There’s a letter floating around Facebook and creeping on to blogs, from a Kent county council employee, referencing new intentions from the secretary of state for education to link HE children to schools and include them in school attainment targets.
*headdesk*. There’s a freedom of information request in already to get to the bottom of this one, and the education select committee have requested questions for Mr Gove be tweeted at them with the hashtag #askGove I’ve sent one in asking for clarification, and I’ve seen others on similar themes. Do feel free to aim them at Graham Stuart though, the more the merrier.
But let’s take a detailed look at the letter.
I donï¿½t think any specific statute has been identified as yet, but Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Education has made it clear that he intends to introduce a requirement whereby home educated children will be linked to a school and their academic achievement will contribute to the schools results. Rightly or wrongly I believe that will mean an assessment based on exam results.
Yes, well. Let’s table that one until we get an answer from Mr Gove. But we’ll keep watching. We are always watching you.
I do agree with you that childrenï¿½s needs can and should be met in different ways. But it is also important that appropriate measures are in place to ensure proper safeguarding. Sadly nobody actually knows the full extent of home education, but we do know that many more than the 823 children of which we are aware, are educated outside of traditional settings. Clearly there are many very sincere families that make considered decisions in the best interests of their children and that is to be welcomed. However, I am concerned that all children are given opportunity through education. Kent County Council will have to adhere to policy as laid down by Government but I can assure you that we fundamentally believe in a mixed economy of education provision of which home education is a contributor. The issue though has to be ensuring that an individual childï¿½s needs are appropriately met and the child is adequately safeguarded. May I remind you that for many children from not just in Kent, that they are safest when they are at school.
It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure suitable (not just adequate!) education. It’s very lovely to think that this Kent cc employee is so caring about all children, but it’s completely irrelevant. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, parents are supposed to be trusted. And home education is *not* a safeguarding issue. Research done by home educators during the Badman report saga clearly showed that the risk to home educated children is half that for children in school. We won’t even mention the children who suffer from bullying and abuse in school, because obviously they are still safer there. (Oh, I did mention it. Ah well.)
The emphasis on educational attainment being measured through exam success does not in my opinion properly reflect the skills and abilities of all our children. Kent has had a policy of encouraging a vocational curriculum for those where such skills are more appropriate and we will continue with that.
That’s nice. It would be even nicer if it had a policy of supporting the choices of the children concerned regardless, but I guess that would be too much to ask for.
I am not and nor is KCC anti home education, we are increasing three fold the resources that we commit to supporting home educated children, but a major part of that is that we do need to know where all these children are and then ensure that they receive an appropriate education that meets their needs and helps to prepare them for adulthood.
No, no and thrice no. This is not the council’s role, there are no legal requirements that state this, the law requires a suitable education, not an appropriate education and it’s all the parent’s responsibility. Gah. Why is this so difficult for LAs to understand?
I am quite sure that any visit to yourself would demonstrate clearly the benefits of home education. It is the one to two thousand children who are outside of traditional settings and unknown to the authorities that concern me.
I love this. I call it the divide and conquer quote. Don’t worry, it isn’t home educators like *you* that we’re worried about. It’s all the other ones.
When will LAs learn to stay within the law – it’s really quite clear. When will they accept that the education and safeguarding of children is primarily a parental responsibility? When will they stop casting these aspersions of hidden abuse against families who are going about their lawful business, just getting on with their lives?
Home education is not a safeguarding issue. I am not neglecting or abusing my children, and I’d thank a variety of council employees around the country if they’d stop assuming I am.