The SCC EHE policy consulation

I’ve updated the SCC page with copies of the EHE Task group terms of reference, report, draft policy and the Cabinet response. Fun packed stuff I can tell you, but if you haven’t been following in detail and don’t want to download them below are the recommendations, the Cabinet official response and my comments.

As a side note the “570 children registered for EHE in Surrey” means that according to Ed Yourself it falls into the top 4% of LAs by number of know EHE children.

Recommendation A: That a three month consultation takes place on the draft Elective Home Education policy attached to this task group report as appendix A.

Comment: Officers support the proposed changes to policy. They reflect the current legislation accurately and are designed to lead to a more positive working relationship with home educators. The proposed policies have been agreed in respect of their safeguarding and SEN content with the relevant Heads of Service. It is suggested that the policy be further considered in the light of consultation responses and reported back to the Cabinet in the Autumn Term

Recommendation B: That greater analysis takes place regarding the reasons why children leave school for home education.

Comment: The service does not have the capacity to undertake statistical research in this area. Each case is considered individually and an Annual report providing abroad overview is produced each year.

My Comment: Bit of a misunderstanding on this one. It didn’t mean anything statistical, the numbers aren’t high enough for that to be meaningful, more that an eye should be kept open for patterns (e.g. multiple children being deregistered from the same school) and where something looks ‘off’ it should be investigated.

Recommendation C: That the new Surrey EHE policy should be supported by a series of procedural documents to be issued in the coming year. These should make explicit the role of EHE adviser and be made publicly available via the Surrey website.

Comment: The service consists of one full time officer, supported by home tutors. It is timely to review the operational procedures and this is a mater that will be undertaken by the EHE team.

Recommendation D: That the support, advice and information available is made more explicit to ensure that home educators are aware that there may be positive benefits to registering with the Council.

Comment This will form part of the review of operational procedures and be reflected in service documentation.

Recommendation E: That the EHE team offers home educating families a ‘menu’ of support options, including one option where families can choose to not receive direct advice or support from the Council.

Comment: – This is now in place.

My Comment: Yes, you read that right. “Thanks but no thanks”, or “we’ll call you if we need anything” are officially options if you’re a home educator in Surrey.

Recommendation F: That drop-in sessions are held around the County at regular intervals, where home educating parents can receive advice and support from an EHE adviser and network with other families.

Comment: As for C and D. These are being established in the Summer Term.

My Comment: This was something asked for by some home educators. With only one full time advisor it’s hoped it will prove to be a more effective use of her time for meeting some of the families who do want contact.

Recommendation G: That a new e-mail group is set up, through which home educators could register to receive useful updates and information from the EHE team.

Comment: The service does not have the capacity to undertake this coordination at present.

My Comment: The one EHE advisor was on the Task Group, so this is something she agreed to. I’m sure you’ll agree that firing off info to a mailing list when you get it isn’t exactly a major task. Hopefully this one will be un-scrapped.

Recommendation H: That the home education web pages are moved to sit under the ‘Learning’ section of the Surrey County Council web site, rather than the ‘Schools’.

Comment: This has been completed

My Comment: And so it has, go look, linked from Learning which is one level down from the front page. Can’t ask for better than that.

Recommendation I: That the EHE team should continue to work with Schools to explore the possibility of establishing home education ‘link’ schools that would be willing to take private candidates for exams.

Comment: As in G

My Comment: another one which we’d like to see un-scrapped as the school heads agreed it was a good idea.

Recommendation J: That the EHE adviser uses the home education e-mail group (see recommendation G) to advise parents of schools and exam centres that are willing to accept candidates for exams.

Comment: As in G

My Comment: If the e-mail list happens it was envisaged that this was one of those things where HEers would feed information to the EHE advisor who would circulate it, rather than having to phone schools to ask, which would indeed be a major task.

Recommendation K: That a leaflet or advice page on the website is developed to advise home educators through the complexities of entering private candidates for exams.

Comment: As in G

My Comment: I’d suggested directing people to the GCSE etc Yahoo Group, but a bit of an introduction wouldn’t hurt and could either be written by home educators who’ve been through it or lifted (with permission) from one of the national HE groups. I don’t think it needs to be that time consuming.

Recommendation L: That as part of the home education policy a commitment is made to the training and development of EHE advisers in home education law and practice as well as alternative learning styles.

Comment: This is in place. The EHE lead officer attends relevant events and training is being provided to tutors supporting home educating parents

Recommendation M: That the role of the EHE adviser is clarified within the traveller community through closer working with the Traveller Education team.

Comment: This will form part of the review of operational procedures and be reflected in service documentation

Recommendation N: That training sessions are held to increase common understanding and awareness between the social care and EHE teams on an ongoing basis.

Comment: This will form part of the review of operational procedures and be reflected in service documentation

Recommendation O: That safeguarding awareness and training resources which are traditionally delivered via schools are also offered to home educate young people through alternative methods.

Comment: As in G

My Comment: This one came from the social care team, they said they have resources they provide to schools which could easily also be provided to home educated children if people wanted it. There are also things like ’safety days’ run for schools which EHE children could attend, it would just be a matter of remembering to offer.

Recommendation P: That a revised procedure for handling annual reviews for children with SEN statements who are educated at home, is produced as part of the new policy.

Comment: This has been agreed with the Head of SEN and is an operational matter. The new procedures will operate from September 2011

My Comment: there has been a lot of ‘falling through the net’ with properly maintaining the statements of EHE children and the Head of SEN is keen to stop that happening.

Recommendation Q: That training is held for SEN case officers to give them a greater knowledge and understanding of home education.

Comment: This will form part of the review of operational procedures and be reflected in service documentation

Recommendation R: That a leaflet is produced to specifically advise anyone with a child with SEN who is considering home education.

Comment: This has been agreed with the Head of SEN and is an operational matter. The new procedures will operate from September 2011

Last Modified: Monday, June 6th, 2011 @ 21:53

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