Sunday, April 01, 2007

A scam?

Wait a minute...

How is this a scam?

Home teaching truancy scam claim

Some local authorities are trying to cut their truancy rates by urging parents of persistent truants to say they will home educate, it is claimed. Home education charity Education Otherwise says parents of truants and disruptive pupils are being urged to sign pre-typed de-registration slips. It says the practice gives home educators a bad name and plans to take evidence of it to education ministers. New figures show England's secondary school truancy rates are rising. Data released on Thursday revealed that truancy rates are 18% higher than had been thought after a new way of counting absences was adopted.

Have some of us not been nagging our LEAs for years to fulfil their legal responsibilities by informing people about the deregistration option?

Unless they're extracting signatures on these preprinted deregistration letters by force, I can't see how this is a scam, or anything other than helpful to the families concerned.

We have a school system that repeatedly fails to even enable many children to stay safe and sane, let alone educate them. School is impossible and unbearable for many children. It's increasingly difficult for them to avoid the full-time attendance that causes them so many problems.

Their parents don't deregister firstly because they don't know they legally can. Secondly, because they wouldn't know how to go about it. So the school, thankfully realising it can do nothing to improve the situation for certain children except grant them their freedom, types out a deregistration letter and invites the parents to sign it.

This can be a lifesaver for some children, I have no doubt whatsoever. At home they at least have chance to recover from their problems and, even if their parents aren't budding Einsteins and their houses aren't full of books, there's a chance that the child may begin to take an interest in life again.

If home isn't safe either, this is NOT an education issue.

Education Otherwise spokeswoman Ann Newstead said she knew of at least two local authorities who were encouraging home education amongst troubled families in order to improve truancy figures. She declined to name them. She said the practice was particularly common in areas with large populations of travellers - who, in the official statistics, have the highest rates of truancy.

"They are handing out pre-typed de-registration letters saying sign your X here at the bottom and you will be left alone," she said. "This sort of thing isn't good for the majority of parents who do the right thing. It is these sorts of situations that lead people to be prejudiced about home education. There is a problem but it is between schools and local authorities - it is not our problem."

I don't think this kind of persistent, elitist, "We're alright Jack, pull the ladder up" attitude from EO helps the public image of home education any more than the association with - ew! - "some families [who] are using home schooling as an excuse to evade problems with bullying, poor attendance or disruptive behaviour".

What's a child supposed to do, coming from a family who doesn't know how to help, going to a school it can't abide? Truancy is the only possible escape, until someone mentions the legality of home education.

It's as if the 'problem children' are hot potatoes, being tossed about from parents to schools to truancy teams to LEAs to courts to governments, to home educators and back again.

They're just children. They should have as much right to be deregistered from school as any other children.

38 Comments:

Blogger Ruth said...

The snob mentality continues. It is this mentality that is helping colour the view of inspectors towards families who HE on low incomes, benefit or in areas that they considered to be "rough" I had an inspector tell me that most families she sees have parents that are illiterate cos they had been through the school system here so couldn't possible HE. The irony of it was lost to her. I wish someone had handed me a dereg letter to sign.

I have said for ages that EO is more interested in protecting the interests of the middle class brigade than the HE who do it come hell or high water on low incomes and in hard circumstances.

12:45 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"It is not our problem."

That's really disgusted and depressed me today, Ruth. I feel ashamed to be associated with home educators who would utter such sentiments :-(

12:48 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

Mmmm... i'm not so sure. Offering HE is an excellent alternative to school is one thing, washing their hands of children is something else and the motive of "hitting targets" regarding truancy is disturbing.

I think your opinion of how well autonomy works is coloured by the fact that your autonomously educated children have been well supported and nurtured. If de-reg actually means unsupported, uncared for, unnurtured (and i mean all these things in an educational/growth sense not a physical neglect sense) then i can't see how it is good. i think shortly down the line it provides the perfect stories for the "see how automatic de-reg and home ed fails our children, we must close this loophole at once" brigade.

1:09 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"If de-reg actually means unsupported, uncared for, unnurtured (and i mean all these things in an educational/growth sense not a physical neglect sense) then i can't see how it is good."

If the child prefers it to school, then it's good IMO. The best situation would be if someone could talk with the child about options and preferences and then help the child to get what it wants.

