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New Home Ed Law Would Allow the Authorities a right to come into your home!!

(25 Posts)
onefunkymama Wed 08-Jul-09 21:33:56

Hi All

Did you know that the new proposals that Graham Badman has put together, which are currently quietly passing through government as a paper on regulating home education would pave the way for the authorities to
1.) Have a RIGHT of access to your home?
2.) Have the RIGHT To interview your child without you being present?
3.) To insist that you submit some sort of plan setting out how you plan to encourage your child's development over the next 12 months.

I am not a loony but this law is passing through without much fuss because not many people know about it and its burried deep in a 78 page report on home education. No matter what your oppinion on home education you should be very worried about this! You can sign a petition against this legislation here

TurtleAnn Wed 08-Jul-09 21:52:40

Why are these aims bad?
1. I would want to ensure a safe education environment, especially where science experiments are concerned.
2. Just because you have the best of intentions educating your kids at home doesn't mean everyone else does, some kids are kept at home so they don't speak out.
3. I am not sure I disagree with this either. I think a plan of education intent is a useful tool. By that I don't mean you have to follow the current national curriculum or teach the current fiction and propaganda (e.g. the world is doomed), but should have a good idea of what you do plan to teach and how.

Now, don't think I am working for Ofstead on this.
I think SATS are a waste of time and only serve to label kids as failures for the rest of their school lives. I plan to take my DS sailing around the Med for a whole year to avoid them (if they haven't already been abolished). I think formal exams prior to the age of 16 are a waste of time that could be better spent actually educating our kids in school.

But I do think education is really important and if I do educate my kids at home, I will have a curriculum plan, will ask for LEA advice and will look into providing adequate social opportunities for my kids so they don't miss out on a social skills development, e.g. playtime, after school clubs and lunch hour.

scaredoflove Wed 08-Jul-09 21:58:03

I think the whole of mumsnet now know about this now, thanks to the 200 other threads on the subject

I think you are now putting people off caring, cos it is me

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Wed 08-Jul-09 22:10:42

Message withdrawn

onefunkymama Thu 09-Jul-09 15:56:35

Turtle Ann

You asked why are these aims bad? I know this is a long reply but its worth reading it (I hope!) It sounds as if you are open to home education but don't understand what it really is or the implications for all parents of the new law.

1.) The new law will set a precedent which allows the authoritites the RIGHT to enter people's homes to check, well frankly, I'm not quite sure what for... It might seem innocuous enough, and before you really think about it you might say 'so, if a child is home educated the authorities should have some access' but a RIGHT to enter the home is more than the police have. This law sets a precedent to allow the authorities into the homes of any parent (not just home educators) who's children are not in school. This could include parents of newborns and toddlers too young for pre-school. In short, if you have a child under 3 years they will be able, without warrent, to come into your home, using force if they wish, to check your children are OK.

2.) There has been extensive research into this and there has been not one single citable case of this. Some children probably don't go to school but this is nothing to do with home education. Would you want someone working for the government, who might not agree with your parenting style, interview your 5 year old without you being present? What about if you 5 year old is upset, frightened or shy?

3.) Educational philosophys run throughout home education. There are many of them that do not sit well alongside the National Curriculum. Many parents home educate because the National Curriculum is aimed at a very wide range of children of very varied abilities. No one education is suitable for every child. Many home ed philosophys would not translate well into set plans and one of the beauties of home ed is that if something is not working for your child you can change your approach. If there is a plan it will prevent people offering their children the most suitable and flexible education for them. The plan will have to be very detailed and it is inflexible and you will have to set and meet targets. This plan setting also sets a dangerous precident. It paves the way for learning targets for babies and toddlers.

If you have a 2 year old you might have to set a plan including when he/she will be toilet trained, when he/she will be able to hold a pencil correctly, spell his name and so on. Personally I think this is an invasion onto your parenting.

All children are home educated until they start school when, for some reason, parents unquestionningly hand their children to the state under the assumption that the state, which does not know their children, knows what's best for them. Then parents spend the next 12 years moaning about the lack of progress that their child is making, how bad the school is because of X, Y or Z

The state cannot care about each child, they do not care about your child, the state cares about achieving quantifyable results and does not care if some children are failed by this.

Home educators care about their children's education far more than the state does. They are people who are prepared to work very, very hard to ensure that their child gets the very best start in life. It would be helpful if people who don't bother sending their kids to school can be differentiated from home educators in some way other than forcing entry to our homes and interviewing our children without us being there! Maybe they could look for evidence that the children attend other classes etc, presumably kids whose parents don't bother sending them to school are unlikely to spend hours ferrying them about the dance, theatre craft, swimming, football and so on.

If you decide to educate your kids at home you will find the LEA are useless. I send regular updates to my officer and she never even replies. They certainly wouldn't supply you with loads of support and educational advice.

