I like it when people put their names to what they write
There are all kinds of quangos and other questionable interests sniffing around the issue of home education these days, like greedy predators around stumbling prey. Some of these interests will be funding professional political lobbyists with whom we can't possibly hope to compete. I was chatting to a friend last night and thinking out loud along these lines: "If I was looking at ironing out the anomaly of home education that is perhaps starting to impede, now, the scheduled 'rolling out' of the ECM programme, I'd be trying to find their weak points because it's obvious by now that we will coordinate quite strong resistance against any obvious moves against us."
And everybody knows the Conservatives will be in power after the next general election. Are they going to carry on rolling this thing out? It's already been said that they're planning their own review/inquiry into EHE and I personally don't think that this petition, which includes the words: "in the absence of a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England" goes far enough to refute that plan - in fact, it could be said to be supporting it. One way of getting us to accept and support a further inquiry, after all, would be to present us with one that we've "asked for" ourselves! I don't know if this is what's really going on - but I do know that it might be, so I'm going to be extremely cautious about exactly what I'll sign and promote.
Personally, I don't want any more consultations, inquiries or reviews into elective home education. I like the current status quo [opens pdf], in which a local authority can make inquiries if it has specific reason to believe the education might not be suitable (although I wish I could persuade my own local authority to fit its working practice to the letter of the law - the Badman report [opens pdf] is already hindering us there.)
I would like to say - and have already said - to my MP, the DCSF, Graham Badman and anyone else who asks or will listen, that home education needs leaving alone. We do a good job, and if we don't then there is already an effective solution [opens pdf]. I will keep saying this in my normal, non-parliamentary, non-legalese language, in my own way. I might also, if I get the chance (although the five offspring here are taking up quite a lot of my time these days and are of course my priority - apologies if you're waiting for an email reply!) look further into the ECM framework [opens pdf], scary prospect though that is, because I still think that this plan is at the bottom of our troubles. Let the reviews and inquiries look into that! It needs changing to accommodate the anomaly - not the other way round.
When people's innocent and legitimate daily lives have to be changed to fit the laws, instead of laws being changed to fit the people, we know we're in trouble. But that's what seems to be happening.
PS: UK Govt, please note: our children are not vulnerable (except to you) and do not need safeguarding (except from you).
- Safeguarding the vulnerable - strengthening the powers of local authorities and others with regards to registration, inspection and intervention will mean effective systems are in place to protect those that most need it. The Bill will introduce a new home educators’ registration system and take new powers for Secretaries of State to intervene in youth offending teams that are failing and potentially putting young people and their communities at risk.