Isle of Man Government want a monitoring law

The Isle of Man Department for Education, Sport and Culture has just published it's non statutory Home Education Policy. This has been drawn up after meetings with a local home education association and a review of the policy by the Department of Health and Social Care. I.e. Children and Families Social Services:

Policy and procedure development. Draft5/3/18 - ISLE OF MAN ELECTIVE HOME EDUCATION PROCEDURES
https://www.gov.im/media/1360731/elective-home-education-procedures-050318.pdf


The policy is basically a lift from the Lancashire Home Education Policy. There are two significant additions:

A 'mediation' policy that is supposed to kick in before a school attendance order:

4.8 Prior to issuing a School Attendance Order a mediation meeting can be convened to discuss the information available and to attempt to reach a suitable agreement. Mediation is a voluntary process to resolve disputes between willing participants using procedures based on ACAS code of practice principles. Any agreement comes from those in dispute, not from the mediator. The mediator is not there to judge, to say one person is right and the other wrong, or to tell those involved in the mediation what they should do. The mediator is in charge of the process of seeking to resolve the problem but not the outcome. Any supporting paperwork for the mediation meeting must be submitted at least 7 days before the meeting to both participants. The mediators can be a Department Officer not associated with the case previously, a Member of Tynwald or an independent experienced member of the Home Education community. The mediators can work individually or in pairs as co-mediators as required by the participants. The Department Officer involved will present the issues which are of concern to the Department and possible solutions. The parent, who may be accompanied by a friend for support and who will not contribute to the meeting, will present their response to the Department’s concerns and any alternative solutions. The participants, with the assistance of the mediator, will seek to find common ground and agreements on how to resolve any residual problems identified by either participant. This may involve the mediator asking questions or seeking clarification from the participants. The mediator will record the outcome of the mediation meeting and provide this information to both participants at the earliest opportunity, but it may be later in the day depending on the complexities of the dispute. When mediation is in progress the Department will suspend the issuing of a School Attendance Order.

Mediation, of course, is supposed to be a completely neutral business. But, in the looking glass world that is the Isle of Man, the Department's own officers can mediate!


Also, a local version of 'if it appears':



Appendix 1


“If it appears”
This would apply in those circumstances where Department Officers have concerns that a child may not be receiving a suitable education and would give rise to further investigation.
• The police are involved with the child and their parents;
• There is involvement of other government agencies eg DHSC officials which gives rise to concerns around the education of a child;
• Home Education is used as a ‘threat’;
• Pre-existing problems eg attendance, safeguarding concerns, were followed by Home Education;
• Family or neighbours raising concerns about home educated children;
• Children of those Home Educating are observed behaving inappropriately in public buildings without suitable supervision or direction;
• Organisations or groups reporting concerns around children struggling with basic educational skills.
All of these, of course apply to schooled children too! But, in the lop sided world of the local civil servants the Convention on Human Rights is to be ripped up and home educated children are to be marked out as requiring special snooping!

Comments from seasoned home educators welcome!
 

Admin

Administrator
The Isle of Man Department for Education, Sport and Culture has just published it's non statutory Home Education Policy. This has been drawn up after meetings with a local home education association and a review of the policy by the Department of Health and Social Care. I.e. Children and Families Social Services
None appears to have a grasp of human rights law which prohibits such arbitrary interference. A self appointed HE association cannot presume to give away rights unilaterally!

The policy is basically a lift from the Lancashire Home Education Policy.
Not smart enough to draft their own then

A 'mediation' policy that is supposed to kick in before a school attendance order:

Mediation, of course, is supposed to be a completely neutral business. But, in the looking glass world that is the Isle of Man, the Department's own officers can mediate![/COLOR]
So not remotely in line with Article 6.

Also, a local version of 'if it appears'
It beggars belief. I am truly lost for words that they should be so concerned about 57 home ed children when the ones they 'look after' are not receiving any education at all! Talk about double standards.

1930s Germany is being revisited and we all know who banned home ed there.
 
Your comments are on the money. The policy would also appear to infringe Article 14 - prohibition from discrimination.