Your final point is about social isolation the one that most people totally don't understand about home education, and the one I was most concerned about before I started home educating. Home educated children are not at all isolated. Its a complete fantasy that they are or that they miss out on social opportunities. When you come to the point of considering home ed have a look for local groups, there are lots of them. Please don't confuse, as the Badman report has, 'school' with 'education', they are totally different things!

onefunkymama Thu 09-Jul-09 15:59:29

ScaredofLove and Reality- sorry you are bored, if you took the time to realise that this proposed law sets a precedent which will allow an official in YOUR homes, without you consent and without you being present checking that your pre-schooler was not being abused you might think again. This is not a home ed issue as you seem to think it affects all parents

Reallytired Thu 09-Jul-09 21:21:42

1.) Have a RIGHT of access to your home?

I think that is reasonable to see that you have organised your enviroment to give your child an education.

2.) Have the RIGHT To interview your child without you being present?

I suppose it depends how this is done. Is this done to assess what a child knows. I doult it would apply to pre schoolers.

3.) To insist that you submit some sort of plan setting out how you plan to encourage your child's development over the next 12 months.

That seems reasonable. I am sure it will only apply to children of complusory education age. I suspect your worries about two year olds is unfounded.

Children only have one chance at education and there is no requirement for home educating parents to have any qualifications. Many parents have absolutely no idea what is normal progress for a child of a particular age. They could be unwittingly failing their child and not realise that their child's reading age is three years behind chronological age.

AppleandMosesMummy Thu 09-Jul-09 23:06:34

The point is that these "rights" will not just be applied to home educators and therefore are you comfortable with the fact that just because you have a pre school aged child that any authority has the right to enter your home ?

I would also agree though that most LEA's don't bother to exercise their current rights anyway.

onefunkymama Fri 10-Jul-09 09:27:27

Thank you appleandmoses Mummy- That's what I'm saying - this is not just a home education issue it affects all parents with children at home and we should all be concerned about the long term implications of them. By allowing these proposals to become law we are paving the way for the authorities to come into our own homes to check that A) they are safe for our kids and B) that we are teaching them 'right' whether it is how to use a potty, tie their laces and so on. It would be naieve to assume that the law wouldn't ba taken another step.... Parents should really think about this, it is an issue.

Reallytired- your intentions are good but clearly you don't understand, like the people who have made this legislation, anything about home education. I'm not saying it is wrong to have some checks and balances but why give the LEA more power than the police? I am an home educator, my 4 year old reads and writes better than my dd did at the end of the foundation year at a'good' school, he has just completed year 1 (that's 2 years ahead of his age) maths, and can punctuate, talk articulately about many different topics. BUT, why should I have to prove this to you, why should the authorities have a right to come uninvited into my family home to check that I have an organised school type environment? Would you want that for your home, family or child?

onefunkymama Fri 10-Jul-09 09:29:13

sorry, I just noticed I said legislation in my last message, I know that it these are proposals at the moment.

Reallytired Fri 10-Jul-09 09:55:25

onefunkymama I am glad that your child is doing well. However just because your child is achieving doesn't mean that all children are doing well. Also I think a child's mental welbeing is as important as academic sucess.

BUT, why should I have to prove this to you, why should the authorities have a right to come uninvited into my family home to check that I have an organised school type environment?

To make sure that you are actually complying with the law of providing a suitable education.

Would you want that for your home, family or child?

I have been visited by a health visitors, midwives etc. I hasn't bothered me as I know these people are there to support me.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 10-Jul-09 10:12:22

You mean these provisions don't already exist? shock

AppleandMosesMummy Fri 10-Jul-09 11:16:13

Really Tired the point is you choose to see the HV and midwife or anyone else you answer the door to, are you really saying you are happy with a local council employee having more rights than the police to enter your house ?
Seriously, at the moment SS have to show good cause to get a warrant from a judge, the local LEA could just have your door kicked down.

Reallytired Fri 10-Jul-09 11:30:17

Do you have a link? I don't understand WHY you think the LEA would have more power than social services.

Yes, you can choose not to see a MW or a HV, but I suspect that you might be referred to social services if you didn't. Do you know anyone who has declined ante natal/ post natal care?

london0hull4 Fri 10-Jul-09 11:44:04

Onefunkymama - not all parents have their children's best interests at heart. Some children are kept at home in terrible circumstances, hidden behind the screen of "Home Education". If these new proposals help uncover circumstances of abuse or neglect, then I think letting the local authority into your home when you have nothing to hide, is a small price to pay.

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 11:44:58

we have had this thread

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 11:46:07

I htink its a great idea.

MadameDefarge Fri 10-Jul-09 11:48:17

The law in this country gives parents a choice whether to send their children to state provided schools for education, or to educate them at home.

I expect all providers of education to be prepared to be inspected regarding the quality of educational provision they offer, be it a school or a parent.

You wouldn't expect a school to get cross at being inspected, you would demand it.

I personally think that there are not enough powers in play to protect children in this country.

Abuse does occur, home ed parents can't all be wonderful (law of averages). And whats the big deal about having a plan for the year? Surely you must have some idea of what you plan for your children to achieve educationally? by whatever method?

