Friday, June 29, 2007

To register, or not to register?

That is the question.

I had a phone call from our LA home ed 'advisor' yesterday, requesting this year's updated information (just a short paragraph) about the educational provision for Zara, for her file. I agreed to send this, and I wondered whether to officially tell her about Lyddie.

She knows about Lyddie unofficially, but appears slightly unwilling, I get the impression, to be officially told about her. I assume this is because, if I register Lyddie with the LA as being home educated, I'll be in a good position for the next 12 years or so (18 with our baby) to keep my eye on how the LA treats registered HErs in the area, as I'll still be one of them. Whereas if Lyddie stays unregistered, the 'advisor' perhaps hopes I'll just disappear off the radar, along with my silly insistence on fair treatment and adhering to the law, etc.

Not that our LA is too bad compared to some, but there are a few outstanding issues, such as:

  1. Did the 'advisor' ever ask to have her payment arrangements changed, so that she's paid for all HE liaison work, not just visits? She said she would, be we never had confirmation it had happened.

  2. Her first letter to new HErs, when they come to her attention, used to make no mention of other methods of providing information, apart from the upcoming visit, with specified date and time, as if the family had no choice. The letter also requested samples of work and future plans almost as if these were a legal requirement, without mentioning alternatives or options. We were promised that this would change but we didn't follow it up. I asked recently on the local list whether anyone had received such a letter recently and got no reply, so I have no idea what her current standard letters look like.

  3. She knows that strictly there's no legal onus for ongoing monitoring arrangements, by LAs of HErs and yet she earns her money by pursuing them. This is a conflict of interests in my mind, and I have said as much to her. This issue has never been properly addressed.

So all of this does need following up and I'm probably in a better position to do so (?) if I have home educating children registered with the LA for the next 18 years.

Someone was wondering on one of the home ed lists today, why the powers that be seem to be against compulsory registration. Could it possibly be that the most 'militant' HErs tend not to be registered with their LAs and therefore the 'trouble' they might cause is mitigated by their wish to remain 'unknown'? (EF: I have 'inverted comma' disease too - it must be contagious!)

Being unknown would be nice, I must admit. It's a luxury I've never enjoyed because I deregistered Tom, Ali and Zara from school. But for Lyddie and the baby to learn at their own pace AND for me not to be ever justifying this to the LA is an attractive proposition.

Then I think about things like truancy patrols, which are a much less worrying pospect from a 'known' point of view, and can be complicated for 'unknowns'. And just the whole feeling that we might be doing something 'wrong'. (Yes, I have a very bad case of 'IC' syndrome!)

Well, Lyddie will soon reach her 5th birthday. I suppose we can register her any time if we decide to, but Zara has only one more year of compulsory education, so in effect, if I'm to stay seamlessly on the LA files, we have that year in which to decide.

Comments most welcome!


Blogger Ruth said...

I would let sleeping dogs lie if it were me but I have not had a hapy time since being found out about here. I think the possible benefits of changing their system ( which is only good until the next inspector is employed) is outweighed by the far greater benefit of learning with no interference from them. Also by registering you are giving them the message it is a legal requirement. They may start thinking everyone should.

1:54 pm, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Ruth. Hmmm. The main thing that's making me possibly want to register is the growing feeling that she doesn't want me to!

But yes, I might regret it at some point I suppose and its not reversable, is it?

2:09 pm, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Rachel said...

I really hope that you'll continue to blog your views on this as they develop, Gill. My own eldest child has just turned 5 and I'm utterly torn between remaining unknown and 'introducing myself' to our LA. On the one hand I know that there is no obligation on us to 'fess up and I am loathe to give the impression that I am unsure of my rights and responsibilities or to create a precedent which might erode others' right to anonymity. On the other, I can see that there would be advantages in being known... I would very much like to be in a position to challenge the LA on the wording of their website and correspondence with HE'ers for instance, and I should hate for my children ever to get the impression that the way in which we live our lives is 'wrong', perhaps during an uncomfortable confrontation with a truancy patrol. It's a tough choice, not least because if one does let the cat out of the bag then one can't (without moving to a new LA) stuff it back in again!
Great blog, always thought-provoking (and your shelves are fab!)

