Archive for March, 2010

Local Action

For those of you who don’t know the history, Surrey County Council does not currently have an OFFICIAL EHE policy, staff have been working to a document inherited 12 odd years ago by the (now retired) team leader and modified by her over time and never once presented for council approval. That’s NOT an official policy. The draft that’s being discussed was drawn up by her last year with specific instructions NOT to allow local home educators sight of it until it HAD been approved. After getting hold of it thanks to a group member doing a FoI request, well, not happy would be a bit of an understatement I think. One petition later the council’s Schools and Learning Select Committee is looking at the policy. If you are Surrey resident or just want to read the policy and associated documents you can pop on over to our SCC page, but here’s the main body of the letter sent out to local HE groups at the end of February:

Dear Colleague,
Schools and Learning Select Committee: Review of Home Education Policy Following a petition presented to the Committee in December 2009, the Schools and Learning Select Committee has asked to scrutinise the Council’s review of its Home Education Policy. The Policy is being reviewed in light of national developments outlined in the Badman report, which may prompt changes in process. The Committee will explore the extent to which the policy is fit for purpose and the implications of any changes. They will also consider whether it meets national requirements.

Members are keen to take into account the views of home educators in Surrey. As such, I would like to invite you, as a group or as individual educators, to contribute to the discussions. I would appreciate if you could provide, in a short written summary, your thoughts on the current policy and the national developments. I will then provide these to members for consideration with the officer report. Please note that your submission would become a public document.

It sounds like they’ve been drinking the DCSF Kool-Aid, “national developments outlined in the Badman report”? WTF?!

Despite my frequent rants on this blog I really do want a quiet life. I want SCC to have a decent, fair, respectful policy which doesn’t require me to make anatomically impossible suggestions to its employees. I want council taxes to be used for helpful things, like filling pot-holes and protecting genuinely vulnerable children. SCC failed on child protection last time OFSTED inspected them and I’m sure the last thing in the world they want is to end up doing a Birmingham City Council. They need more social workers to reduce individual caseloads to an acceptable level, not EHE staff running their own little book shop selling crushingly dull workbooks ‘at cost’ [sic].

So, we will explain how Badman’s report has been debunked and the EHE components of the CSF Bill are NOT going to happen. We will point out that this means no new funding and remind them of their own substantial projected budget cuts. We will doubtless have to point out the limits of their legal duties and powers. After all that, the best we can hope for is that on April 14th councillors accept that the draft EHE policy is NOT ‘fit for purpose’ and tell their staff to start again from the beginning and actually CONSULT this time.

Baroness Deech shows just what we’re afraid of

Anyone who thinks home educators have nothing to fear from a spot of “light touch registration” needs to check out Baroness Deech in the House of Lords tonight (Hansard starts at the bottom of the page)

This woman has really got it in for us! Apparently she knew nothing about home education but having discovered that there are thousands of children in this country growing up without direct state control of their education, well, she is enraged! Something must be done! Badman clearly didn’t go far enough, home visits should be every 3 months, none of this 2 week warning, that’s for sissies, no it should be 1 week, or no warning at all!! That’s the ticket! And if you refuse then it’s straight off to school with your children, that very day! The word ‘rabid’ seems fitting around now.

How dare we be upset at the attacks against us, how dare we be angry! How dare we think that the state is a bit rubbish … has she been living in a cave do you think? You know expenses scandal, illegal wars, failed economy, I don’t think I’d be stretching it to suggest that the majority of the people in this country are not exactly pro-government right now. But no, to a statist anyone who isn’t in love with the beauty of an all powerful state is clearly suspect and probably shouldn’t be allowed to have children in the first place, let alone home educate them.

Then they fight you

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” - Mahatma Gandhi

And oh how Ed Balls, Graham Badman and all the minions of the DCSF are fighting us now. With their media friends at the BBC and TES they are fighting dirty and do you know what? It stinks of desperation. This is a last ditch effort to force the EHE elements of the CSF Bill through, and failing that to damage home educators in the eyes of the public ready for their next attack.

The lies and the smears do make me angry, don’t mistake that for a minute, and I won’t forgive or forget but tonight I’m a lot less bothered than I have been because we ARE going to win. I don’t just mean this battle either, I honestly think we are going to win PERIOD. We will win because we have something far more important than short term political gain and statist ideology to fight for. We are fighting for our children and grandchildren, for their right to intellectual freedom, to choose their own goals, to be protected from physical and mental abuse, to be happy. What do Badman and Balls have to fight for, really?