On 30th September 2020 the UK government launched an inquiry into home schooling. See my response and make sure you have yours.
The UK Parliament Inquiry Into Home Schooling September 30th to November 6th 2020
Below I have listed the criteria found on the website https://committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/255/home-education/ and I have also given my response. You may well have more information but I have put this together to support families who have just set up and may be unsure about all the areas in the inquiry.
The inquiry asks for anyone associated to homeschooling, parent or business to respond by 6th November 2020. It is a max on 3,000 words but can be as little as you wish. Please share amongst groups and friends as many people I know didn’t know about it. We need to ensure our voices are heard!
The current model of EHE should be adequate to report on safeguarding and quality of home education. Children slip through the net in schools and other professional services where there are a great number of policies designed to protect them. I think most families where there are potentially children at risk are already known to social services.
I would question what the EHE regard as assuring the quality of home education. Having been in education for 20 years, the latter 9 as a headteacher, I can honestly say that now I home educate my own children I do not follow all aspects of the National Curriculum and my children’s home learning in no way represents that of learning in a school. In my own view, the National Curriculum is no longer fit-for-purpose for preparing the next generation with the fundamental skills needed in a 21century world, nor is it inspiring. I believe what the EHE should be looking for is progress – in whatever curriculum/learning direction the family have decided to take, they know the child best and will have worked out what suits that child, what makes them tick and how to get the best out of them, something which can’t often be done in mainstream education.
I can see why you would want a register, for the purpose of data and for tracking families. It does however feel to me like it is another freedom taken from people, in terms of their right to educate their children as they see fit and I don’t feel it necessary to impose a register.
The benefits can be huge:
In terms of potential disadvantages:
I have to say this is a big area of concern, we were lucky enough to be able to pay private assessments of my son, we were told by our GP that we would have to wait 2 years for an assessment. To wait any length of time is tricky but people have told me they are generally having to wait at least 2 years to be seen or get any kind of advice. In my opinion, that is a similar story in schools. My point being, whether you home educate or not, every child should have the access to this kind of support. This summer we witnessed the terrible treatment of homeschool children in relation to sitting GCSEs, where is the equality in that? They were an after-thought, again because no-one was representing them. I heard today that any kind of previous support for home schooling families looking to take GCSE now ceases to exist? Why and where is the signposting for families?
I have not come across any family using unregistered schools. I have witnessed this off-rolling first hand during my teaching profession but also within the vast number of home school communities that I belong, with parents being told that if they don’t home educate their children they will end up being excluded as schools have no resources for them. Often these children are the ones waiting for a diagnosis of additional need or not able to cope with the more rigid timetable and lesson structure that has developed in schools.
Inspections are led by data, I have led 3 inspections and experienced many more within my time in the teaching profession. They used to be about children and the feeling of the school, what staff, parents and children said about the school. Now they are led purely by data with no discussion about the story behind the children that are not where they should be, even though they might be making huge amounts of progress. In my view there is NO role for inspection in home education.
None! I recently contacted 152 LAs within the UK to share an app that I have created for home schoolers (my app www.collageapp.co.uk is for homeschool families to track and store their child’s progress). I kept detailed notes about the LA’s that replied and the quality of their website in terms of providing support. There were 7 LA websites that stood out in terms of their quality of provision. Many had no contact details at all.
Three years ago we were offered a free subscription to an online learning programme called Espresso, this did not continue.
I feel sad that the government is saving money while children get home educated, approx £4,000 per child and over 60,000 children in the UK being homeschooled, that makes £240,000 a year, but where does that go? If it goes back to LAs then there needs to be some accountability or home educators say as to what and how they spend our money.
Perhaps there is scope for utilising this £4,000 per child ‘saving’ to provide home-schoolers with education incentives, such as vouchers for music lessons, examination fees or additional ‘curricular’ incentives.
It made it hard to socialise within their normal groups without completing arduous risk assessments, no sample models or guidance was supplied. These are groups where children get to free play and be social across age phases, with no focus on learning.
I have already mentioned the horrendous treatment of homeschool children this summer with regards to the GCSE fiasco. It feels like there is no one with any authority to represent home schoolers and ensure equality in these situations.