3:10 pm, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Gill, it strikes me that the reasoning may be something like:

1) We are skint, and can't cope with the demands of running schools.
2) If people deregister from school and do HE, we don't have to provide a school place, school dinners or anything else. We are quids in.
3) How about we persuade a few of our problem people to deregister, that will save loads more money.

4) Oh **** it, now they are all registering as HEers and we have to spend some of our money monitoring them.
5) Oh no!!!!!!! Now our Monitoring Person says they are failing! We will have to spend a fortune on lawyers bullying them back into school and pay for the school place etc etc for them. How are we going to afford our plush new offices now!!!!!

3:22 pm, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

I think I'd feel a duty for them and their shiny new databases to earn their money. But that might just be me being a Bolshevik ;-)

3:46 pm, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Louise said...

Tricky one really. We are not yet known so sometimes I think oooh I wonder when they will "find" us and sometimes I wish we were known so at least there isn't that mindset. I also think my older girls keep quiet about their home-ed like it is some secret and I don't think they's be quite like that if we were "official" (IC's!!! lol)
I know I could just call them but haven't as it just increases my workload - but you already have that so dunno? On the one hand you may just slip into the system with L and G when Zara is 16 and have many quiet years.
I have heard L Dempsey (Julie met with her on behalf of Chasing Rainbows to discuss Manchester home-ed treatment/cold-calling etc.) is leaving soon though so the next one may be worse... or maybe better. I guess it depends on how much work you want to put in.

12:45 pm, June 30, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Rachel, yes that's pretty much how I'm feeling too, now that I seem to have the choice. I will keep blogging my thoughts on it.

Tim, LOL! Yes sometimes I wonder if they really are so clueless!

Tech you Bolshevik ;-) I must admit the 'if in doubt do nothing' maxim is winning in my mind ATM.

Hmmm Lou, thanks for that bit of info. She never mentioned that on the phone. I'll keep my ear to the ground then. Or just phone back & ask her!

9:26 pm, June 30, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

I'm not so sure it's a *do nothing* stance as such.

I firmly believe that we have a duty to fight to protect our rights and freedoms as they currently stand. In my opinion every HEer who willingly registers is helping to sound the death knoll (flame retardant suit at the ready!).

I do realise that with the wretched contactpoint/CME agenda we will have defacto registration before much longer anyway, but I don't think that we are being honourable by willingly *handing ourselves in*. Of course we are already known about, and yes, in some ways this has brought with it a certain kind of freedom that we didn't have before we were known, but I don't think it's worth the extra hassle and stress that we went through providing those wretched reports etc. The worry that I experienced whilst pregnant was also not of any benefit, infact was detrimental to mine and my unborn child's health, and for that I will never ever forgive the stupid person who grassed us up! oops going off into rant mode there. ;-)

Of course the real benefit of being known for me, is being able to eb involved in trying to get N Yorks to be a better LA with regard HE. I don't think the fact that you (according to their records) don't have any school age children, should preclude you from continued involvement with the LA in that regard. Hope that makes sense I've got the cooker beeping at me as I type!

7:04 pm, July 02, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

I think what I'm trying to say is *conscientious objector* ;-)

8:48 pm, July 02, 2007  
Blogger Daddybean said...

I'm on the let sleeping dogs lie side of things here.

And not being known to the LA doesn't mean that you can't challenge them necessarily. There have been a few meetings here with the LA bod 'responsible' - among other things - for HE. Not everyone who has attended the meetings is known to the LA.

8:15 am, July 03, 2007  
Blogger mamadillo said...

mmm I'm thinking that you don't have to have a registered school-age child (where do they stand with post-16-FTHE kids? where do they stand with 'monitoring'? (yes, me too...) to be a *concerned parent and rep. of the home-ed community* wrt LA dealings.

9:32 pm, July 05, 2007  

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