To register, or not to register?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!