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Is this being reported anywhere?

(203 Posts)
sorky Sat 13-Jun-09 09:59:16

I bought the Independent this morning thinking there would be a mention or even an article in there on this whole nonsense and there is absolutely nothing!

This is the worst thing that could happen, for it to sail through unnoticed unchallenged

Is it in any of the other papers?

2kidzandi Sat 13-Jun-09 11:45:36

Apart from thursday when the result of the review was published in the telegraph, guardian, daily mail etc. I've seen nothing since. The Telegraph have given ther own opinion of the review on their blog space and are being very positive to Home ED, denouncing the review as an intrusion into family life. Their comments page was still going yesterday, but no, today I haven't seen or heard any coverage elsewhere, including the radio.

Looks like this will be passed through unnoticed, like the oyster cards that detail every journey you take, contact point that holds every bit of info about your family, and ID cards.

Callisto Sat 13-Jun-09 11:51:47

I think there is a Telegraph article, though poss not in today's paper.

Sadly, the constant erosion of civil liberties in the UK is rarely deemed newsworthy by our partisan and blinkered media.

Kayteee Sat 13-Jun-09 12:21:34

I have just boshed a strongly worded email to my twonk of an MP. I really think we should at least all do this. Nothing to be lost by letting them know we're not going down quietly sad

Gorionine Sat 13-Jun-09 12:31:51

Can I ask a genuine but potentially ignorant question? Is this about the possibility of doing OFSTED type checks on HE children? why would it be so bad?

I am just wondering as I have no experience in HE myself.I will have to leave my desk for at least a of hours but do not worry, I will be back as I really am interested in views on it from someone actally in the "know" as we had a little chat about it at a toddlers group and the general opinion, (no HE parents there) was rather positive towards this type of checks.

robberbutton Sat 13-Jun-09 17:30:54

Nothing in the Times today either sad.

Gorionine - where to start? The whole purpose of the review was apparently to find out if HE was being used as a cover for child abuse. There were found to be no concerns about this at all.

What do the Government propose anyway? The registration of all HE children, the right of access to our homes, the right to talk to our children without parents present, the right to prescribe a curriculum, the right to subject our children to tests, the right to decide who can and can't HE based on suitability (and we all know how open minded and understanding officials can be), they want to prevent schools and LAs informing families that HE is an option for their children.

In law, it is the parent's responsibility to ensure that their children are educated. The Government want to oversee and usurp that responsibility based on NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that Home Educators are not doing a good job. It is just more control that they want over our lives, over the way that people are choosing to live in a perfectly legal and valid manner.

robberbutton Sat 13-Jun-09 17:37:38

Aside from a complete infringement of civil liberties, there is valid concern that a whole way of choosing to HE, that of autonomously educating (AHE) (following the child's interests, at the child's pace, doing what the child wants to do) is under threat. This way of 'educating', or bringing up a child, is hard to understand for people who have had no experience of it, but it has been proved time and again that it works.

The new proposals, of providing a plan for the next year, setting curriculum guidelines, tests etc, are completely against AHE and are something that AHE families are going to be unable to comply with due to the very nature of what they do. And they will undoubtably be penalised for it.

LaDiDaDi Sat 13-Jun-09 17:41:26

If I HE'd then I'd be cross about some aspects of this.

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have to register as HE rather than just dereg from school or never register (would give everyone a clearer idea of the numbers of children involved and their distribution which might be helpful) and I don't think that it's a bad idea for parents and children to be met say once/year to see how things are going.

It is wrong imo if LAs and schools aren't allowed to inform that HE is a perfectly valid option and the idea of the government having a right to force a curriculum or tests on HE'd children is just ridiculous imo especially as these aspects of school are what many who HE want to avoid and are the aspects of school that are most controversial.

robberbutton Sat 13-Jun-09 17:43:22

Also, this level of intrusion into family life is something that concerns everyone, especially parents.

I.E. at the moment, school is only compulsory once a child reaches the age of 4 or 5. What about those under that age? Who is going to be checking that they are not being abused, if they don't go to nursery or a childminders or anywhere? Who is going to be checking that the parents are doing a decent job of bringing up their children, as they obviously can't be trusted without official inspections?

Perhaps that is something that might concern the parents at your toddler group sad.

http://notatschool.today.com

seeker Sat 13-Jun-09 18:05:54

I didn't think there was anything about prescribing curriculum or testing - did I miss that?

And the LEA has a right at the moment insist that a child goes to school - i don't think they ever do though.

The right to interview a child alone would, if I'm understanding properly, only be used if there were reasons to be concerned - which we all agree there practically never will be.