I can't see how tightening up on truancy laws and repeatedly trying to FORCE them to knuckle down and accept the unacceptable is helpful to anyone.

1:35 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger mamadillo said...

Having been a persistant truant for a couple of years in my teens which was tolerated by my mum, but I then got little educational support from her, I would say that even if they do nothing until they're past compulsory education age I suspect they'll be *healthier* in the long run than those who continue to be damaged either by school or by the label 'truant'

Though obviously if this is done sooner rather than later and the LA do their job and actually inform and support the parents in informing and supporting their children the visible results will be better than abandonment. Which is, of course, a welfare issue not an education issue.

hee my image verification doobrie very nearly says 'hmmph'

1:39 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

You might say that, I couldn't possibly comment .... ;-)

2:24 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! *pokes Tech in the ribs*

2:26 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

"I can't see how tightening up on truancy laws and repeatedly trying to FORCE them to knuckle down and accept the unacceptable is helpful to anyone."

It's not really the same though is it? (As in genuine question, nbot, i'm right you are wrong, tone of voice!)

This isn't so much tightening up on truancy laws so much as saying "we can't han dle you, we wash our hands of you, go off and do nothing like all those home educators we also want to discredit probably are." I seems a slippery slope to me; this week truants parents are encouraged to de-reg, next week it'll be the parents of children who are going to bring down the exam average. Whether or not those children might be better off outside school, it has potential to be enormously negative in all sorts of ways.

3:03 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Taking your tone on board and reciprocating.. ;-)

I think the govt-led tightening up of truancy laws is what's led LEA's to take this measure. The tightening-up is unrealistic and unnecessary IMO - so many schoolchildren would have been ok if they could have just had an extra day off every now and again.

Now the govt has put LEAs in the impossible position of trying to force every child to attend every day, and tbh if the child is prepared to run the ed welfare gauntlet in order to dodge school, then some big alarm bells should be ringing somewhere.

Forced learning is ineffective. Education should not be compulsory. But since we seem to be determined to keep it so, let's try to maintain as liberal a definition of the word as possible.

TBH I'd like the whole population to dereg, so that the PTB are forced to rethink the school system. Or, let those who like it the way it is stay there and those who prefer to be elsewhere, be elsewhere!

I'd prefer that to a 'Freedom to Grow But Only if your Parents Can Write their own Dereg Letter' campaign.

And yes, I know it puts the rest of us at more risk, but you know,

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

4:10 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

Yep it is an appalling attitude and one reason I am no longer a member of EO:( I also found out that some new HE were made to feel that if they didn't spent their meagre cash on membership contacts would not give them any help. I have never asked anyone who has phoned me for help if they are paid up member of EO - to me we are all HE.

4:54 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

I do see where you are coming from - i only belonged to eo for a year and never went back at all. I've made very little use of even local groups over the years. i can't help feeling though that this is a greater issue than how eo might verbalise their response.

This isn't schools saying "you child desperately needs to be out of this environment; here's a great alternative, you'll do well, have a great life," this is schools saying "hey, sign this, say you are home educating and then no one can threaten you with jail."

IMHO, it is pretty different stuff

5:24 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Louise said...

I could be wrong but I heard that this EO person was actually misquoted and those are not her exact words.
I also heard from a (now suspended due to our wonderful objective EO council) local contact that some schools have been suggesting home-ed before GCSE stats are brought down.

6:25 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"I could be wrong but I heard that this EO person was actually misquoted"

Again? That'd be the second time in about 3 days then! Makes you wonder if we're all speaking the same language.

I just don't have a problem with schools & LEAs informing parents about their right to home educate - they're legally obliged to do that.

And if they're forced to deliver the NC, sats, GCSE courses etc which don't suit some children, and impose truancy laws until the school-refusers become ill and suicidal, I think it's a very good thing that they can say to parents "You can always home educate."

My LEA does, but I think they're fairly responsible about how they say it.

The thing is, the system is too rigid and unforgiving of different kinds of children IMO, so we get this all-or-nothing mad situation.

6:55 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

What on earth WAS she saying anyway, to get misquoted so badly?

The mind boggles.

