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Thinking about HE, but my council have a huge team dedicated to checking up on us.

(28 Posts)
imjustahead Tue 03-Nov-15 00:30:49

Is this the norm?
I have read so much about the rules, what you have to show etc but am totally deflated and scared of deregistering dd, after reading local council's website.

They are called Babcock, and are for the South Devon area. It sounds so pressurising, which I can't deal with. It is the very reason I am thinking about HE'ding in the first place.

help? thanks in advance for any thoughts or experiences of visits. I will, apparently be assigned a 'person' who will check up or in. wtf?

imjustahead Tue 03-Nov-15 10:12:53

bump, have a been a tad naive?!

Toffeelatteplease Tue 03-Nov-15 10:15:31

Is your child sn with statement or healthcare plan?

imjustahead Tue 03-Nov-15 10:34:58

yes, mental health problems. Not at a specialist school tho.

Am reading Education Otherwise site again and again, gleaning knowledge but trying to see how that fits with the rather 'proper' wording on Babcock's site.

I guess i am sick of rules sad

NewLife4Me Tue 03-Nov-15 10:40:48

Hello OP.

Sometimes it can be the wording they choose to use.
Our council had notes about visiting and making appointments etc that made it look compulsory.
The law is the law though and you are quite within your rights to provide as little or as much information as you want to.
In the three years we were H.ed we never saw anybody, nor did I provide samples of work.

I think the only thing which is advisable is to respond to their communication.
So if they get in touch you could just give basic information like your philosophy of why you want to H.ed

How are the rules different for statemented children, have they said?

PieceOfPaper Tue 03-Nov-15 10:44:34

As far as I know, there is no obligation to accept monitoring of any kind. However, local authorities seem to be pushing more and more at the moment. Have you been in touch with any local HE'rs to see how they deal with things?

PausingFlatly Tue 03-Nov-15 10:49:52

Given it's an outside company, I would expect to see large amounts of "make work", so it looks like they're doing something to earn their money.

imjustahead Tue 03-Nov-15 12:45:45

I haven't found anything that makes a statemented child different, so would be interested in why Toffeelatte asked about this. thanks

As it is an outside agency with an actual budget, then it makes sense that they would have so much literature i guess. I just didn't realise that our local area had such a large organisation! Just worried me, but, if i need to show them things then i will have to. It seems the main concern would be if i didn't, i would be on the road to an attendance order.

Just learning and digesting as i look into this.

customercare Tue 03-Nov-15 12:52:40

I think it's quite right that the LA monitors HE teaching

imjustahead Tue 03-Nov-15 13:05:55

do you have any experience with a LA, if so has it been positive?

lougle Tue 03-Nov-15 13:06:15

Thinking it's right doesn't make it legally so. They can ask for information but can't demand it unless they have reason to think that you aren't providing a suitable education.

ImperialBlether Tue 03-Nov-15 13:08:52

But without the information, how would they know?

StarfrightMcFangsie Tue 03-Nov-15 13:16:49

It doesn't matter whether monitoring HE is right or wrong, what matters is the law. There is no law that says it should be monitored UNLESS the LA has evidence to show that an education is not occurring.

Given that autonomous education (leaving the child to it to learn what they want when the want) is legally an acceptable form of education it is VERY unlikely that a LA will find any evidence to justify their interference/monitoring.

StarfrightMcFangsie Tue 03-Nov-15 13:17:36

Innocent until proven guilty. They don't need to know.

ImperialBlether Tue 03-Nov-15 13:36:46

I disagree. I've known some people who would have been appalling home educators. Formal education is a way of equalising children's opportunities - home educating shouldn't be a way of letting parents do whatever they want.

StarfrightMcFangsie Tue 03-Nov-15 13:46:03

It doesn't matter whether you agree or not. The LAW gives parents not Local Authorities, the responsibility to educate their children however THEY see fit.

The LA can only intervene if they believe and can evidence that parents are not discharging that duty.

ImperialBlether Tue 03-Nov-15 13:47:20

I know. Sometimes the law is an ass.


Fizrim Tue 03-Nov-15 13:52:28

If your child has a statement, then they may be getting some support at school which would presumably cease (or be very hard to deliver) if they were home educated.

I don't see how it would put your daughter under any pressure though - you, perhaps but not her. I'm no expert on HE by any means, but it seems a massive undertaking to me in terms of responsibility and if I was doing it I would expect to be checked from time to time.

ommmward Tue 03-Nov-15 14:39:25

A statement is necessary to help a child cope within a school context, by giving them the support they need. It very very often becomes completely irrelevant once school is out of the frame.

Don't let this agency's existence put you off home educating.

You write your dereg letter.
When the council or these Babcock people get in touch with you, you say "thank you so much for being in touch. In line with the Guidelines for Home Education 2007" (wrong title, but you'll find the pdf googling) we prefer to keep all communications with you in writing rather than having a visit"

They will write back and say "what is happening in the education, hmm? hmm?"

You write back and say "in accordance with the EHE Guidelines, we are taking a period of time for our daughter to deschool and settle into home education, in particular because of the trauma she has suffered within the school environment. We will be in touch in 3 months with further information about the education provision".

