Monday, April 27, 2009

Looking at the panel (9)

Before I start talking about the 9th panel member, I want to link to this animation [opens YouTube]: The Bad Man, by Doublets Animations. I know the family who made it: the Doublet's mum often comments here. She can declare herself if she likes: I'm not sure whether they want to remain sort of semi-anonymous or not. I think they did very well in the making of it - it must have taken ages, and required a lot of patience and skill. I also think it was an extremely good idea to produce such a film, which expresses how many of us feel about the review in ways that mere words probably can't. Or at least, all the words make it complicated and the film reduces the problem to basic simplicity, which is a good thing.

I'll be linking it in my sidebar soon. When I've finished this series on the panel I'm planning to spend one blogging session on updating the sidebar here. There are some more quotes that definitely need to go on there too: Professor Heppell's 'red herring' one, and many more. It's going to be a long sidebar!

I also want to highlight this post of Carlotta's from the weekend about 'What We're Up Against'. I've left a comment there about ECM, which I increasingly think is the only problem that the review needs to solve.

So, back to looking at the panel. Its 9th member is Professor June Statham, from the Institute of Education, which tells us more about her here:

I have over twenty-five years experience of research into early childhood services and support for vulnerable children and their families, including children in need in the community and children who are cared for away from home. I coordinate programmes of fast-response research for the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

- though I'm struggling to see the relevance in that to the issue of elective home education.

Here is a list of books she's either written or co-written. I wish I had some of them to read, but I don't, so I can only keep Googling. I see that amongst them is an Education Fact File (Were any of the facts about elective home education, I wonder?) and another is about Family Day Care:

Family day care or childminding plays a significant role in the provision of childcare in many countries, but is facing new challenges. Bringing together theory, research and knowledge from practice, this topical book presents a variety of informative perspectives on this important service. Contributors from ten countries draw on their recent research to examine how family day care has developed in differing economic and social climates. Covering the views of policy makers, childcare providers and parents, the book includes discussion of:
  • levels of government intervention
  • training and support for providers, including childminding networks
  • creating partnership between parents and carers
  • defining quality and raising standards
  • the future of family day care.
By illuminating different approaches that will inform understanding and can contribute to the formation of effective policies and practice, this book will be a useful resource for policy makers, researchers, childcare service providers, students on childcare courses and others with an interest in child care policy.

- which seems about as far away from what we do as it's possible to get. Still, presumably her expertise is diverse. I did manage to read something of the Nature of Special Education, from what's available there online and from that I think she must have extensive knowledge, sympathy and understanding of SEN issues, though I do wonder how much of the integration policy she expounds is about.. well, politics (with a small 'p') and how much is about what's actually best for each individual child. Hmm.

She's also co-written (with Anne Mooney) this JRF report about Childcare services at atypical times [opens pdf, links to summary of report], which - with everything else I've read today - tempts me to conclude that much of Professor Statham's work has been about finding a wide and immensely detailed range of solutions for 'children' (as though they're a problem) outside of the family home, being cared for/ educated etc. by people other than their parents. After ten years of home educating and building a strong and healthy home-based family, it's probably no surprise if I say that I just don't get that kind of thinking and I certainly don't see how it relates to elective home education.

There's another bio of Professor Statham here [opens pdf], which includes a list of her current and recent research projects:

2003-05: Care careers? The work and family lives of childcare workers providing for children in need in family and institutional settings
Department of Health

2002: Atypical work hours and childcare services
Joseph Rowntree Foundation

2000-02: Fifty Plus: Caring and Work after Fifty
Joseph Rowntree Foundation

1999-2001: Supporting families: a comparison of outcomes and economic evaluation of services for children in need in two areas of Wales
Wales Office of Research and Development

1996-2000: The provision of sponsored day care for children in need
Department of Health

- mostly about 'Childcare' again? Nothing related to what we do, except that they both involve children.

I think I'm going to stop there. It's raining here so no gardening, but there's still more to do than I've got time for. As ever, additions to my research about Professor Statham or any of the other panel members will be much appreciated, either in the comments here, or by email.

I'll just finish by saying that Professor Statham seems like an industrious, caring person of high intellect, but whose ideology about children and education appears to be extremely similar to that of the government, and extremely dissimilar to that of every elective home educator known to me.


Blogger Elaine said...

Why do I feel that you have researched the panel far more thoroughly than did the Bad man?
The review is a cobbled together nothingness that was born of lies and copy paste twixt the nspcc and a couple of LA's , they see the dcsf as a money pot where they toddle along with some 'research' and the dcsf give them free access to the pot for funding consults and reviews.
Well now the gov have got every family membver in work/daycare dependent on age how the hell are they gonna stop Britain from becoming pandemic hell.
Once upon a time families had a member at home to care for the children , what happens now? is the gov gonna keep it's schools and daycare centres open longer than would be deemed safe ?
This gov has attempted to place itself in the role of parent I fear they are about to find that state parenting is a heavy responsibility.

12:03 am, April 28, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Blimey - you don't think he researched all this stuff? I must admit, that possibility hadn't occurred to me. I was thinking it must have been some kind of a deliberate ploy, to employ a panel of experts who seem to know nothing about elective home ed and probably wouldn't agree with it if they did. The idea that it might have been done by accident out of sheer laziness never crossed my mind! Sheesh. I don't know which is worse, TBH.

As for the heavy responsibility, well they'll be out of office in two years, won't they? Leaving behind what some of them undoubtedly think of as their socialist paradise(!) and others obviously haven't really thought much about at all. Or have, but far more nefariously.

They've certainly done a terrible thing to this country. Is it too late to reverse it, I wonder?

6:06 am, April 28, 2009  

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