More about the review panel
Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnados who also chairs the End Child Poverty Commission has now left the panel and I understand that, following pressure from Autism in Mind, someone from the National Autistic Society is being asked to join.
We haven't yet heard that anyone with direct experience of elective home education is being asked to join, let alone one of each of the various methods. I would have thought that if we're having experts in early years structure, qualifications and curriculum and early intervention programmes, we could also have at least one expert in elective home education on the panel of the, erm.. elective home education review. It's not complicated, is it?
I am also very worried that the person running the review doesn't seem to understand the concept of autonomous learning. When Ann Newstead said to him at the Bromsgrove meeting that "Autonomous learning is like Schrödinger's Cat: the act of observing it changes its state," his only reply was: "I don't agree."
As Dani said here yesterday: "I think that is probably the heart of the issue here. If he 'doesn't agree', then he just doesn't understand. It would be astonishing if he did - it takes many home educating families years to get it, and he has not spent time making that journey."
And nobody else on the panel seems to have a clue what it is that we do, so they don't even know exactly what they're supposed to be reviewing, in my opinion. This means that the review will (we assume, since the "Status quo cannot remain" comments - bewildering though they have been because they were attributed to child protection concerns by Graham Badman, which were then dismissed as a red herring by Stephen Heppell this week on this Dare To Know thread) be recommending legal changes pertaining to elective home education, without knowing how these will affect home educated children.
And I think the conflict of interests issue is a pertinent one. If you have a salaried position on the board of a charity which might benefit from certain legal changes, it would be unethical not to state this possible conflict of interests when asked to join a review panel which would give you a strong position of influence over such changes - especially when these might impact on the lives of a different section of society. And when the conflict of interests is blatant, it would be unethical to be asked to join such a panel.
In its present structure, the panel has no credibility with elective home educators. And given the shambolic confusion about its very reasons for existing, the review itself doesn't either. I cannot imagine even one tiny section of the 'home education community' (such as it is) recognising its findings when they're published in June, unless these are to recommend positive changes, such as the ones outlined in my What can the review do for you? and Blue skies thinking posts.
The mind boggles on trying to imagine how it's going to look in the press.