Local authorities' consultation responses: Awareness of concerns
The above is a direct quote from one of the Local Authority responses to the government's Consultation on Home Education Guidelines. It's a familiar lament and appears in some form or other in all three of the Local Authority responses I've seen.
I think this needs looking at from three angles.
First: In what different ways can the LA be made aware of concerns about a child's education? LAs can be contacted by families themselves who might wish, for whatever reason, to be monitored. Or by anyone else who knows the child and wishes to register their concerns. I would say that only 'extreme cases' ought to register as a concern to LAs, who don't ensure exemplary educational provision in schools, so why should they try to in any other respect? In court we only need to be able to satisfy 'a reasonable person', 'on the balance of probabilities' that the provision is suitable, and so Local Authorities should be applying the same measure.
Second: LAs seem to want to go and look for concerns when they haven't been made aware of any. This is bizarre, unnecessary and self-defeating. I would even go so far as to say, as I did yesterday, that it might put individual officers at risk of litigation.
Third: The Observer Effect of monitoring on educational provision. I wish there was some research to which we can refer when we try to explain how direct monitoring damages intrinsic motivation, amongst other problems. Does anyone know of any?