Monday, February 23, 2009

Two more questions. Where did *they* come from?

The review closed to home educators on 20th February, yet we found out yesterday that Mr Badman apparently has two further questions to work out the answers to that somehow didn't make it into the list! Strange, isn't it? Perhaps we can blame the same pesky cloud of confusion that prevented him from putting any actual experts in elective home education onto his panel of, um.. 'experts' in elective home education.

Here are the other two questions anyway, which apparently came to light during an EO meeting at the weekend. (But don't ask me why, or how.. the politics of all this escape me.)

What is a suitable education for the 21st century?

and

How can EHEers show that their children are receiving such an education?

It's a pity he didn't get around to adding them to our list, because I don't think any of us would have struggled with the answers.

Firstly, a suitable education for the 21st century is one that is:

efficient and full-time education according —

(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs he may have

- as per Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act and section 436A of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

And secondly, we show that our children are receiving such an education by providing information when asked, as set out in the Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities:

The most obvious course of action if the local authority has information that makes it appear that parents are not providing a suitable education, would be to ask parents for further information about the education they are providing. Such a request is not the same as a notice under section 437(1), and is not necessarily a precursor for formal procedures. Parents are under no duty to respond to such enquiries, but it would be sensible for them to do so.

Just to clarify: it says nowhere in law that a suitable education has anything to do with Professor Heppell's NotSchool.net, or with Becta, by whom I understand Mr Badman is also employed, or with any of its sponsors.

And to further clarify:


ELECTIVE HOME EDUCATION IS NOT FOR SALE.

At any price.

25 Comments:

Blogger Gina xx said...

Nothing else to say to that really.
If he comes out with the "well there were no answers to the two questions" At least we can shout "well you never bloody asked us them that's why"
But then he really isn't interested in what we have to say!

8:03 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Tell you what I'm interested in Gina: whether this man has integrity. I suppose we'll find out the answer to that in May when his report is published.

8:22 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Dani said...

Hear hear!

I have always been quite impressed with "suitable to the child's age, aptitude and ability", as it clearly describes an education which is personal to each child.

I think it would be hard for them to come up with a better formulation.

8:34 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

I agree Dani. Don't you think this review is starting to feel somewhat predatory now?

9:14 am, February 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about if every single one of us writes to that email address at the dcsf for the review, with pretty much those answers to his questions.

The final bit in large capitals almost moved me to tears. Yes, dammit. Home Education IS NOT FOR SALE.

10:22 am, February 23, 2009  
Anonymous Jax said...

Those questions have not been posed to us all, and would probably be better not answered by anyone, unless we want to bypass the consultation that might follow this review. If we answer those questions we may be said to be consulting on them, and I don't think that's what we want to be doing, whatever answer we give.

10:45 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Jax makes a good point. I won't be contacting Mr Badman or the review team directly with answers to these questions, in case the full consultation process can be said to have been breached as a result.

10:55 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

I believe that to counter the consultation by default risk everybody should go to one virtual place where it is safe for children to register and absolutely everybody should do so , then if they should get responses from anybody there is a large enough contingent to say NO as one voice and demand a legal process.
There is such a place , are there the people? I am assuming f/book has been a barrier to some because it is so public so a place with a private element ...

11:23 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Are we really saying - just checking this - that if we answer questions that haven't officially been asked, the full consultation process may then be legally rendered unnecessary?

Elaine - anyone! - can you show me the regulation that refers to this?

11:27 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

HEAR HEAR!!

11:32 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Riaz said...

Please don't answer these questions. They are a trap.

11:40 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Raquel said...

Gill, I added to your slogan and it is my facebook pic now:

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2po8db9&s=5

the stoneroses song has been going through my head since we heard the name badman. It was written about the student riots in France in the 60's apparantly.

