Stress testing the Badman report: looking for weak points: Part 7
So I've never been on the home education special needs list, or - beyond reading some excellent posts in more general groups and on blogs - had any specific knowledge about how families who deal with more problematic cases fare, though that's not actually 100% true: I've helped to support some local home educating families with serious SEN over the years, and noticed that they do tend to be unfairly treated by local authorities, compared to other home educators.
This is my position on starting to look at section 7 of the report.
7.1 .. Many parents whose children have needs as diverse as dyslexia and autism, withdrew their child often in despair that their needs were not being adequately met in school. In such instances, it is often a case of ‘home education by default’ rather than ‘elective home education’
This describes our situation back in 1998 quite well although it turned out to be such a good - albeit forced - decision, that we're definitely elective home educators now. I suspect this is quite a common process: once the shackles of school are shaken off for whatever reason, families find they could never contemplate a return and subsequent children are then electively home educated throughout.
7.2 ... Many point to the need for greater sensitivity in intervention, indeed some are fearful that the act of monitoring would in itself be damaging to the child.
I sympathise with this position, and think it probably also holds true for many children without SEN. I'd like to see some research on the issue, and would have thought that any serious educationalist would have given it more consideration in such a crucial report.
Recommendations 17 and 18, arising from points 7.4 and 7.5:
therefore give rise to particular concern.
Actually, they're quite shocking aren't they? He goes straight from paying lip service to the idea that monitoring might be damaging to SEN children, to therefore recommending a whole lot more of it, without even bothering to include any linking attempts at justification in between! Badman the sadist, or just carelessness? Either one is pretty, well.. bad, isn't it?
That the statutory review of statements of SEN in accord with Recommendation 18 above be considered as fulfilling the function of mandatory annual review of elective home education recommended previously.
really ought to go without saying and the fact that he feels the need to spell it out like that tells us that he really does know how pedantic and unforgiving some local authority officers can be. And yet he's still keen to hand them so much power over our children's lives.
When a child or young person without a statement of special educational needs has been in receipt of School Action Plus support, local authorities and other agencies should give due consideration to whether that support should continue once the child is educated at home – irrespective of whether or not such consideration requires a new commissioning of service.
- might be welcome to some parents of children with SEN, I don't know.
Section 7.6 is prompting me to read the Lamb Inquiry Review of SEN and Disability Information [opens pdf], which straight away sums up the position I felt to be in 12 years ago with Tom's school when it says:
As the system stands it often creates ‘warrior parents’ at odds with the school and feeling they have to fight for what should be their children’s by right; conflict in place of trust.
They really don't need us to tell them why we don't want to use their schools, do they?
In the same inquiry, comments made regarding better and more communication with parents could equally well be applied to the expectation parents should have of local authorities when they elect to home educate,
- says Mr Badman in his point 7.6, though the idea of parents having any expectations of local authorities when they elect to home educate is a strange one to me.