Tuesday, May 12, 2009

EO's bombshell again

I should probably be blogging about this letter from Ed Balls [opens pdf], assiduously uncovered by a certain brilliant someone on the lists, which contains the phrase:

We will state explicitly that local authorities' and Children's Trusts' ECM responsibilities extend to all children receiving services in their area, irrespective of the type of education their parents have chosen and the area in which whey are usually resident.

- thereby setting out the next, inevitable stage of the ECM exercise in frog-boiling.

I feel very strongly (Oh! It looks like I am blogging about it..) that we should be pushing for ECM to be changed to accommodate us, rather than the other way around. After all, we came first and there's no good reason for our rights and our children's rights to be eroded. Much of ECM isn't statutory - yet - but I think it all soon will be and we don't fit into it, which will bring big trouble for us.

However, I'm pleased that there are enough ECM experts on the review panel to hopefully sort that problem out for us.

But back to the thing by which we could have really done without being distracted: EO's bombshell. The trustees have issued the following statement:

Re: EO Prospectus
by EO Trustees on 09 May 2009 17:03

Statement made by Trustees concerning the Education Otherwise Prospectus for Improving Support to Home Educating Families

The document addresses issues raised in the day to day work of the organisation. Home education has never been subjected to an independent review before. There is no set framework for such a review and the timescale is short.

It is impossible to be "representative" when views and experiences are so diverse and at times contradictory. Mr Badman is aware of the diversity of the community.

The Trustees

"Home education has never been subjected to an independent review before. There is no set framework for such a review and the timescale is short," so we'll just.. make policy on the hoof between about three of us, then, and put it straight into a prospectus implying it has the backing of 4000 members.

It does not.

I've been reading quite a lot about the reaction to this prospectus, further to my previous post about that and I'd like to take this opportunity to paraphrase some of the main points that keep coming up:

  • I'm a member of EO and I don't support this
  • Most other EO members I know didn't even know about it
  • Did all of the trustees see it before publication?
  • It's so frustrating: an absolute gift to the government
  • A complete stitch-up
  • Rent-seekers
  • Arrogance beyond belief
  • Predicated on the false assumption that government is basically benign
  • Best thing for EO? A winding-up order
  • At least one person named as one of the authors of the report did not know what was in it
  • A sell-out
  • Makes me feel sick to the stomach
  • I don't want home education to be defined by the state
  • An abuse of position
  • It could have been discussed and consulted on with more home educators in many different ways. Why wasn't it?
  • It leaves too many questions unanswered, like how would the committee be formed? And who would decide who should be on it?
  • There was no reason for us to come up with a 'solution' for the review
  • Was the 'need' for a document like this discussed behind closed doors with the review team?
  • To whom would the committee be accountable?
  • Ill-thought through
  • Why didn't they utilise the expertise available?

.. And so on. A very small number of the above defied paraphrasing: if you recognise any of your own exact words and would like me to remove them, please let me know, either in the comments here or by email. If you think I've missed any vital points, please also let me know.

It's fair to say that one or two people did seem to be in favour of the document and had some sympathy with the authors' lack of time in which to consult about it, but these were drops in the ocean compared to the negative reaction. It's to be hoped that Mr Badman is aware of the diversity of the community.

Finally, I'd like to direct your attention to this portentous tale about another organisation called Education Compromise. Be afraid! Be. very. afraid. (Or.. just wryly amused, if you'd rather.)


Blogger these boots said...

One of my areas of work is consulting with various communities to inform local government policies. EO should be pilloried if they think a document written by 3 people, with no consultation whatsoever, is fit to be submitted as being representative of a community.

11:21 am, May 12, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

A main reason to home educate was to get away from the "I know what's best for you" attitude; other people telling me and deciding for me what's best for me and my family. It sickens me that (some people in) EO are doing exactly that. They most certainly do not represent me!

6:57 pm, May 12, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed Balls is a nasty piece of work. I noticed that the list of "stakeholders" in our children did not include parents and while some young people seemed to have had a say I wonder how many children in special ed had their views taken into account??

The EO mistake is a big one but even now I have just seen someone on Facebook suggesting some other group speak for home edders. Well not me they don't and I'd be thankful if people could try not to assume one group or other represrnts all of us.

i have a lot to deal with at home right now so my temper is on a shorter fuse than usual. I am also getting worried this govt will do anything to hang onto power.

9:44 am, May 13, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Theseboots. Valuable input, as ever.

Mieke, good point.

Mum6kids, you're quite right IMO. No one group or person can ever speak for us all.

6:36 am, May 14, 2009  

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