Wednesday, May 06, 2009

EO's bombshell: the document

Carlotta has already fisked the document [opens pdf] and I agree with everything she says in her post so I hardly need to go through the process myself, but probably will anyway. Lisa has also blogged her thoughts, as eloquently as ever, as has Jax, whose post I meant to include in yesterday's list.

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.


Blogger Barry said...

On point 4 - what policy initiatives? Assess what impact? What home education policy?

Why can't we just be left in peace to get on with our lives if that's what we choose to do?

I'm not sure how I feel if some people were to group together and have this 'dialogue' with the DCSF, and decide they accept certain things (money, materials, offers of tuition, free exams) in exchange for certain conditions (perhaps hours of study, levels of attainment, some form of accountability or approval). I wouldn't want to dictate what anyone else should do, but would such a process start making life uncomfortable for anyone who didn't want to engage with that?

9:24 am, May 06, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

The thing isn't worthy of any more of your time to be honest Gill. Regardless of any *good* in it, the very bad wipes it out. The whole thing needs putting on a sacrificial fire along with the organisation it came from, or didn't - whatever.

10:33 am, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Rachel Harriet and Joe said...

When is the result of this review due is there a date as such.

1:03 pm, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

Gill, I know pretty sure that you've already put more time in this review than all the panel members together, and I agree, anymore time on this rent seekers document would be a waste. You - and many others - have said what needed to be said. Anybody still believing home edders interests are safe with an organisation that allows this kind of document to be published under their name is living in cloud cuckoo land.

5:24 pm, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

Totally agree with all the other comments and yes, Gill you have put more effort in then the whole of the panel put together and thank you for that.

5:44 pm, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

Gill Imust agree with what others have said, you have over the years provided anybody who cares to visit S.I.P with an insight into day to day life for a home educating family. Not a typical because in home education there are no typicals only individuals. When consultations have come around you have gathered together info and views from around home edsville and the ptb and published it with links so there is literally a library at our fingertips.
With the present review you have gone all out to present facts, views and, importantly, an open comments box for people to use knowing that you would come back and join in any debate that developed.
Many times I have seen S.I.P mentioned in the press , on other blogs and various sites, with S.I.P and other sources and insights so freely accessible the DCSF did not need to hold this review, there is enough info out there they have stated that the nspcc offered no evidence when calling for home educators to be tarred and feathered the whole exercise has been a sham and I believe the day is approaching when the truth will out and the true instigators of this charade will be exposed.

2:07 am, May 07, 2009  
Blogger Carlotta said...

"Are we working towards 'engagement', then? If so, why? ..."

Thanks for doing this fisking Gill. You've made loads of hugely pertinent points I didn't make, including the one above, which I think represents THE major difference between my pov and that of the writers of the prospectus.

The government MUST remain the parent of last resort and given that their services are not required here, I and all the rest of the family want as little engagement as possible as it is just a waste of our time.

9:38 am, May 07, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Barry, some very good questions there from you, as ever.

Cosmic, I've got perhaps one more post in mind for it, then I might leave it alone. Unless it looks like it might be taken seriously by the review. Sheesh, as if we haven't got enough problems to deal with..

Rachel, sometime this month apparently. They did talk about postponing it until June, then Elaine pointed out that they couldn't do that, so we're back to May again now.

Ruth, thanks you too xx

Elaine, "I believe the day is approaching when the truth will out and the true instigators of this charade will be exposed." Hold that thought! It's a good one :-)

Carlotta, it's good to see we're on the same page, as usual.

9:09 am, May 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like they haven't published in May after all. It doesn't matter how many home educated children cases they think they have. You do not, and cannot, lock up all home educators because one or ten or fifty home educators make the decision to abuse. You cannot blame a group of people for one individual's crime.

It is a basic tenet of law. The whole idea of 'monitoring' one section of the population for another's crimes makes no sense.


1:57 pm, June 04, 2009  

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