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Report on Local Government Conference 14th June 2018

I was asked to speak at the LGA Education Conference on the 14th June. I've written a short report of what transpired.

New research: "No evidence of radicalisation"

New research (PDF) by the charity, Personalised Education Now, failed to find any evidence of radicalisation in the home education community.

The research, conducted over a protracted period, included sending FOI's to the UK Government and Local Government, interrogating Interpol's database and searching new agency reports and the internet generally.

Not one method found any evidence supporting the claim that radicalisation had occurred within the home education community, thus exposing the repeated slur that home education was a risk to national security.

Draft consultation from the DfE

DfE consultation link

Following Lord Soley's attempt to pass a private members bill the Department of Education has proposed some changes to their guidence on home education which is currently out for consultation, so, particularly, if you are an experienced home educator, I encourage you to look at the link (above) and comment.

The draft contains some, frankly, odd, even bizzarre, ideas. However, even when these are ironed out, the guidence remains draconion in nature. It will present nearly all home educators with unprecedented problems. The guidence remains unencombered with evidence. One of the most obnoxious and discriminatory measures, indeed it's most fundamental one, is to propose that all home educators, like paedofiles should be registered.

Lord Soley's Bill

HL11 2017

Two Labour Lords: Baroness Morris of Yardley on behalf of Lord Soley have proposed a private members bill restricting the ancient rights of parents to educate without state interference.

This bill has had it's second reading in the HoL. The Government have said they do not intend to add compulsory registration to the legislation, which suggests the bill will not get Government support. Instead the bill seems to have created a moral panic leading the government to take some form of action (see above)

However, a face book group, set up specifically to oppose the Bill have produced a

Briefing Paper

which addresses many of the issues the Bill raises.

Home Education - a human right

"The respect of parent's freedom to educate their children according to their vision of what education should be has been part of international human rights standards since their very emergence."

(The Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights 8th April 1999)

Parents are responsible for the education of their offspring regardless of whether they are in school or out of it. In law the right to an education is an obligatory right, it may neither be denied to, nor refused by, a child.

Thus since children may not refuse education and there is no academic consensus on what constitutes an effective education, we believe that the state must be flexible in defining what a 'suitable' education is.

Even though the law expresses the right to home educate as a parental right, it is my belief that, in the same way that young people have the right to decide upon medical procedures, a specific education should not be imposed upon them. This is not only right in principle but in practice, since intrinsically motivated learning will most readily "achieve that which it sets out to achieve". Learning cannot happen against a person's wishes.

New Green Party Policy

ED150 We support parents’ rights to educate their children in settings other than at school.

ED151 Any interactions between the Local Authorities and home educators should empower and assist the family and should be supportive, rather than invasive.

Local Authorities should seek to build positive relationships with local Home Education community groups and organisations and make broader educational experiences (participation in cultural events, work experience programmes, etc.) accessible to home educators.

ED152 All schools will be obliged to offer home-based pupils part-time school attendance agreements if requested.

The above policy is good as far as it goes, but one should notice that it does not rule out the possibility of registration and monitoring, indeed it says nothing one way or another. On the other hand it does support flexischooling.

TES report into sexual assaults in schools

The TES today, (14 September 2018) carried a report on the DfE's shocking failure to act to prevent a huge numbers of sexual assaults in UK schools.

According to the report each day, 3 children are reported as sexually assaulted in primary schools alone while one child is raped. That means 190 rapes and 570 sexual assualts, just in primary school each school year.

Worse, OFSTED and the DfE make it extremely difficult to take action. Only after months waiting for the school to act will OFSTED even log an incedent and despite the shocking figures in this report, the DfE still even don't collect data on the problem.

The issue was first raised with the DfE by the Women and Equalities Select committee over two years ago. As yet no effective action has taken place. According to their lawyers, they are too busy doing more important things.

since the perpetrators are too young to prosecute, the victims of abuse are often expected to go back into class along side the perpetrators, leaving the parents of the victim with the option of either changing school or, where no suitable school can be found or where the child is too traumatised, turning to home education.

Talking of unrelated matters.

During this time the DfE have continued to hound the home education community by making unsubstantiated claims that children are being exploited and radicalised, LA responses to FOI's have failed to show any cases of radicalisation of a home educated child. Neither has there been an SCR finding indicating that an LA did not already have concerns. Rather SCRs do indicate that LA's failed to keep children safe, not due to any deficit in the law, but rather through their own incompetance.

Perhaps if they put more effort into cleaning up the schools, for which they have direct responsibility, the DfE might make it safer for children to remain in school and fewer parents would need to home educate in the first place.

Perhaps the DfE need to get their priorities sorted.

Buck's LA biased position on home education

The form of education a family chooses for their children is, in law and by international human rights treaty, a matter primarily for the family, not the state. However, Buck's LA have openly stated that they intend to divert such children back into school so as to save money. This shows a bias on the part of the LA, which, as the prosecuting authority should maintain an unbiased position.

Local authorities are the prosecuting authority in matters relating to educational suitability and home education. If a family refuses to follow the demands of a School Attendance Order, and the LA subsequently presents evidence for their failure to suitably educate their children, it can lead to the parents receiving a criminal conviction. As the propsecuting authority the LA must maintain an unbiased view otherwise, it is reasonable to argue that the evidence itself may be biased.

If an LA is actively seeking a policy to 'divert' home educated children into school, then the question arises as to what extent they can be said to be unbiased. In which case the evidence they are presenting and the very rational they develop to prosecute the case is suspect.

Educational Heretics Press

Paperbacks & Kindles

EHP publishes books and kindles on many topics related to home education and learning systems that are alternative or complimentary to state schooling. Including books on how and why home educators home educate.

book cover

A great introduction to alternative education.

book cover

Many EHP books are available as Kindles, at low prices and you don't need a kindle to read them, there are app's for all brands of smart phone and tablet. Build your own library of 'read anywhere' EHP titles.

Get a free A4 poster

Many parents remain unaware that home education is legal, or if they do, where to find support. This poster could be put up anywhere parents and children might benefit.
a3 poster download
You could ask to put this up on your Library for example. Download the poster today, print it, post it somewhere and help a child learn free.
A4 Poster download

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