Looking at the panel (11)
Oh dear. I was actually quite hopeful about this panel member, but I've just come across a report she's co-written called 'Make school make sense for me' [opens pdf] in which "Samuel, aged 12, talks about home education, returning to school, and ambitions."
Turns out Samuel, aged 12, isn't being electively home educated or even receiving an education at home. He's actually receiving three lessons a day in a learning support room, presumably provided by his Local Authority. He and his mother think this isn't enough of an education for him (and nor is it: so much for "efficient, full-time, suitable.."!) and all he wants is to get back to school.
I really hope Ms Reid understands, now that she's on the panel of a review about elective home education, what we consider to be home education. How can the council-provided variety (which is when a pupil can't attend school for some reason but whose parents don't opt for deregistration so the Local Authority is obliged to continue to make educational provision) even be called home education, when it doesn't take place at home? I know, elective home education often doesn't happen at home either. Electively home educating families are often out and about attending workshops and gatherings and so on, but in most cases the provision remains at least loosely home-based, so the term's use can be justified. But the non-elective verson? They should call it LA Education or - at a push - EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) which it's already often known as.
In a cached article about the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act , Ms Reid said:
The obsession the government has created around testing has impeded the drive towards inclusion
So.. she's not a fan of testing, but she is a fan of 'inclusion'? I'm not sure whether that's good news or bad, then.
Ms Reid has written this article [opens pdf] about autistic children being the targets of bullies at school. I liked the article: it showed great sensitivity and was easy to read, but I was sorry to not see parental deregistration explained as a viable option, even though:
Many parents say that the added distress of bullying has
led their child to self-harm or to feel suicidal.
She attended this All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism [opens pdf] last April, although it was actually the government minister's answer to her question that I found fascinating:
Beth Reid, National Autistic Society thanked the Minister for her comments about the NAS and asked how independent living can be made a reality for individuals with Asperger syndrome who may be dependent on their family for support yet fall outside the Fair Access to Care Services criteria
• Anne McGuire replied that in terms of independent living, the general principles highlighted in the strategy document represented the direction of travel for delivering services.
The general principles highlighted in the strategy document represented the direction of travel. Is that another open admission of preplanned mission creep, or just the ordinary kind of waffle?
Enough. I've read a lot about Ms Reid now - as much as I could access, and I can see that she seems to be industious, eloquent and passionate about children with Special Educational Needs. However, sadly, I can find nothing to suggest that she has ever thought that parents could provide for those needs.
Still, if she campaigns as energetically for the rights of electively home educated SEN children as she apparently does for schooled ones, she will perhaps be a help, rather than a hindrance to our cause.
Tomorrow I'm planning to post a summary of the 11 panel members.