Archive for July, 2010

SCR 3

I’ve ploughed through the rest and boy was that an effort! The whole thing is so badly put together, confusing, padded out with masses of repetition, badly written, and that’s before I even get started on the predictable and not even slightly hidden agenda. A lot of people slipped up, and yes I’m afraid the key social worker most of all, failing to follow procedures or it seems engage her brain at all. Does this stop Mr NSPCC recommending that all home educators are monitored up the wazzo? Heck no! He doesn’t even bother trying to explain how he thinks that would have made any difference in this case.

Nothing in this shabby document is news, nothing is a surprise, the pathetic attempt to scapegoat is clear for all to see. BSCB you’ve been busted, grow up and stop trying to blame others for your own failings!

SCR 2

page 13

The responsibility for a child’s education rests with parents. In England education is compulsory, but school is not. Some of the children in this family were removed from state education during December 2007. At no point, were any of these children given the right to choose the location, the nature of provision, or any right to consultation to express their views as part of this process.

Yeah, like children sent to school have any of that either. Typical double standards!

The above highlights a major safeguarding flaw within home education legislation

There’s no such thing as “home education legislation” there is only “education legislation”. Honestly, what hope is there when we’re up against such stupidity.

SCR 1

Running in to a problem with the Ishaq SCR and I’ve not even got past the introduction! The terms of reference, supplied by Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) start off with ‘four priority areas’.

1. Rights of a Child:
• Rights of a Child to an Education
• Rights of a Child to appropriate health care,
• Rights of a Child to appropriate food,
• Rights of a Child to appropriate to accommodation and safety.

2. Role of and barriers to individual agencies working together to ensure that these rights are upheld.

3. To identify the barriers that prevents the public from fulfilling their responsibility to safeguard children.

4. The role of BSCB in enabling communities to fulfil their responsibilities.

Excuse me? A child DIED and the terms of reference put her ‘right’ to an education at the top of the list?! Not at all leading then … as if that were even needed given they picked someone from notoriously anti-HE fake charity the NSPCC to write it.

If you currently home educate and live in Surrey …

Surrey County Council’s Education, Learning and Development Committee Working Group on Elective Home Education is planning a focus group for home educators to be held in October. I will be collecting issues and posting updates on the general Surrey Yahoo Group. If you don’t have a Yahoo account or don’t want to join I will post the details here too but the wider the participation in any online discussions the better.

Meanwhile if you know of an LA which is an example of good practice please leave a comment.

EHE policies

I’ve really been letting the blogging slip. I could have come back from HESFES and regaled you with tales of children climbing Landrovers and photos of the crafty things I made, but somehow I was just too worn out.

But here we are back at the political stuff. Tuesday sees the first meeting of the Surrey County Council Elective Home Education Working Group. EHE Policy type documents were sent out to members of the group and I’ve just trawled through each of them to see what they have right and what (a much longer list) they have dreadfully wrong. The LAs in question are (in alphabetical order) Bedfordshire (Central), County Durham, Croydon, Hampshire, Hounslow, Milton Keynes and Reading. The Milton Keynes document is the clear winner as the only one to get the law right, all the others claim a duty to ensure that children receive a suitable education. In case you wondering, no they most certainly do NOT have such a duty. “The legal duty of LEAs is concerned only with children who appear not to be receiving a suitable education.”

Now you may be wondering what the difference is so let me give you an analogy.

Suppose LAs have a specific duty where it appears that a child is being malnourished. What would that mean? Would it mean that:

A - when it comes to their attention (via all the usual channels, medical professionals, friends, family, neighbours, even teachers) that a child appears unhealthily thin or is suffering from a medical condition associated with malnutrition or is stating that they are being starved, the LA makes enquiries.

or

B - the LA insists on annual kitchen visits and parents providing an eating diary and a menu plan for the next 12 months to ensure that ALL children are being properly fed.

Obviously B is the stuff of madness but that is the subtle difference between a duty ONLY when there appears to be a problem and the assumed duty to ENSURE something in all cases. Only because Home Educators, more specifically Home Educators known to their LA, are such a small group can such an approach have been attempted even in the days of apparently unlimited government money. Now, with local funding being slashed I would contend that approach B is utterly unacceptable just from a value for money POV.

Of the councils listed above I have to say that Central Bedfordshire is the worst of the bunch, they seem to know what the law says but proceed to ignore it all and do what they want with assessment criteria based on a strict school at home model, curriculum this and curriculum that and even a 20 Hr time table! They even claim that parents have “a responsibility to ensure that [ECM] goals are secured” which is complete hogwash!

Hampshire makes the basic assumed duty mistake and is a bit too comfortable pushing visits and carrying on like they have a duty to monitor (which they don’t). Reading, more of the same really as is County Durham/Hounslow (someone has been copy/pasting as the two documents are almost identical!). Croydon, well they kick off in the first paragraph telling parents that school is best, yeah guys, way to build a positive and mutually respectful relationship NOT! Maybe because the document goes on so long they keep making mistakes (or is that telling lies?) and the forms in Appendix D are outrageous. Think I’ll award them second place in the dishonest and power crazed list.

All in all I think I’ll be strongly suggesting using Milton Keynes for the legal duties bits and other than that starting from scratch. No quick and easy copy/paste, the Surrey policy will need writing the hard way.

Khyra Ishaq Serious Case Review expected next month

The Birmingham Mail has an article today covering the announcement that Tony Howell, the head of Birmingham’s troubled children’s services department, is to step down. Probably no coincidence that the Khyra Ishaq Serious Case Review is expected to be published next month.

I don’t think it’s any great leap to assume that Howell will repeat his insistence, whatever the SCR says, that home education legislation was to blame and we’ll have to be ready to counter the same old lies repeated by the usual suspects at the BBC all over again.

Labour are STILL gunning for home educators

Oh yes, on the heels of OFSTED’s poisonous but oh so predictable report we have the following question from Diana Johnson (remember her?):

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he plans to take in response to Ofsted’s recommendations in its recent report on local authorities and home education. source

The response from Nick Gibb wasn’t as robust a dismissal as I would have hoped for:

We have noted Ofsted’s findings and recommendations. We will consider whether changes need to be made to the existing arrangements, given the strong views expressed by both home educators and local authorities.

Maybe such a vague, non-commital answer means “yeah, right, whatever” and nothing more will happen but what this does demonstrate is that Labour, in the poorly-dressed form of Ms Johnson, is not going to forget about us. We stood up to them and won and I’m afraid that such an insult is unforgivable. We will have to be punished!

So much for a quiet life.