11:50 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

We are on our way to Ayr very shortly but if you go to the consultations faq's you will see that a consultation can take place without an actual consultation taking place.
They sought wide stakeholder opinion on the outcomes therefore negating the need to consult .
A further point that worries me is that this review is (screen cleaner at the ready) independent therefore it is not regulated as a gov one would be , if the findings of the review warrant it (and you can bet they will) then gov can act to enshrine the findings in leg without further ado.
Home education is being taken for a ride and putting any further personal details in the hands of a private company without having any reassurance as to the safety of that data (you have to assume here that any submissions to the dcsf addy are forwarded to the independent review ) mmm hand on a minute wasn't that review quest run on a gov website? so was there a statement there explaining that our responses would be forwarded to a non gov comp? oh I will shut up and go to Ayr

11:54 am, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

That looks great, Raquel! I hadn't realised it was my new slogan, LOL, but I'm very happy for it to be :-)

Elaine I checked the link you sent me the other day, but couldn't find anything that said the public consultation route could be bypassed if unofficial questions had already been answered. I need you to point me at the relevant bit, please. Or you, Riaz, since you seem to know!

12:26 pm, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

Just finding it but came across this gem which certainly confirms their wish to tag from birth
http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1600&external=no&menu=1
looks like anyone would be able to add their t'pence worth

12:41 pm, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

Ministers retain their existing discretion not to conduct formal consultation exercises under the
terms of the Code. At times, a formal, written, public consultation will not be the most effective
or proportionate way of seeking input from interested parties, e.g. when engaging with
stakeholders very early in policy development (preceding formal consultation) or when the scope
of an exercise is very narrow and the level of interest highly specialised. In such cases an exercise
under this Code would not be appropriate.
http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file47158.pdf

12:45 pm, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks. So do we think that's saying that the full public consultation process might be bypassed in this case?

1:08 pm, February 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seen from the 'outside', i.e: from outside the UK, this is what appears to be happening:

More and more people are choosing to home educate in the UK because of many reasons (including that the schools are in a dire state generally speaking, and even the ones that are good are often very very dodgy places to house kids). Because there are more and more home educators, the governing forces see y'all as a little army.

"We cannot just have people going about in groups deciding what they are going to do!" "What if everybody decided to take full responsibility for their kids! Where would the school system be then!" "They are ungoverned, leading ungovernable children!"

The thing is, it's great that home educators have swelled in numbers, but now we stick out like a sore thumb. I guess we hoped that if there were more of us we would have more personal power, we'd be able to back eachother up and rally against the people who like to govern the masses if those people gave us gip. But it doesn't really work like that at this stage.

The little army of home educators is seen as a great threat.

The governing forces will dress it up in any way they can, even say it is for our 'own good' and the good of our kids, but what it basically boils down to..basically...is that home educators are being forced to clock on and off like the rest of the population do.

We escaped through a loop hole in the law, but it is a loop hole. It was never intended to free the people. I wonder at how much power individuals have to actually keep that loophole open?

Perhaps the more we group together as a united front the more threat we will be and the more they will squeeze all life and possibility out of that loophole that allows us to choose: school or otherwise.

They want to indentify 'criminals' in the crib, it's hardly likely that the people in power will let a group of people step out of the system just because they want to is it?

I'd say, time to go well subversive LOL, in some ways it might be better to just give them what they want, meet their standards, let them into our homes all that crap, rather than try to 'stand up' to them. The governing forces are sick anyway, the more we push the more they will push back. The new proposals are insulting to intelligence, so why fight back with our best intelligence? Why reason?

We stand to lose our rights just by holding them aloft. In some ways the fact that we can cite the law may show that the law needs to be changed(in their eyes.)

*shrugs*

Gill, I came over here expecting a post that could offend...LOL, I wonder: who is it that could be offended by what you have written? And why?



EF xxxxx

3:18 pm, February 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By: "in some ways it might be better to just give them what they want, meet their standards, let them into our homes all that crap, rather than try to 'stand up' to them." i meantit is very easy to give them what they want, or at least appear to, rather than argue the toss with 'em about what is right for our kids.

