EO's bombshell: the document
Onto the document then [opens pdf].
Firstly, although it's now being said to be "not an EO publication in the usual sense: just the personal views of these six people," or some such, I notice that it's called the "EDUCATION OTHERWISE PROSPECTUS FOR IMPROVING SUPPORT TO HOME EDUCATING FAMILIES," it contains EO's address, logo and registered charity number and the first page is all about EO, casually mentioning its 32 year history and its 4000 members. So, if this is "not an EO publication in the usual sense: just the personal views of these six people," then those six people have - knowingly or not - abused their position within EO, by allowing that to be cited to try to give them more clout.
Pages three and four look ok, although again we have:
"Education Otherwise has over thirty years experience in this field and is pleased to offer its expertise to the investigation."
Education Otherwise might have 'over thirty years experience in this field' but the named authors certainly do not.
And there are hints of the bombshell to come:
How will the Government address the lack of a framework for meaningful communication with our community at local, regional and national levels?
Back to whether it's "not an EO publication in the usual sense: just the personal views of these six people,":
Education Otherwise believes that home educators and local and national government need to find out more about each other's point of view and there needs to be a recognised framework for continued dialogue.
And a summary of the proposals:
Our proposals for this include an annual Home Education Conference, a national Home Education Committee, regional home education workshops, more drop-in centres for home educating families and more listening to what home educators say they want.
I suspect the vast majority of us has neither the money nor the time to attend an annual Home Education Conference, so will be excluded from decision-making on that basis and the committee will not be sanctioned or supported by the wider home educating community, so it's a non-starter.
We believe that the Government and local authorities can only start to discover the complex reasons behind non-engagement if they try to understand the perspective of the family and are able to listen in a nonjudgemental way and to take time to reflect on what they might learn from these conversations.
Are we working towards 'engagement', then? If so, why? When a parent deregisters her child from the school system, she reclaims her full responsibility for his education, does she not? And she already had full responsibility for his welfare. We need to be united in drawing the line in the sand at that point, not kicking over its traces as if it was never there in our rush to join in the beachball party. Government is the parent of last resort and needs to stay that way.
Yes, and it's the 4th recommendation here:
4. Recommendation: that the DCSF Elective Home Education Team should work with home education support organisations to set up a national Committee for Home Education, remit to include contributing to Government policy initiatives related to home education, contributing to Impact Assessments and making recommendations related to Home Education policy.
that we've got so many problems with - and all associated recommendations (which seems to be most of the rest of them). Home education support organisations represent a small fraction of HErs, and the ones that exist can't get along with each other well enough together to form a committee. AHEd wouldn't work with EO (It has just written to Mr Badman including a statement of disassociation from the EO proposals) and I have serious doubts as to whether HEAS would either. So it would be the DCSF Elective Home Education Team working with EO's Government Policy Group - in effect, Fiona, Ann and Annette - to set up a national Committee for Home Education which would exclude all of the other home education activists. Neat. This is why we're calling it a stitch-up.
Recommendation 7, as has been said on the e.lists, is totally vague:
7. Recommendation: that the Home Education Committee undertakes to review all such initiatives in the light of Every Child Matters including home educated children.
What on earth does 'all such initiatives' mean?
I now find that I'm faced with a decision as to whether to continue working through the document, finding some things that I like and most things (related to the committee and the conference) that I don't, or whether to stop there and keep the focus on those because anything else I write might detract from the full extent of the destructive and disastrous bombshells that they are.
I think I'll leave it there.