7:30 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

I think that particular eo person is a fairly active blogger and commenter; you could ask her :)

7:32 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

If she's reading this, she'd be welcome to tell us :-)

7:41 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

There is something rotten at the core of this but i can't put my finger on what it is. The thing is, when you say "I just don't have a problem with schools & LEAs informing parents about their right to home educate - they're legally obliged to do that" my gut instinct is "but that isn't what they are doing."

The problem is that school SHOULD be fighting to keep kids in them; they should believe in themselves so strongly that they feel it is best. They should be being driven by reaching children, drawing them out, finding what sparks them. This just isn't what is driving this reaction; this isn't about teachers who know about HE and are honest enough to see that their system isn't right for everyone, this isn't about doing what is best for the individual children. Kids who are persistantly truanting are not going to immediately recover and become inner driven, for one thing. They've been damaged, they'll need support and recovery.

What it comes down to is that this "X marks the spot, sign here and we can't hassle you about truancy" thing is that it is driven by a need to meet targets that has nothing to do with individual children, personalised learning, autonomous learning or anything else. It's about children who are going to bring down a percentage for a government target being trimmed off and dumped out with nothing. "We can't make you conform so we wash our hands of you." That just isn't right. Even if some children find their feet out of school an awful lot won't and they'll be worse off for it, because no one will even be noticing them or their needs at all anymore.

10:01 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

I can see both sides of this.

I think it is an enormous mistake for EO to end up (whether through carelessness or otherwise) suggesting that there are groups of people who are not welcome in the world of home ed. Imagine how a new home educator who may have filled in one of these pre-prepared letters would feel on reading those EO comments.

OTOH I think it is an incredible move for a school to actually draw up the de-reg letters - assuming it is true. I can imagine the letter being there on the desk and the parent feeling like they have no choice but to sign it. I believe HE should always be a choice - though I know lots of people do feel forced into it.

But, in the end, if an LA is prepared to jail parents (ours is particularly eager) it is surely better that any move is taken that can legally avoid that.

10:43 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Merry, yes in an ideal world schools probably would do this, but many don't seem to be in that position ATM. Seems to me like the spirit has been knocked (regulated) out of our schools. I certainly witnessed some of that happening with the advent of NC etc in my childrens schools.

Allie, I completely agree.

10:48 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Also I think the piece inferred that it was LAs, not schools, who were drawing up the letters? This is I think the more likely of the two - I think when families have very persistent issues they seem to end up dealing with the general LA ed welfare staff as opposed to the school EWOs.

When things have gone that far, after months or years of trying to help the attendance problems to no avail, there are very few options left to the LA. I know many of the officers are extremely reluctant to prosecute parents of persistent truants - to their credit.

11:04 pm, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Raquel said...

surely the difference here is the LA saying " your child is not able to fit into the school system so go home educate because this is best for your child and we know you will be able to educate your child in a way that suits your child" and the LA saying" Your child is disruptive, out of control and a problem to us, go home educate and we don't give a toss what happens because now we wash our hands of you " which then makes a mockery of them insisting on home visits with home educators.

Of course we want them to encourage home ed..but for the right reasons surely?

12:51 am, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Raquel
I don't think any LAs would say the latter in all honesty. It's more likely to be, 'We've tried everything, nothing's worked. Do you know you can home educate?'

Last month I got a phone call from a local mum in precisely this situation. She works full-time, has a 14 yr-old daughter and is by no means an educationalist. She was panicking really, didn't have the first clue how to HE, BUT her daughter had been suicidal at school and the council had no further option but to take the mother to court, then they explained to her about home ed, told her how to deregister and gave her my number.

My thought was: they should have told her sooner. But I was glad they'd told her in the end. The daughter might not get much of an education now, but at least she'll stay alive and feel safer at home and her mother won't go to prison. And she was getting no education when truanting. She just needed to be left alone to recover, probably.

This wasn't an isolated incident, just a fairly typical example. Why should home ed be only reserved for some people and not allowed for others? If we had the best [compulsory] schools in the world, there would still be some children who couldn't hack it for whatever reason.

We can't say "It's not our problem, we don't care, don't let them into our little privileged enclave." We can NOT say "Some people aren't fit to home educate." I think everyone who has a child has the potential to be a good parent because it's instinctive, and a good parent can home educate.

For some children/families that everyone had given up on, it's the thing that sorts them out isn't it?

