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advice please(7 Posts)
hi, new to this so please excuse any foibles i may make. i have just started home schooling my DD(yr10) all going great, but was just wondering if anyone had any advice on the Education Authority visit i will be getting next week. Agreed to let LEA visit as i am following IGSE curriculum and thought i have nothing to hide or keep from them. In retrospect now though i am feeling rather anxious as to what they are going to be asking me or wanting to see. Any advice or thoughts gratefully received. thank you
A lot depends on where you are and who visits you. Some local authorities/EWOs are OK, others aren't. You could email them to say that after giving it some thought and seeking advice you have decided not to have the visit. Some people recommend keeping all communication with them in writing as then you have evidence of exactly what has been said.
thank you so much for advice OnlyTheStones im in west sussex crawley to be exact. do you have specific knowledge of the LEA service? im really crapping myself TBH as just don't know how far their questioning will go and also concerned if i reject their request to visit, that will lead to more problems sorry really acting like a woe but just really nervous about this situation.
You are legally entitled to decline their request to visit. Are you a member of any home ed groups on Facebook? Home education and your local authority is a fb group that may be able to help you decide what to do about this.
As you are feeling so anxious about it, I think you should definitely contact them to cancel the visit.
Rejecting their request to visit will not have any repercussions. They may ask you to supply some information regarding your daughter's education, which you can do in any form you like. Most HE parents are willing to do this. A popular choice is to submit an "educational philosophy", a document describing how you are going about educating your daughter. This explains your overall approach. You could list the resources you are using, list any extracurricular activities your daughter does, etc. A page or two of A4 should be fine. You don't have to be in a huge rush to produce it. But it sounds like you already have a fairly formal programme in place, so perhaps you're ready to produce it soon without too much difficulty.
Some home educating parents like me are opposed on principle to providing any details unless the LA can demonstrate reason to believe there is a problem with the education, and will not even stump up an educational philosophy as the law does not require it. But I realise that this confrontational approach is not for everyone.
Are you in England? If so, here is a link to the government guidelines to LAs on how they should deal with HE families. This should reassure you that declining a visit is not a problem.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elective-home-education
You do not have to meet with them - and I say this as an EHE officer. If it is causing you stress, you could offer to meet somewhere neutral (so you can bring it to a swift close if you start to feel uncomfortable) or just say you're happy to provide a written report instead of visits (if you are!). Again, you don't have to do this even - although it is helpful of you if you do and means I can say my duty is satisfied! I have no interest in interfering or trying to force anyone back into school as I am pro-EHE and would just like to offer support. But other officers might not be.
I can only speak for myself, but I wouldn't want any of our families to worry about my visit. I'm just happy they've agreed to meet me! There is clearly education in place and therefore no reason for them to do anything other than tick their box and leave you to get on with things. But all LAs seem to interpret the law differently. I don't know anything about your particular LA.
I meant to add also that I really wouldn't be guided by other local people's experiences with your LA. Staff change, policies change. Even when it comes to individual LA staff members, families can have radically different experiences of home visits.
On our local discussion list, sometimes a newcomer will say, "I'm having a visit from so-and-so; what's he like?" It is not unusual for several parents to respond that this individual was wonderfully supportive and helpful and should absolutely be trusted, while several other parents report that they had an awful time with the very same person and they wished he'd never darkened their doorstep!!! Sometimes we really cannot believe we are talking about the same person.
I think this underlines the fact that people have very subjective ideas about what constitutes a good education. A particular person may have a good rapport with one family and a poor rapport with another. It can be hard to predict how a visit will turn out.