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Opting out of mainstream education

(7 Posts)
wheresthelight Thu 06-Aug-15 17:37:30

Hoping you guys can help me out please!

A very dear friend has battled for years to get her ddto attend schools, her dd has Sen but has historically not got the support at school and as a result has fallen massively behind. As a result her self confidence is non existent and her learning has suffered.

In spite of working with the authorities to keep her dd at a school she is now being threatened with court action and fines.

They have tried council sponsored home education which unfortunately was done by a elderly lady who really had no interest in trying to win over my friends dd. she wants to remove her from the mainstream school system (UK) and home educate herself. Her dd will never achieve the required grades in core subjects and she is resigned to the fact that life skills and basic numeracy and literacy is about all she can achieve and this has been agreed by the school and authorities.

Can anyone give me some advice on how she goes about removing her dd from the mainstream system?

Thanks in advance

wheresthelight Thu 06-Aug-15 17:39:40

If it matters her dd is 15 and should go into year 11 in September but has a reading and writing age of about 7 due to abuse and neglect when she was a baby (friend adopted her when dead 5)

ommmward Thu 06-Aug-15 17:50:08

If she is in England, and if she is in a mainstream school (rather than a special school), then your friend needs to write a letter to the school, informing them that she intends to deregister her from school to educate her at home.

That's it.

(If in Scotland, or if in a special school, it's a little bit more complicated)

After that, tell her to come here to get some support - there will be a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the council because they'll want to make sure there is a suitable education taking place, and we home educators are pretty militant about making sure councils follow the law (basically: you should get a recovery period after a child is taken out of school, while you work out what approach will work with that child. Six months would be about right as a minimum. Also, the parents get to choose the form of evidence they provide - the council cannot demand a visit, or to see a portfolio of work, or anything).

If the girl is not going to be under pressure to achieve qualifications at this point that's GREAT - it means that she can gently learn in her own way for now, and then get qualifications through college if and when she is ready. Please please do get your friend to get hooked into the home ed network around her. And send her a link to the pdf of the Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and get a Life.

Exciting times!

wheresthelight Thu 06-Aug-15 19:13:41

Thank you!!!

I have said I will go with her to th emerging with the council as I used to be a primary teacher many moons ago so can help with lessons etc but have never really had much to do with the home ed side of things and knew you guys would be brilliant for help

Saracen Fri 07-Aug-15 22:11:03

Your friend doesn't HAVE to meet with the council at all if she doesn't want to. If she is fairly sure she wants to do this and that the council have nothing useful to offer her, it might be a waste of time.

I agree with ommmward. Further to what she said, there is a relevant point which your friend probably knows but may have lost sight of during the to-ing and fro-ing with school over the years. That is, young people with significant learning difficulties do not fit very well with the school system's method of stuffing education intensively into pupils during their "childhood", with the expectation that they will stop learning at the key age of 16 or 18, and the consequent angst about getting them to achieve the best possible qualifications before it is Too Late and they are lost to the system.

With the right support - which I'm sure your friend can and will provide - her daughter is likely to make very significant strides in her learning until well into her 20s. This means it isn't appropriate to get too hung up on which qualifications she might achieve in the next few years. There's no hurry. It's hard to predict where she might be in ten years' time. Perhaps she will go much further than anyone now imagines possible.

This is a long game. While it's true that her daughter is now entering her final year of being "compulsory school age", that is just a quirk of the legal system. She is still not very far along in her life path. Her actual education is just beginning, and stretches out for years into the future.

It may take a while to rebuild this teen's shattered self-esteem so she feels ready to engage with learning, but it can be done. Removing her from an environment where she isn't getting what she needs is the first step.

NewLife4Me Fri 07-Aug-15 22:27:25

I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above, and would like to add what a lovely friend you are.

Every school I attended they told my parents not to expect too much and academically I'd never amount to much.
After leaving school with nothing I finally gained a degree and Post grad quals in my 30's. grin

I'm sure it would be the making of your friends dd, and wish her all the best.

Personally, I too wouldn't bother with your LA apart from answering their requests if required to by law. They haven't done anything that has worked so far.

wheresthelight Sat 08-Aug-15 08:46:10

Unfortunately I think the council meeting might be a necessity as they have been heavily involved with things at the moment and because they tried keeping her registered at school but having tutoring at home there may be complications which we would rather iron out now iyswim

I adore my friend, she is a single mum and both her dds are adopted. Dd1 has so many issues stemming from abuse and dd2 was neglected as a baby/toddler and really cannot make emotional bonds with anyone.

She has given those girls a life they would never have had and they absolutely worship her. They are lovely girls and dd2 has thrived at school thankfully. But that in itself has caused issues for dd1 as she sees her younger sister achieving at a level she thinks she can never achieve.

My argument is the goals set by mainstream education have been too high and have overstretched her and she now needs to have much smaller goals that are easy for her to achieve so that she can start to rebuild her confidence and self esteem.

6 years ago she couldn't count do maths at the level they wanted, she had no idea about addition or subtraction and multiplication was a swear word. After a year of weekly lessons she passed her sats with grades that shocked her teachers. They expected y1/2 results and she achieved y3/4 levels. Half the issue was she had no idea what they had been trying to teach her. She didn't understand he methods they used and by going back to number lines, multiplication squares and hundreds/tens/unit tables that are no longer used on the curriculum she finally understood and thrived. It took months of hard work for me and her but I was sooooooo proud when she did it! We had rewards she had to earn like trips to the local "fun" pool or ice skating, cinema trips etc. not entirely sure what blackmail rewards I can use with a stubborn 15 year old but we will get there!! I don't care if it take 10 years, that girl can achieve what the school have written her off for!

Thank you everyone for your help! I am sure I will be back for more help grin

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