We should be listening to the children.

8:16 am, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

Helen and i were talknig about this this morning - in the end, the key is "elective home education" isn't it. It isn't a case of eo having a snobbery attitude (although, they may or may not have come across badby, as Helen pointed out to me, i read the quotes in the manner they were probably intended rather than how they may have come across) - it's about eo being there advocating and supporting HE as an elective choice, not sweeping up the disaster situations that the LEA don't want to deal with.

i can't imagine unhappy parents or unhappy children being turned away from eo in any way, but i can understand why this move worries them.

Not so long ago my kids told some other kids that they were home educated; the immediate query from another 8 year old was "were you excluded?" - this has the potnetial to muddy waters quite a bit in terms of "either you sign here and say you HE or we exclude you" and effectively that is no choice either, especially if neither parent nor child want to HE.

3:40 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Yes, I guess it is down to how the choice to HE is put across to parents. This is a good argument for being up front about it actually, and putting it up there with the lists of schools to choose from in the first place.

Instead, they kind of try to hide it, then finally have to 'disclose' the legal right to home educate as a last resort - when they had a responsibility all along to inform parents of the right.

As a last resort thing, it could come across as "Well, we either exclude your children, or prosecute you, or you deregister," which I suppose could look coercive.

It does rather beg the question: what's the answer, then, for families like this?

But that's a far wider question, and it's for the families themselves and LEAs and governments to work out the answers I suppose.

As established HErs, I think we should do all we can to welcome, reassure and assist people who have deregistered - whatever the circumstances in which they did so. And I will still argue for the HE choice to be publicised as widely as possible.

We've had the 'Were you excluded then?' question. This is because excluded children do sometimes get home tuition, and are known as EOTAS (educated other than at school) which is easily confused with elective home ed, but not the same.

Zara says when she meets schooled teens and tells them she's home educated, they always immediately assume she's either very wealthy and has governesses, or has some kind of learning difficulties or behavioural problems, otherwise she'd be at school.

She just has to wearily explain the law to them, and it's always a complete surprise that HE is a viable option.

If LEAs publicised it as a viable option on a par with schools, this would be less of a problem.

I'm still repelled by the idea that some families shouldn't be given the information that they can HE - but I assume this isn't what you're saying :-)

3:55 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

Shouldn't the question be *what do they want to achieve by publicising this *problem*?*

I can't see that it can achieve anything other than delay of dereg, as it will only serve to set up a system of approval of *the right sorts*. Happy to be disproved, but I can't honestly see any other *solution*.

5:50 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

It absolutely isn't what i'm saying and i very much doubt it was what eo was saying either.

I'm all for HE being known about, told about, made a freely available option. I'm not keen on it being used as a way out for schools to dump their pupils who are going to drag down results.

There isn't any point having rose tinted spectacles about it; a teen effectively chucked out of school isn't going to necessarily have a parent who wants to be at home with them, the ability to rehabilitate or the personality reserves, or environment to find their way back to education. Not everyone who flounders in a wilderness will discover the delights of autonomous learning. Some will have been hurled out because theirs needs were specific, some will be angry, some will already have become extremely disaffected.

Some of them will just carry on doing what they were already doing as truants, hanging around causing trouble for themselves and others. Far from dereg bringing a relief from hassle for them, they WILL get hassled by LEAs and the police and a whole load of other people - for either good, or bad, reasons.

Chucked unwittingly into a maelstrom of "HE by default," who is to say that some of our least pleasant LEA inspectors aren't going to be worse hassle than school was? If anything, maybe they should have some other thing, some sort of EOTAS/HE status that awards them special help/support and recognises that educational provision may not be top on the list of priorities.

Oh i dunno... i really don't know what to think. In a sense, i do dislike the implication that HE is so low down on the list of options that is is basically a place for people schools have given up on. I tend to think of it as quite the opposite - but that doesn't make me a snob, just frustrated with the system i suppose.zhwtwcz

5:53 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Merry, I share your frustration! There are no easy answers. There have always been centres for EOTAS children - there still is at least one in each town AFAIK, and some of them seem to serve a very useful purpose. They keep young people off the streets, many offer recreation, vocational training and access to welfare services. They seem to have been another well-kept secret, along with the option to EHE.

