12 October 2009

'Suitable' home education review

My home educating friends have alerted me to yet another review challenging their way of life and I thought it was worth writing a post about it.

The government is to commission a review into what a "suitable" and "efficient" education means for home educated children in England. Contrary to popular belief there is no legal obligation for children to attend school - but there is a responsibility of parents to provide an education that is suitable for their age and aptitude. The government has now decided in response to a report into home education, that they need a clearer definition of what is required.

I think this seems crazy - how do you prove whether something is suitable - what are the outcome measures? Is there actually any proof that HE children receive a less suitable education than those same children would have received in school and does anyone actually assess whether a child in school is actually in the most "suitable" and "efficient" school for them (rather than the one their parents have picked for their convenience) - and actually as it is the parents responsibility to provide it why do the government really care?


Pauline said...

I don't think the Government do care they just feel the need to make sure we do as they say and not as we want!

Children do not have to sit in a specific room with a load of other children to learn. They can learn anywhere. The majority of adults will tell you today that most of what they know now is self taught or from life experience not from going to school.

The world is our classroom.

jenny said...

The real concern for me, is that they want to change the law to allow children to be interviewed alone, even without any proof. This would be a fundamental shift in English law.

Emma-Jane said...

My daughter isn't two yet, so I would feel devastated if the law was changed and I was prevented from offering her the lovely home education I envisage. However as much as my desire to home educate is driven by the wonderfully talented and well balanced children that I know who are or have been home educated I also unfortunately know of more than one family who have supposedly home educated, only their children (now teenagers) are completely socially and academically inept because the parents have failed to offer them the necessary guidance and encouragement to mix with other young people and develop their interests and talents. Instead they have idled away their time, watching tv, playing computer games, and running errands for their parents back and forth into town to buy various items of shopping. In my current social circle many of my friends and family have huge concerns about home educating because their only experience of it is the children of these families I speak of. Many people have commented to me that they feel the children would've been better off if they'd been taken into care. Whilst I don't agree with this I do feel their experiences are enough to raise huge concerns for anyone who knew them about home educating. For this reason I sometimes find myself wondering if it would be such a bad thing after all if families did have to account for what they were doing to home educate their children to ensure that they are actually doing something. I don't particularly want to see any regulations introduced which might become cumbersome for me, but at the same time having to produce future work for inspection or to allow home visits doesn't worry me because I feel the home education I'll be offering my daughter will far surpass what the formal school education system could possibly offer her by anyone and everyone's standards.

MrsW said...

Hmmm - it's parent's responsibility to provide many things for their children, but unfortunately some parents don't. Education is just one area where the state already "cares" whether normative parental responsibilities are being met. There are so many sites of intervention in family life. I always marvel at how defensive HE people get when their counter-normative education choice is scrutinised, as if it deserves some sort of special protection from inspection.

If I fed my kids pig-swill I wouldn't be surprised if the authorities questioned my ability to nurture them, if I fed them pig-swill for the brain.... :)

Elaine, Littlesheep Learning said...

Thanks for the comments everyone - MrsW don't ge me wrong if there is concern for a child I think that the authorities should get involved I just am not convinced that by not being in school a child is automatically at risk