Do you object to the existence of SS and the police, simply because you are guilty of any abuse or crimes?

Clearly you think this is a civil liberties issue. I don't, its about protecting children. And I hardly think they are going to be kicking any doors down, for heaven's sake.

MadameDefarge Fri 10-Jul-09 11:50:17

sorry, simply because you are not...

AppleandMosesMummy Fri 10-Jul-09 14:28:06

I know plenty of people who haven't had ante natal care whether they have wanted it or not and I know plenty of people who've thrown HV out of their homes because they've been talking nonsense so in that sense yes you can currently choose to take their advice or not and without it being flagged as a child protection issue.
It absolutely is a civil liberties issue, personally I would just ban home education altogether which I know will upset some people but it gets around the issue and would force schools to deal with special needs issues properly.
There is no need for these powers to be afforded to civil servants.

MilaMae Fri 10-Jul-09 16:14:26

ALL kids deserve a good education for that reason I think this is a very good idea.

By all means home ed but if you're doing a crap job and your dc aren't getting a good education they should be in school.

They have a right to a good education which shouldn't be sacrificed to a parent wanting to home ed.

mrsruffallo Fri 10-Jul-09 16:18:17

I won't be signing the petition, I think it heeds regulation

juuule Fri 10-Jul-09 20:06:34

Being in school isn't a guarantee of getting a good education.

onefunkymama Fri 17-Jul-09 23:42:25

Ok, let's imagine a scenario, its a hard one, and this post is a bit ranty but do but try please hold on to your personal conviction that school is the best form of education while imagaining this scene.... in this world, autonomous (child led) education is what the government has decided is right. It has closed all schools and declared that all parents should take provide a fully autonomous education or they should educate their child 'otherwise.'

Around 40,000 parents decide that the government does not know what is the best education for their child and decide to school them at home using tutors, courses and so on. This is legal but in order to do this the government insists that

1.) The families will be visited with 2 weeks notice and that the authorities will have a right to enter their home- they can knock your door down if they want to, refusal to allow entry will result in social services being contacted.

2.) you have to be able to show that you child is recieving a full time autonomous education, evidence of too much school type work will suggest that your child is not being educated 'properly' and you could be forced to hand your child over to the state in order for them to provide the education that they think is right. Any evidence of test taking, exams and so on will be treated as evidence of child abuse.

3.) Your child will be interviewed without you being present to check his/her handwriting, spelling, times tables and so on, if he/she shows evidence of being taught these things you will be accused of child abuse.

Now, I'm going to add that I don't personally find the autonomous route of education to sit comfortably with my personal view of how a child should be educated. We are a very schooly family and would have no problem with passing the tests of the state so why would I say they are a bad thing? Because they limit a parents right to educate their child in the manner that best suits their child.

Autonomous education does not comply with reading ages, maths text books and so on but, to my surprise when I started home ed I saw how well it WORKS! Kids who aren't given the education that YOU (and I!) think is right also THRIVE- they learn very well, they have a very balanced view of the world and tend to be franky, better educated than school children. I only don't go down the autonomous route because I am too damn scared! But I have gone down the home ed route and it works better than school.

The evidence that the state would be looking for would be totally at odds with this method of education. To insist on evidence of one form of education when another is being given is wrong, counter productive and confusing to the child.

The government does not always know best. The reason why I asked you to imagaine this scenario is because I want to ask you to challenge yourself to ask- can the government know what education is best for a specific child? What if YOU disagreed?

The issue about child abuse that many people are bandying around is WRONG, there is no evidence of increased incidence of child abuse in the home ed families. Why link child abuse with education when there is NO evidence at all (there is some evidence that there is less chance of child abuse/teenage pregnancy and crime in home ed families - and the children never truant)?

There are families who don't send their child to school and don't home ed, this is neglect and I agree, it is unacceptable. Every child does have a right to an education, but does it have to be what you, or the government, has decided is an 'education?' By forcing parents to offer one specific type of education the government is removing parental autonomy. If you decide that school is not right for your child, at the moment, you can take your child out of school and educate them in the way that is best for them. These proposals will remove your autonomy to decide what is best for your child.

I have no problem in showing what my child has done, but why should I be forced to allow someone into my home to question my child without me being there? There must be a better way to 'proove' myself (although being made to proove myself makes it sound as if I'm doing something wrong in the first place as there is a presumtion that I'm not doing what I 'should'.)

One point that almost everyone is missing is that this proposed law paves the way for all parents to be subjected to inspections by authorities that have a right to enter their home. Even the police can't do that.

School and the school method of education is so ingrained in our society that it is hard to imagaine that any other method of education is actually 'education' at all. Holding onto this conviction is a mistake and legislating on this conviction would be totally wrong.

onefunkymama Fri 17-Jul-09 23:51:58

PS- for anyone who is not clear what autonomous education is or indeed the huge variety of approaches that there to home ed you might like to have a look at this

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