It's weird because I'm sure I read somewhere that the government wants to open a load of children's centres for that very purpose. I thought: "Well, they've always existed anyway!"

The drive to keep every child in school, all day every day seems to be a very recent thing, post-NC I think. There have always been truancy officers but certainly in the 1970s and 1980s it was a much more relaxed affair - as school seemed to be in general. And of course there was the new Truancy Law to back it up.

Whenever I think it all through logically, I keep coming back to the same answer: education shouldn't be compulsory. Why is it? Children learn all the time anyway. It doesn't make sense to make education compulsory, it just makes a whole load of problems for people.

Zara and I were chatting this morning about what kind of school she'd want to make use of. One that she could use freely, whenever she wanted, she said. She'd like to learn woodwork, needlework and psychology. She'd like to attend every day from about 11am until about 3pm, but not compulsorily or even by contract - she'd just like the freedom to turn up or not, depending what else she was doing.

She'd also like the opportunity to talk to a teacher before she agreed to be taught by him/her, to find out whether she liked them, and to negotiate with them what she wanted to learn, and how, and when.

That's what I call personalised learning. Kids would want to go to school on those terms. I don't see why it can't be done.

Tech, that's a very good question. Judging by this, the BBC was apparently working to a specific agenda, even if the TES wasn't.

6:13 pm, April 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The HE world is one of the most clique ridden group of people I have ever met and God forbid if you use 'workbooks' or Curriculum then you may as well wear a badge of shame.

10:07 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Anonymous, yup, there is definitely that side to it. Sounds like you haven't really seen any other side though, which is sad.

We do autonomous learning here now, but we've used workbooks - still do sometimes if any of the children want to, and we all have curriculums (curriculi? lol) - its just that some are more structured than others.

It's not helpful for anyone to try to pretend there's only one 'right' way for everyone to home educate, because there so blatantly isn't - in fact there's probably a different way for each individual child, every day of the year!

If it works for your child, you're doing it 'right' IMO. I wouldn't take much notice of anyone who said otherwise. Water off a duck's back! What do they know about your child?

10:30 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Erm, that was rhetorical btw - probably they don't know much about your child was what I meant :-)

10:31 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

D'ya know I was just pondering some more on this as I was putting B to bed - it made sense in my head but may not in reality ;-)

I was whittling to L about it earlier and decided that the *scam* is potentially the start of an education revolution. League tables, sats, truancy figures have been the *bright idea* of gov think tanks, which schools and teachers have had to implement often against their own better judgement. Many teachers (more so the ones who did their training before the advent of the NC) are sick to the back teeth of the rigidity they have to try to work within. Budgets are tight (although as ARCH reported earlier, they can still manage to spend £25K on *cashless school dinners*). More and more special needs children are being placed into mainstream school; the proponent of that idea has recently said that she got it wrong and that it hasn't worked. Etc etc ad infinitum.

So.... is there the slightest chance that maybe the schools are starting to fight back? Could it be that as they don't have the resources to deal with all of these extra things the gov are dumping on them, and that presumably the LAs are not helping them to deal with effectively, the schools are laying the problem at the door of the LA? All those newly deregged kids are going to have to be dealt with by EWOs/EHE advisers, therefore the LAs are going to find their budgets don't stretch far enough, and they are going to be held accountable for all these children *missing from education*. Bit of payback is what I'm thinking. Eventually the schools will be hemorrhaging so badly that gov will have to sit up and realise that they have got it very badly wrong, and thus we see the downfall of compulsory education .... Muhahahahaaaaaaa

11:11 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! Could be, could be :-)

I had kids in school when the NC came in and the before & after difference was palpable. Teachers were totally demoralised.

Sometimes I think govt just wants to see how far it can push us.

Other times I think it means well, but just messes up. Yeah ok, I don't think this for long - 3 seconds max! ^^

Still other times I think its just we who are oddballs and everyone else is doing just fine inside the system, thank you. But the times I think this are increasingly few & far between.

From talking to schools & LEA people, my impression is that they're all pretty demoralised and feeling up against too much pressure to meet targets. There's not much fun around and certainly no optimism. So yes, what you say would fit in with that!

Our chief EWO wouldn't say or do anything he thought might be bad for a child though, bless him. I'm really not looking forward to his retirement.

