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LEA want to inpspect me - I'm only 3 weeks in HELP!

(12 Posts)
nomoreamover Tue 20-Jan-09 10:10:30

Had a letter from LEA saying

(disclaimer - obviously this is my interpretaion of their letter!!)

"congratulations on deciding to HE - please fill in this large and interfering questionnaire on how you propose to meet all the targets we set so we can then send out an inspector to inspect you. Oh and btw we will be doing this every 6 months......."

HELP! - I thought legally they couldn't "inspect" me - and at the moment I am allowing DS a period of deschooling ie he is doing alot of playstation to get him over his slightly traumatic experience of school. They are going to laugh in my face aren't they?

TheButterflyEffect Tue 20-Jan-09 12:50:47

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electra Tue 20-Jan-09 12:54:30

Crikey - I think I would reply that at the moment it's not convenient. Do you know the legal position?

AMumInScotland Tue 20-Jan-09 13:39:45

Hi nomore - I've just bumped up the "websites about home ed" thread as this has the web addresses for the main organisations - do read up the legal sections of those to clarify just what the LEA can and can't do.

I would reply saying "thanks for the letter, we are at an early stage in HE so I will reply to you in 6 months explaining our plans for X's education". That way, they can't claim you're ignoring them, but you haven't made any committment.

They have no right to inspect you, or to require you to fill out a questionaire. You do have to provide information if they ask, but they have to be reasonable about timescales and can't demand the information in any particular format or hold it against you if you don't do what they ask.


onwardandupward Tue 20-Jan-09 13:49:08

DON'T PANIC (in big friendly letters)

There are established ways for dealing with this sort of harrassment friendly interest.

I can't remember the exact way people recommend that you word it, so if Julienoshoes doesn't come along soon, you might be best to post this exact message on, for example, the HE-UK list and you'll get people telling you the way to respond.

But in a nutshell, you are perfectly within your legal rights to say "thank you so much for your letter. Please piss off for 6 months while we establish our educational routine. After that time, you are welcome to contact me again in writing to discuss the educational provision I am making for my son".

You can address them point by point - all you need is to have a copy of the current guidelines for LAs so that you can say "Of course, I don't need to fill in your questionnaire because the questions you are asking are not applicable to our style of provision. And of course I note in the guidelines that visits are not a necessary part of you assessing my provision. And in section 3.11, you are supposed to give me a reasonable amount of time to settle in to HE, so that's where the 6 months comes in". You could even say that you are following well established precedent in spending some time with your son helping him recover from the school experience.

HTH. But really, join the HE-UK list, because there are posters on there from whom the devastating phrases just trip off the fingers

julienoshoes Tue 20-Jan-09 14:18:21

Here I am
I agree that joining the HE-UK list-folks there are very strong and know their LA stuff.

What I usually suggest is saying something along the lines of;

In response to your enquiry about the home based education we are providing. We are well aware of the responsibilities placed upon us, under Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.
You will be aware that we have only just begun to home educate and need some time to settle into it.
We see that case law suggests it is reasonable to have a settling in period.
In the Perry Case, Lord Slade said:

"Prima facie this opportunity will appropriately be given (as was done in the present case) if the Authority, having first allowed the parents a sufficient time to set in motion their arrangements for home education,"

(R v Gwent County Council Court of Appeal (Civil Division) 10 July 1985 JUDGEMENT BY-1: SLADE LJ)
So as per this directive, we will get back to you by insert date, but would suggest at least three months..... with information about the education we are providing.

Getting yourself this breathing space, should allow you time to see how home education is working for you, will give you time to gather your thoughts on whether you want to have a home visit or whether you would prefer to send in an Educational Philosophy and written report

nomoreamover Tue 20-Jan-09 15:47:05

I don't object to the inspection per se as Ofsted pop in to see me tri annually for childminding anyway but with CM I am experienced and have been doing it a while plus I know I am good as Ofsted have said so so these visits are not a trauma for me. BUT I like to be prepared and get my feet with something new before being asked questions on it - and a visit this soon is just not cricket IMO.

Thank you for the replies - I was pretty sure from what I had read on EO that this was pushing their limits of power....I am hoping its because they want to be supportive and helpful but as I have worked for them in a previous life I know this isn't likely!

AMumInScotland Wed 21-Jan-09 09:18:44

Some families do find that having a home visit is no problem, and perhaps simpler than writing up a statement, but it's important that you are clear that they are not "inspecting" you, and have no right to do so, they are just meeting with you in order to find out how you are going about educating your child and (maybe but don't bet on it) how they might be able to help you.

If they start behaving in a way which makes them seem to be doing an inspection, or requiring you to provide information in ways which suit them and not you, then you should always feel able to stand your ground and insist on your rights. If you know what your rights are, and are confident in dealing with officials that can be fine, but some people are not sure enough or not confident enough and for them it may be better to do everything in writing, when they can get advice beforehand, or else to have someone more experienced with them for the visit.

But whatever you choose to do, I don't think anyone can claim you're being unreasonable to delay for a few months so that you are more established in what you are doing.

nomoreamover Wed 21-Jan-09 10:26:37

well put muminscotland thank you - I can see the benefit of written statement when you put it like that. I do get a bit flustered when put on the spot and am probably not that confident yet to stand my ground...

Have written to them saying that in due course (and no later than Easter) I will be forwarding them their questionnaire and an ed phil. I have stated clearly that I have fulfilled the legal requirement re. de registering and that as I have given them a definitive date by which time they will get a written statement of how I will go about DSs education, I trust this more than covers my legal obligation to them as LEA. I also pointed out that as an early years professional who also happens to have QTS - I am sure I am capable of providing a suitable and robust education for my children.

I think that covers me for the time being and I have bought some time to decide how I want to deal with the LEAs "demands"

Thank you for your input - its nice to get backup from more experienced HErs!

TheButterflyEffect Wed 21-Jan-09 11:40:58

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nomoreamover Wed 21-Jan-09 11:47:21

butterfly - at the moment its easy because they are all following the EYFS - so we're all skipping along happily! I'm quite structured in my approach to childminding so my eldest just joins in with what we're doing as well as getting independant "playtime" when babies are sleeping. Its early days but so far so good!

TheButterflyEffect Wed 21-Jan-09 11:51:43

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