Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm in heaven....

From the DfES proposed guidelines for local authorities on elective home education [opens pdf]:

Providing a full-time education

3.11 Parents are required to provide an efficient education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of the child. There is currently no legal definition of “full-time”. Children normally attend school for between 22 and 25 hours a week for 39 weeks of the year, but this measurement of ‘contact time’ is not relevant to home education where there is often almost continuous one-to-one contact and education may take place outside normal ‘school hours’. The type of educational activity can be varied and flexible. Home-educating parents are not required to:

· teach the National Curriculum
· have a timetable
· have premises equipped to any particular standard
· set hours during which education will take place
· have any specific qualifications
· make detailed plans in advance
· observe school hours, days or terms
· give formal lessons
· reproduce school type peer group socialisation
· match school, age-specific standards.

However, local authorities should offer advice and support to parents on these matters if requested.

3.12 It is important to recognise that there are many, equally valid, approaches to educational provision. Local authorities should therefore consider a wide range of information from home educating parents, in a range of formats. The information may be in the form of specific examples of learning e.g. pictures/paintings/models, diaries of work, projects, assessments, samples of work, books, educational visits etc.

3.13 In their consideration of parents’ provision of education at home, local authorities may reasonably expect the provision to include the following characteristics:

· consistent involvement of parents or other significant carers – it is expected that parents or significant carers would play a substantial role, although not necessarily constantly or actively involved in providing education
· recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations
· opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences
· access to resources/materials required to provide home education for the child – such as paper and pens, books and libraries, arts and crafts materials, physical activity, ICT and the opportunity for appropriate interaction with other children and other adults.

3.14 If, on considering the educational provision, one or more of the above characteristics appear to be lacking, local authorities may choose to further investigate whether or not an efficient and suitable education is, in fact, being provided. A full written report of the findings should be made and copied to the parents promptly, specifying the grounds for concern and any reasons for concluding that provision is unsuitable. If the authority is not satisfied that efficient education is being provided, and the parents, having been given a reasonable opportunity to improve their provision and report back to the authority, have not done so, the authority should consider serving a School Attendance Order (see section 2.7).

Section 3.13 in particular is music to my ears. Whoever is responsible for bringing this about - thank you! I don't know who or how it happened, but if this guidance goes through in its present form I'll be delighted, because it will improve and clarify the situation for home educators throughout the country who are doing an excellent job for their children, often despite being under unfair, unhelpful and unwarranted pressure from their local authority.

You can see the details about this and other DfES consultations here.


Blogger Ruth said...

I have to admit racing round the house screaming with joy when I saw it but I am still a bit confused, as I put on Carlotta blog comments. I don't understand the last link of the consultation page on impact assessments. It seems they are looking at putting compulsory registration of HE as a possibility and something else to do with disabled children. Can anyone who can enlightned me as to what impact assessments are ?

8:15 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

Blimey. Parallel universe alert!

8:53 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Is it this kind of impact assessment, Ruth? Or something else, do you think?

9:25 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

Yes it looks like that. I read it on the bottom link on the consultation on HE guidance. It says it is a partial regulatory impact assessment for elective home education consultation.

9:36 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

LOL Merry

9:58 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger emma said...

THank you for the impact assessment bit.

I'm guessing we all now have to write and say "thank you. Do not change a word" to most of it, so the LAs don't get to put a doorstepping clause in, right?

mcbyfjq is my anti spam code this time, by the way. It's one of those unpronouncable scottish surnames

10:22 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL at the spam word!

Hmm it will be interesting to see the LAs response to that, won't it? I hope we don't have to give any ground. The problem might be that if this is the starting point, we'll be expected to meet in the 'middle' somewhere.. ?

Well, let's hope that's not the case.

I think the Impact Assessment is something they have to do for every consultation to justify their reasons for consulting, the costs and implications etc.

10:32 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

I think the Impact Assessment is something they have to do for every consultation to justify their reasons for consulting, the costs and implications etc.

I hope you are right Gill. I read it and didn't like some of it and thought oh no. The rest of it is great. If it goes ahead there will be foaming at the mouth in some LA offices:)

10:38 pm, May 08, 2007  
Anonymous jax said...

Now I thought 3.13 could be read as insisting that parents provided computers in the house, and that's a bit unfair as there are some ppl who don't want to and others who can't afford to.

mqamfnpy, btw.

11:02 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Well, as long as they leave the "such as" in Jax, it's only a list of examples, though I guess some LAs could possibly read it as a compulsory list.

The thing is, as I was thinking earlier, you'd have to tie yourself up in linguistic knots to prevent the Tony Mooneys and Richard Iballs of this world from misconstruing some tiny aspect of something, wouldn't you? :-(

11:14 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hmm I see what you mean Ruth. Reading the disability impact assessment now. It's either saying "This is what previous studies (York, Ivatts) have found and we're totally ignoring them both," or "This is what they've found.. so we should talk about working some of it into revised drafts."

Hopefully the former, but that wouldn't make much sense, would it?

11:25 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

No - I am confused by it I must admit. I might ask on AHeD.

11:39 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Good plan :-)

11:49 pm, May 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

It made the BBC news front page this evening!

"Going to school 'not compulsory'"

12:21 am, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Blimey, and they managed it without one mention of Travellers. *Jaw hits floor*

12:23 am, May 09, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

"Now I thought 3.13 could be read as insisting that parents provided computers in the house, and that's a bit unfair as there are some ppl who don't want to and others who can't afford to."

I picked up on this as well and also pointed out that some families might choose not to have a computer in the house (or telly, etc.) and that this is not necessarily of detriment to the child's educational experience, it's something that can be picked up later should a young person wish to do so.

I was rather concerned by the anti-Traveller/Roma tone though (but aside from that, I was really pleased with it, copied the guidelines and really look forward to being able to fire them back at the LA here).

1:54 pm, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Lindsey said...

If it just says "access to resources" does that not mean that using computers at the library is sufficient *access* *if the child is interested*?

3:28 pm, May 09, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Yes, but some families may chose not to access such facilities (for whatever reason).

10:23 pm, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Yep, I completely see your point dottyspots :)

Gill: For some reason when I post a comment it brings up a box which asks me for *my own blog password*. I've deleted the link in my google profile. Not sure if it's popping up for anyone else? If it is - sorry and do remove my comments to stop it from happening lol :)

4:56 pm, May 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's happening to me to, for a website I know nothing about. Looks like some form of spyware or malware.

9:00 am, May 12, 2007  
Blogger Lindsey said...

*pulling hair out* the box that pops up is for my blog. I was linking my blogger profile picture to a file that is password protected on my ftp site. I've changed it so that it's not but the box is still popping up. Sorry gill :( It's nothing dodgy, just my log in box lol. If you delete my comments though it should stop it. It's because it is trying to display my picture from a protected source, even though ive changed the source now *rolls eyes*

9:54 am, May 12, 2007  

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