Registering and monitoring home-based education @WAG

This is our response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation document on the proposal to force home-educating families to register, submit to monitoring and reapply to do so on an annual basis.

Registering and monitoring home-based education

Responses should be returned by 23 November 2012 to:

Pupil Wellbeing Branch
Support for Learners Division
Department for Education and Skills
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ

or completed electronically and sent to:e-mail: WELLBEINGshare@wales.gsi.gov.uk (please enter elective home education consultation in the subject matter box).

Please tick the box that best describes you as a respondent

□ Home educated child x Home educating parent
□ Local authority □ Organisation representing home educating families
□ Other organisation □ Other
with responsibility for children

The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views on the Welsh Government’s proposals for the introduction of a compulsory registration and monitoring system for home educated children. This document asks questions relating to specific aspects of the proposals.

Question 1 – Do you agree that a register should be kept and that it should be a requirement to register if a parent elects to home educate?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
No, I do not agree that a register should be kept. The right of a parent to educate a child at home is enshrined in British law: “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him toreceive efficient full-time education suitable ;
a) to his age, ability, and aptitude, and
b) to any special educational needs he may have,either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

It does not say that we have to hand over responsibility to government.

Additionally, as an adult citizen, I do not need to accept the authority of another human being in what, is already given to me as a legal right. My partner and I are the ones to decide what is, or is not a suitable education for our children – not some unknown person with no experience of our children or of home education in general.

Question 2 – Do you agree that if a parent fails to register or provides inadequate or false information then the child being home educated should be required to attend school?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
Of course not. Why should the provision of information by the parent be a deciding factor in whether a child attends school? It is no business of anyone else but the parents and child. You fail to understand that the state has no authority in these matters unless it is given by the parent. As a parent I do not offer this authority to anyone, except my children when they reach the age of majority.

Question 3 – Do you agree that home educating parents should engage with their local authority to enable them to assess the suitability of their home education provision?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
No, only if they want to.

Question 4 – Do you agree that the initial meeting between the local authority and home educating parent and child should take place in the main location where the education is being provided?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
There should be no initial meeting unless the parent requests it. Then it is up to the parent/family where the meeting should take place.

Question 5 – How often should the annual monitoring meetings with both the home educator and the home educated child take place at the main location of education?

Always
Every two years
Every three years
Up to five years
Never X
Not sure

Comments:
There should be no ‘monitoring’ unless the parent requests it. We have been home-educating two children for eight years – there is no way I will accept ‘monitoring’ by someone who does not know my children, or understands how home-educating works for us. The WAG’s assumption that they have a right to disrupt our family in this way is beyond comprehension. 

Question 6 – Do you agree that registration should be denied or revoked in the limited set of circumstances set out in the consultation document?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
Since when did the word ‘registration’ come to mean ‘licence? I have a licence to drive, i.e. I fulfilled a certain set of guidelines and follow a certain set of rules to allow me to take a vehicle on to the public highway. When did being a parent require a licence?

Question 7 – Do you agree the amount of time taken between receipt of application to register and notification of registration outcome should be no more than 12 weeks?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
There should be no requirement to register or become ‘licenced’ in the first place. Parents do not need permission from a faceless bureaucrat in order to educate and take care of their children.

Question 8 – We have asked a number of specific questions. If you have any related issues which we have not specifically addressed, please use this space to report them:

Comments:
Under current law, a Local Authority is allowed to make informal enquiries as to whether a parent is educating a child at home, and if the parent is confident that they are able to discharge their duties to provide suitable education. That’s all.

The recommendations that came from the recent review in England conducted by Graham Badman, which was proven to contain unsubstantiated information, was thrown out of parliament. The same should happen to this one.

By all means, the WAG, together with LAs should offer support to home-educating families should they require it (after all, a home-educated child saves the LA over £5,000 pa), but the WAG has no right to instigate a system of compulsory registration. This goes against family law, education law and human rights.

It seems that WAG confuses home-education with NEETs. It is highly unlikely that parents who decide to electively home-educate will allow their child to become a ‘NEET’. It is, by now, a well-established fact that home-educated children do better, educationally, than their schooled counterparts. You are targeting the wrong section of society. Parents have created their own support system within the home-education community, and are free to participate in this as much or as little as they want to. New home-educating parents are welcome and given as much information and support as they need. Additionally they are able to access more information from the internet and libraries.

Your registration consultancy document mentions “children missing education’ covers a wide spectrum of learners and in some instances will include a child who is being home educated but who is receiving little or no education.” You see, had you come to ‘monitor’ our two children, six years ago, you may have concluded that little or no education was taking place. Yet our 14 year old has completed one OCN, partially completed three others and is currently studying GCSE science with four other HE children under the guidance of the Head of Chemistry from one of your schools.

Our 11 year old receives almost no formal education other than maths, but is able to write 2000 word stories and scripts, complete with correct spelling and punctuation. I wholeheartedly believe that if we tried to ‘teach’ her, instead of allowing her to discover her own path, she would have been put off creative writing for life – as happens in schools worldwide. People achieve despite formal education, not because of it. She does not need to know what an adverb is if she already knows how to use them correctly. Later on, when she will require GCSEs, or their equivalent, for college, then she can learn what she needs to know.

These children are not constricted by the current education system and its extremely narrow curriculum. They are free to investigate a subject to any depth they want to without being forced to move on to the next topic on the NC because there are targets to be met.

My partner and I are completely against any form of registration for home-educating families because of the reasons I have stated above and also because it is likely that national government and the WAG, will use their self-given authority to extend their ‘monitoring’ to families across the board. Pretty soon you will require access to families with children under school age to ensure developmental targets are being reached and to make sure they are not being abused. And then there are the school holidays – perhaps parents will also need to be monitored then?

It appears to us that it is government and LAs that are failing families, not the other way around. The recent highlighting of abuse of children in the care of Local Authorities in Wales, surely gives us good reason to avoid their interference and influence in family life? Why would we invite potential disaster by complying with such rules and regulations when it is clear that ‘authority’ is detrimental not positive, ruinous not supporting.

The fundamentals of this movement towards greater control of people, rely on the false premise that ‘authority’ actually cares. Of course, this cannot be true, ‘authority’ only seeks to control, direct and impose. You may have individuals who are caring and who are good at their jobs, but ultimately, the aim is to complete the paperwork and meet the targets. There is no actual ‘engagement’, no actual ‘concern’, despite the mealy-mouthed introduction in the consultancy document.

Any system of registration should be completely voluntary, should not impose restrictions, should not be ‘revokeable’ and should not dictate how a family leads their lives or educates their children. Any Local Authority intervention should be supportive only. Anything else is overstepping the mark

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~ by theraggededge on November 20, 2012.

One Response to “Registering and monitoring home-based education @WAG”

  1. I whole heartedly agree with you. My children were not home schooled, but I defend the right of parents to home school when they deem it necessary.

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