And they have to give at least 2 weeks notice before visiting.

I may be very thick, but I don't understand what's wrong with this. There ARE children who are de reigstered, or not registered at all for bad reasons. Not many, but a few. If this will help to protect them, what's the issue?

Kayteee Sat 13-Jun-09 18:58:50

Seeker,
You have completely missed the point here. How the hell is visiting a child once a year going to prevent abuse ffs?

Do you think it would be fair, for example, if some complete stranger were allowed to force entry into your house to interrogate your dc, without you present? Don't think it can't happen because we're looking at this scenario in the face here and it's no joke. I will not give up my, or my dcs' freedom that easily.

What about pre-school kids who don't go to nursery/have a childminder? What about school holidays, weekends when they are not being "watched over" by the state? Perhaps we should all have CCTV cameras installed in our houses, just in case one of us might abuse our dc?

You don't see the problem??? [beggars belief emoticon]

Gorionine Sat 13-Jun-09 19:00:00

Robberbutton, thank you so very much. the question you raise about under 4's is a very valid one. No, I wouldn't like to have someone inspecting my parents skills to be honest would feel invaded.

I had always assumed that HE children had to follow some sort of curriculum so it is a surprise to me that they don't. It reminds me of "Summerhill" if it was not a boarding school and it was a bit less pricey I would send my children there! because I would be a very bad home teacher myself!

Although I have not heard of many cases of child abuse where the school was the one to raise the alarm I think in most people's mind it could be the case and an abuse child who does not attend school would have less ways of being detected IYSWIM? so that is probably why they think inspections and registration are a good idea. But I do understand why it feels uncomfortable for you. I do think though, that if you refuse an inspection too loudly, they might think you really have something to hide? and that would not serve your cause in the long run? It might give you the peace of mind of knowing that not only you are doing the right thing by your Dcs but that you also do it very well?

I will pass the link to the mums I was having this discussion with so they have a less biased view on it. they are a good bunch, bit like a real life MN!

Kayteee Sat 13-Jun-09 19:00:23

Also, perhaps you could name the cases of abuse that you are talking about. I bet I can guess the names you're going to trot out.

grin

Gorionine Sat 13-Jun-09 19:01:51

Oh I forgot, I have several friends who are childminders and they are definitely being "OFSTEDed"

robberbutton Sat 13-Jun-09 19:04:56

seeker RECOMMENDATION 2: "That the DCSF review the current statutory definition of what constitutes a “suitable” and “efficient” education... [the review] should not be overly prescriptive but be sufficiently defined to secure a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated
curriculum..."

= prescribing a curriculum

RECOMMENDATION 7: "That parents be required to allow the child through exhibition or other means to demonstrate both attainment and progress in accord with the statement of intent lodged at the time of registration."

= testing

There are no conditions attached to the right of access or right to speak to the child alone - phrased as it is at the moment the LA would not have to have any previous concerns.

robberbutton Sat 13-Jun-09 19:17:19

Gorionine If curriculums are prescribed for HEers, then all kinds of private and alternative schools are also going to be next in line to have their freedoms curtailed, exactly like the Summerhill school. People's options to choose alternatives for their children will be completely wiped out.

This is exactly the case in Germany, where HE is illegal and your children can (and have been) taken into care if you try and do it. And guess who brought this into effect? Hitler, in the 1930s. An excellent model for this country to follow, don't you think?

Also, the trouble with the abuse is that it HASN'T been found to be the case - homeschooled children ARE NO MORE AT RISK. We have 'innocent until proven guilty' in this country, apparently, but not for HEers - we have to be checked up on just in case. Aside from which, if it was about abuse, where are the rest of the recommendations re: curriculum coming from anyway?

Gorionine Sat 13-Jun-09 19:29:49

Surely there is a middle way between Hitler's way and no checks at all?

I will tell you how I thought it was done (I do not know if I had heard it somewhere or I just invented it because it seemed logic to meblush. I thought the itf you HE your DCS, when sats or similar where on HE DCS had to take part in them like the others. If it is not the case, it could be an idea? or would it horrifie you? It would allow you to use whatever method works best for your DCs and yourself and prove to "the system" that HE really works?

FWIW, I do not think at all it is a case of HE children being MORE at risk but being LESS detactable IF and WHEN they are abused, but maybe I misundertand the whole issue.