Over those three months, get comfortable with how your child begins to flourish out of school, see where her interests are and how they are developing. Then send them an educational philosophy "our educational approach is... we believe in..." so it's not specifics, it's your explanation of what your approach to your daughter's education is. " we think curriculums are really important, so we are following NC" or "we think it is really important that she comes out of this a confidence and independent learner so we are doing XYZ to facilitate that" whatever it is. usually about a side of A4. Then it is worth documenting some of the educational activities you have been doing, maybe categorised into academic areas (PSE, PE, literacy, numeracy, whatever is suitable to her age and stage). THen say "we intend to continue in this vein, while responding to our child's changing needs over the next year".

That's it. Don't give hostages to fortune "we will do 14 GCSEs by next Thursday" because that gives them something to judge you against.

If they want to see you, keep throwing the law back at them, unless they have reason to suppose there is a genuine welfare concern, in which case it is a matter for you to resolve with social services. There is no reason in law for anyone calling themselves any sort of home education officer or education welfare officer to be given access to your home or your child unless you want them to (and there is absolutely nothing in it for you or your child - local home educators are the ones who know how to home educate, not a bunch of council employees!)

QueenStreaky Tue 03-Nov-15 14:46:18

This is the current law. If you haven't already read it, OP, you should. It will tell you exactly what the rights and responsibilities are on both sides.

Some LAs are very poor at understanding the law. They are meant to have their own local version but some misinterpret, sometimes deliberately, to allow themselves powers that aren't legally there.

I have a feeling that Devon might be one of the awkward ones, and your OP suggests that might be the case. Certainly one of the Devon LAs rings a bell. You might want to have a look at this Facebook group which supports home educators with issues about LAs and other officialdom. Worth asking for advice there about your LA - there is bound to be someone with experience of them.

But for the record, you don't have to accept visits, you don't have to show work, you don't have to allow the LA to meet with your child, etc etc. Responsibility for a child's education rests with the parent and legally you are allowed to educate them however you see fit, as long as it is in keeping with their age, aptitude and any special needs they may have. Read the guidelines so you know.

geogteach Tue 03-Nov-15 15:15:26

I shouldn't worry about the fact that its Babcock, they are just a company that lots of LA's out source some of their functions to. Where I live they provide training for teachers and governors (and maybe other things i'm not aware of). I doubt they have any more of a budget to follow up HE than the local authority do . I happen to believe that HE should be followed up on but the reality is very little of this actually happens.

Toffeelatteplease Tue 03-Nov-15 15:39:51

Because it is easier in a non statemented (or equivalent) child.

Yes you have a right by law to home educate. But it is a legal requirement that a child receives an education.

You can just assert your right to home educate. It is certainly worth reminding them of that right.

Personally I think it can be a whole lot easier in the long run to overwhelm the LEA with evidence straight off.

When I home ed my son for a bit I sent in a scheme of work (a outline of what I intended to cover for the upcoming month), a few examples of work (demonstrating evidence of maths, English and science) and a covering letter. Frankly the lady was mightily grateful as I saved her a whole lot of paperwork.

In a statemented/ehcp child you need to show you are meeting the terms of the statement ehcp. The LEA are reluctant to take a special needs child off role if you don't do this. So in my case I included details in the covering letter of how I was working with the local and independent therapy services to provide therapy. DS was statemented and therefore in my "scheme of work" I wrote the number of each learning objective against anything I thought was relevant to that objective.

It can become very unpleasent if the LEA feel you are not providing an adequate education. All the people I have spoke to where it has got unpleasent have got tied up with their rights as opposed to recognising the LEAs duty of care to ensure a child receives an education and working with that. They don't see why they should send in evidence of work or what they intended to do. No retrospective before and after work showing progress. They are within their rights of course.

In your case I would gather as much evidence as possible for the visit, photocopy work so they can just take it away. Plaster every available wall with your child's work and educational posters. Have obviously accessible equipment needed for work (paper computer calculator etc) and an obvious work space (so for example desk, box of equipment on kitchen table .

Be scrupulously polite. Answer their questions as best you can. Ask your own "what is your role in this process" "what help can you provide?" (If their role is supporting home ed) " what do you need from me" " when do we next need to talk/do we need talk again"

Also do check actually what you are doing is home educating and not that your child is out of education. If your child is actually out of education for example they are signed off sick by cahms or school placement failed LEA have a duty to provide some kind of home education.

Toffeelatteplease Tue 03-Nov-15 15:52:05

Evidence of education doesn't just mean bits of writing maths etc. It Could also be for example photographs of your child doing work, photographs of a completed activity film, film presentation made by your child or film of your child engaging with exhibits in a science center for example

QueenStreaky Tue 03-Nov-15 16:05:13

Toffee I also find it easier, less stressful, and less time-consuming to work with the LA than it would be to stick to the letter of HE law. That said, I only had home visits for the first two years then submitted an annual report after that. But it was very detailed and left the EHE bods in no doubt that 'an education' was being provided - there was nothing they could question.

I agree that some people do get bogged down in the law and it's not always (IMO) the best thing to do. It can be exhausting and stressful to always be watching your back in case you're 'caught'. Working with the LA rather than against them is usually the best approach.

stoppingbywoods Tue 03-Nov-15 17:08:59

Yes the law is different for a child who has a statement, but I'm not quite sure how. If you go to the facebook group linked upthread you will be told in minute detail. Off the top of my head, I think that possibly you do not have the same right to deregister the child. But could be mistaken.

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