official is known as understanding the principles of that approach).

The parents OFTEN send in an "educational philosophy" which is a couple of sides of A4 laying out their educational goals and principles.

It can often be problematic sending in any sort of educational "product", since, by its nature, the products of an informal education can be ephemeral (send in the sand pit in which your child did a heap of writing last week?!). Some people are also adamant that any educational "product" belongs to the person who produced it and, without permission from that person, they are not willing to let an LA person see it.

Personally, I always have a big supermarket carrier bag on the go in which I collect completed activity books/art works/ treasure hunt clues/ expired season tickets etc etc. I don't date any of it, or identify the child(ren) involved, because life is too short - I can work it out through a process of domestic archaeology if necessary. I also take photographs of a lot of the coolest stuff we do, and email them to myself so that if my phone is stolen it isn't all lost. For one of my children, a lot of their animations are preserved online, and there are a huge number of images created in microsoft paint which all get backed up every month or two. If we were ever taken to court, I would provide the court with many many bags and files of this stuff, and the LA could catalogue and sort it out themselves (there is case law precedent for precisely this approach as a successful way of demonstrating that an education is taking place to the satisfaction of the court).

ThreeTomatoes Fri 21-Mar-14 18:57:54

I'll repeat the Ed Yourself website - just had a quick look - lots of information there, i've linked to the FAQs, there is loads of info. Rose your queries are answered there too.

FavadiCacao Fri 21-Mar-14 19:01:42

Ommm, I feel sorry for your loft!
I keep imagining ours to come crashing down! I can't part with any of dc's creations, collections... smile

Roseformeplease Fri 21-Mar-14 19:17:02

We had one who was classed as "missing from education" as he stopped attending one school, signed on with ours, then parents said they were both moving house and HEing. This ended with police involvement although there were no previous concerns. I think the worry was that the child could be anywhere with no one independent to check up.

(It was all fine. We are in Scotland so might be different anyway)

ommmward Fri 21-Mar-14 19:23:44

the law is different in Scotland - you have to get permission to deregister, so the parents had probably failed to get that.

favadi - what the eyes don't see, the heart don't grieve after ;)

bochead Sun 23-Mar-14 23:50:22

I'm enduring a core assessment after our GP reported my son as missing from education right now. We'd moved into the area at the start of the school year and I'd informed the education authority of what we are doing. Made the mistake of asking the GP for a referral to OT & SALT, (which we only eventually got by self-referring to the local pead and going through him!).

Means a nosy cow comes every week to see what we are doing - she's obviously keen for DS to go back to school, but it's my parental right and I'm absolutely convinced DS is learning far better at home than he did in school and we can easily prove his progress both socially and academically, so I let her ask her inane questions and offer her a cup of tea. Hopefully eventually she'll get bored & go away cos not a lot happens except legitimate learning activities and trips out to kids social activities in our household. It's easier for her to waste a morning at my house than at a pitbull owning junkies.

Stick to your guns - it's a form of bullying. DS's last school experience was so horrific that we relocated because of it, and I'm not sure he'll ever be able to attend school without feeling worried again. The irritation of a full morning wasted every week by a SW visit is a small price to pay for a happy, contented child that is finally able to learn.

bochead Mon 24-Mar-14 00:02:17

Sorry meant to say the legal justification for ours is that DS is a "child in need" as he is statemented. This is not the same as child protection, though everyone knows that if you offend a SW it can turn nasty on a penny. I tolerate it cos at the end of the day, she might even turn out to be useful in someway (SWers do seem to have a lot of influence in all kinds of areas from housing to health and can make referrals to all sorts of hidden schemes for disabled kids that us mere mortals are never even told exist!).

Floralnomad Mon 24-Mar-14 10:12:28

bochead is it a HE person from the council who visits or an actual social worker ?

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 24-Mar-14 10:23:16

So would any child with a statement be classed as a 'child in need' or is it just the ones who are home educated? DD is statemented but its mainly down to her inability to cope in a school setting. Take her out of the class room and the majority of her difficulties disappear completely.

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