Gorionine Sat 13-Jun-09 19:34:08

I just found an example to expalin better what I mean. If I was abusing my children , there is a possibility that in school, someone would pick up on it and raise the alarm. If I was abusing my DCs but not sending them in school the chances of the abuse being picked upon would be lower. I think this is the reason why they are thinking of introducing inspections, not because statistically there is more risk for HE children to be abused.

nappyelite Sat 13-Jun-09 19:36:17

My girls have their own interests that they choose to follow, and they follow them well, but to force them to study something which holds no interest for them would be like trying to push water with a fork.

I think the problem is that these guidelines are trying to be set by someone with no experience of HE who is trying to lay the blame of recent high profile abuse cases away from the departments who should have been involved and doing something to prevent them. It is easier for them to pick on a misunderstood minority rather than a government legislated group. It is also easier for Mr Balls to agree with and sign off on Badmans (mis)information rather than actually take the time to look into it himself.

robberbutton Sat 13-Jun-09 20:10:36

Gorionine, of course it's not as drastic as Hitler's Germany yet, except that, as I explained earlier, people's right to AHE might no longer exist.

But it's not inconceivable.

At the moment, if you HE you do not have to follow any curriculum nor subject your children to any tests. And that's why many many people choose to do it. Like I said, hard to understand, but legal and valid and proven to be incredibly effective.

Also, at the moment local authorities do have the right to check up on you if they have a "reason" to be concerned, i.e. some HE people get reported on by neighbours, children who had problems at school and were taken out will be followed up on etc.

But now they want the right to access everyone's home whether they have a reason to or not. Which places HEers under an automatic umbrella of suspicion. Exactly like people have been saying - police aren't allowed to enter your home without a warrent, just to check that you are not committing a crime.

2kidzandi Sat 13-Jun-09 21:53:00

Just to clear up the false impression that this review is really anything to do with concerns about abuse. Here is a direct quote from Ed Balls in his response to Graham Badmans review: "I am reassured that your review found *NO EVIDENCE* that home education is being used to cover up forced marriage, servitude, or child-trafficking."

O.k. but hang on a minute lets roll back time a bit to around January, where the aim of the review was said to be to:

'consider what evidence there is to support claims that home education could be used as a 'cover' for child abuse such as neglect, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude'.

Well forgive me if i'm wrong - I'm not known for always being the brightest button in the sewing box - but surely in the absence of any actual evidence of abuse the case should be closed, with the expected worse being the need for HEers to registrate? The equation (stealing your format robberbutton) should be something like this:

Aim: to find out if abuse including forced marriage etc etc is happening.

*Should =*

Conclusion: No evidence of any such thing and so no need for heavy measures.

*Instead we have:*

Aim: to find out if abuse including forced marriage etc etc is happening.

*Will =*

Mandatory yearly registration. Arbitrarily imposed minimum standards. Mandatory testing of achievement. Assessment of suitability. Mandatory access by officials. Mandatory questioning of child without presence of parent. Inability to have childs name withdrawn from school register for 20 days. Achievement targets. Imposition of 'Broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated
curriculum.'

Does this equation seem balanced to anyone on here? Because if it does then I readily admit that perhaps I am missing something. What this says is that the notion of abuse was just a cover to achieve their real agenda of turning HE and everything else into a branch of governmental bureaucracy, my house and family included.

Kayteee Sat 13-Jun-09 21:58:20

Hey 2kids!!

I have been ranting all day on here...I really should get out more...the boys haven't been "seen" all day...better get them out of the cupboard grin

Kayteee Sat 13-Jun-09 21:58:39

Great post btw!!

seeker Sat 13-Jun-09 23:01:37

"Do you think it would be fair, for example, if some complete stranger were allowed to force entry into your house to interrogate your dc, without you present?"

I would be completely outraged. Of course.

However, if I were a home educator, I don't think I would object to someone like an OFSTED inspector coming to have a chat to my children with me there at a pre arranged time with at least 2 weeks notice. Which is what the new proposals actually suggest.

anastaisia Sat 13-Jun-09 23:19:39

OFSTED inspects schools on behalf of the parents who are legally responsible for their childrens' education. They are reporting on a service provided for the parents and funded by tax payers.

Home educating parents do not need feedback from OFSTED to know how they are doing at meeting their educational responsibilities. They are there in person and can see what they are doing and how it is received by their children for themselves.

What you are saying the proposals say are only one or two of TWENTY-EIGHT recommendations. For a review that was only supposed to look for evidence that home ed could be covering abuse - and found none that's a lot of recommendations to be making. Funnily enough, Ed Balls completely accepts the recommendations for compulsory annual registration but thinks that the LAs needing training (as many already break the law and don't understand what actions they can take with regard to home ed) or providing access for home ed children to exams or similar are 'sensitive issues' so they aren't too sure about those recommendations hmm

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