11:25 pm, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"we can't handle you, we wash our hands of you, go off and do nothing like all those home educators we also want to discredit probably are."

But we're not doing nothing. We know we're not; the LEAs know we're not. The government knows we're not. I don't see how it can damage us for some people to suggest we might be, when it's blatantly not true.

The issue with Tony Mooney seems to be his inability to differentiate between work and learning IMO. This is a common misconception amongst some HE 'inspectors'. If we can demonstrate the fallacy of that, his accusations become baseless, surely.

9:58 am, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Hiya

This has all been very interesting to read. At first the article sounded like it was an excuse to get rid of problems kids onto their parents. Then it sounded like a great idea that LAs were seeing home ed as a way for these kids to have a chance where school was failing them. Then I panicked about the crap families that don't give a monkeys about their kids and they would use this chance to HE as a way to simply avoid prison and still do nothing for their children. Lets face it not all problems come from school - family life can be just as damaging. Anyway, I then realised that if the LAs do get parents to HE, it will then be their responsibility to check that the education privision thereafter is suitable etc. So if there are crap families out there who do use HE simply to stop any hassle for themselves, then the LAs will pick up on this and take action. Therefore, people who HE will still be following the law as it is. If a HE family is failing their child from that initial visit, then it is the LAs responsibility to get that child back into a school? The cycle will keep repeating until they *do something* about schools?

My bit of waffle lol

11:34 am, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"So if there are crap families out there who do use HE simply to stop any hassle for themselves, then the LAs will pick up on this and take action."

Exactly! And they'll know just who they are!

11:41 am, April 03, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Unfortunately our LA does pick up on this and uses it as a means by which they try to legitimise intrusive and bullying behaviour.

It is something I have spent some months mulling over (after a rather *interesting* meeting with Ed. Welfare and our local HE 'advisor' - and I use that term VERY loosely, LOL).

My point at the time was that surely such young people might benefit from HE and indeed with some sort of support it could be a very positive thing - however, having worked in voluntary projects supporting young people who were classed as 'in danger of social exclusion' (i.e. excluded from school etc.) there really is no easy solution - one can only hope that with some support from the local HE-ing community, i.e. the opportunity to meet local HE-ers etc. that this might be an eye-opener for the family and might cause them to reassess the circumstance they find themselves in, but that relies on the young person being suitably self-motivated and having atleast some support from their parents or carers.

I was a persistant truant (missed the majority of my final year), a runaway (from the age of 12 on and off, leaving for the longest at 15 - hence missing most of my final year - leaving home for good at 16). I had other associated problems (unsurprising considering the time I'd spent on the streets), etc, etc. However, I consider myself perfectly capable of HE-ing and would go as far as to say that the obvious danger I have been in aside, not going to school much hasn't done me much harm in either the education or social stakes (in fact, I was far more socially successful, the further I was away from school ;0)

Had my mother known that HE was an option, my teen years may well have been very different...

As an EO LC (acting atm, I hope, if someone's logged it somewhere :0D I don't really fit the mold of 'protecting the middle class brigade', rather just trying to get everyone on a level playing field with the LA.

My experience is that local HE-ers experience of the LA differs depending on social background etc. and that at times there can be a bit of a 'postcode lottery' - and our postcode wouldn't be considered to be one of the *right* ones.

8:51 pm, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

"I don't really fit the mold of 'protecting the middle class brigade'"

I am sure you don't Nikki. I didn't mean all individuals in EO or Ann - just a general attitude I had when a contact that came from the top.

10:47 pm, April 04, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

"I am sure you don't Nikki. I didn't mean all individuals in EO or Ann - just a general attitude I had when a contact that came from the top. "

I think this in the general difficulty - differences at grassroots level. It's one of the reasons why I think getting together with other HE-ers from around S. Yorks and discussing a more organised move forward re. our respective LAs (as has already been happening in Sheffield) may well be a positive thing.

I have quite a few concerns that families experience of HE can be very different depending on their background (and yes, there may well be more obvious differences due to level of income etc. - however, it goes far deeper than that). What annoys and greatly concerns me are the assumptions made by some people (some HE-ers included) that a family must be from a particular background in order to HE successfully/properly - anyway, should really be commenting further up the page

3:23 pm, April 05, 2007  

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