It means teaching our children to do what they have to do in school which is basically playing the game.

We all went to school (with one or two exceptions) we all learnt to play the game. in some ways our kids are vulnerable because they do not know how to play the game. They cannot meet these standards or even appear to. The standards are crap and insane in lots of cases, but problem is: we have elected a government and we have to freaking interface with them in some way.

I favour not standing against them, but getting wiley on them. Whyever not? The government is not going away is it?

Having said all that, I do believe in miracles too, so maybe there is a chance our freedom to choose can be won and respected.

Just not one of those prepared to put it all on the line right now. They (inspectors of home ed) can do what they like, I will just work around them. *shrugs* It's not like they are cleverer than me anyway. LOL. And they have to believe they are bigger than us anyway.
EF xxxx (again) xxxx

3:27 pm, February 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Elective Home Education is not for sale".

No, I don't suppose it is.

But then, they are not planning to buy, are they?

They are just planning to ban it.

So much simpler; no arguments, no negotiations, nothing untidy at all.

Just hand over your kids. It's for your own good, you know.

6:26 pm, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

I agree with Riaz that the questions are a trap and said as much on the AHED list last night. I think suitable is being taken out the of the context of a, a,a and any SEN and this is where the problem lies. If it is left as a whole sentenc is suitablee ed is obvious, also obvious is the fact that only a HE truly knows what is suitable. How can an LA official come in and say what is suitable when they know nothing about our children?

6:46 pm, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

EF, your POV is one I shared for a long time. We had LA visits and 'passed' with flying colours, which turned out to be very useful when my exdh took us to court. It wasn't until all that pressure was off and we experienced some real freedom that I began to realise the value of it WRT the children's learning - the freedom, that is, not the 'learning to play the game'. Game-learning takes about five minutes, whereas the benefits of being free of it are cumulative, and the one undoes the other.

This post may have been offensive to some people because it questions the integrity and motivations of the review and some of the people involved with it. However, given the CVs and connections publicly listed, it's difficult not to raise such questions.

"But then, they are not planning to buy, are they? They are just planning to ban it."

No, DCSF has repeatedly said they are not going to ban EHE and I don't think that is the plan. I do think that there may be an idea of putting the contract on us out to tender, which is BECTA's line of business. We are perhaps being sized up now with that idea in mind - hence Prof. Heppell's interest and position on the panel. NotSchool.net gets its money from working with expelled pupils, you see, and getting them to log onto the internet every day to work with them online. I didn't realise that needed spelling out! Perhaps I should blog with more clarity, but I just assumed people would follow the links etc..

"How can an LA official come in and say what is suitable when they know nothing about our children?"

They can't, and nor can any other outsider, but it doesn't stop them thinking they can :-/

6:49 am, February 24, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL Pete - yes! (And post the pics..)

1:06 pm, February 24, 2009  
Blogger mamacrow said...

Professor Heppell and notschool.net, Mr Badman and Becta (not to mention the sponsers) erm, conflict of interests anybody?!

No one read the guidelines on that when they were setting up the committee then? Oh.

9:30 pm, February 24, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

"It wasn't until all that pressure was off and we experienced some real freedom that I began to realise the value of it WRT the children's learning - the freedom, that is, not the 'learning to play the game'."

I have found that since living here. The LA know about us but are happy to leave us to get on with it cos they know the law and it has only been since the monitoring stopped things have taken off. I feel like, in some ways, we wasted nearly 5 years of HE cos of the intrusions and interference cos the kids did work to please ( the LA )to an extent. Having tangible results was a pressure on them, unspoken tho it was at the time. I have no wish to go back to that cos it isn't suitable education for them. Yes LA's and other total strangers do think they know what is suitable - arrogant lot aren't they?

11:41 pm, February 24, 2009  

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