The problem with the Isle of Man is that there are not enough checks and balances to stop the Government abusing its power. If they want to get heavy handed with certain groups the political system is not equipped to deal with that.

It would hit the national press if a UK local authority or civil service department treated individuals the way home educators are treated here.

The UK is responsible for the good governance of the Isle of Man but, in practice, they are entirely hands off.
 

Admin

Administrator
Look what happened to social services when the IoM implemented a lower than lawful threshold for state interference.

What is the status of the inquiry into abuse of power by social care services?
 
What is the status of the inquiry into abuse of power by social care services?
Every 'inquiry' in the Isle of Man gets watered down and ignored. When they introduced Every Child Matters the referrals to social services shot up to circa 1000 per year for an average number of child protection cases of circa 50 to 60. More referrals doesn't mean more detected cases. It means more bruised and battered families traumatized by the investigations which are often carried out by short term agency social workers.

The real problem is that no politician or civil servant is prepared to challenge the Director of Children and Families Social Services who thinks that the stats look better with more activity.

In short, we're stuck with a highly intrusive policy.
 
Here's a very good reason why you might not want your child in a Manx School:

Shocking violence as teenager locks his rival in a headlock then CHOKES him after the pair trade blows in brutal brawl watched by jeering classmates
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5482219/Shocking-video-shows-schoolboy-choking-classmate-brutal-brawl.html


A shocking video captured the moment a schoolboy began choking another boy out on the ground - before kicking him in the head.
The disturbing footage shows the two youngsters, wearing maroon uniforms, battling each other in a field - while onlookers scream and urge them to fight.
The two boys, who have not been identified, continue to punch each other viciously in the head throughout the clip.

Where were the teachers? So much for 'safeguarding'.
 
It’s worth reminding everyone of a few things about the Isle of Man. The Government tag line is ‘freedom to flourish’, but nothing could be further from the truth for home educators on the island.

In 2008 a compulsory register was introduced, promoting increased scrutiny of educational freedom. Whilst the powers have been relatively limited despite compulsory registration, most recently the Government has upped the ante and are attempting to intervene and control home education.

The Manx Home Education community is tiny, there are only 57 HE children on the entire island so why are the Government obsessed with monitoring and controlling the quality of the education given to these children?

There has never been a school attendance order issued, nor has there been problems with HE children going missing; we don’t have unregistered schools on the island. Its impossible to be anonymous here, everybody knows each others business whether you want it that way or not.

We’re told that the draft guidance:

https://www.gov.im/media/1360731/elective-home-education-procedures-050318.pdf

has, apparently, been written in line with UK “best practice”. However, several areas of concern have been highlighted and home educators are dealing with complex issues which, if not dealt with at this stage, could cretate real problems for individual families.

Several home educators in conjunction with the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) produced the draft guidance. This sort of ‘co-operation is not something that has happened previously on the island and there has been fragmentation within the community as a result.

Further feedback from experienced home educators would be greatly appreciated on how to tackle this non statutory guidance which breaches data protection and human rights legislation and invokes a feeling of fear amongst HE families. Specifically these areas have been objected to

4.3 – annual notification. Why are home educators being singled out to annually update the department when the law applies equally to home educated and privately educated children? This does not happen with other government departments. The DESC will become aware when a child is no longer home educated when they leave the island, become 16 or go to school so the update is, in any case, pointless.

4.8 – mediation. The process outlined here is not mediation. Mediation can only take place between willing parties with an independent and qualified mediator. The suggestion is that the mediator is a member of Department for Education, a politician or home educator. This is ridiculous. None of these people are qualified to mediate or an independent body and they come to the mediation with a pre-determined view of what is right for your child.

7.1 - review and changes. There has still yet to be a reassurance that the Department has dropped plans to change the existing legislation.

Appendix 1 – appearance. None of these ‘appearances’ are education criteria. They are also discriminatory as they single out home-educated children for special attention and make way for malicious reporting.

Appendix 2 – flowchart. Should the Department decide to investigate your provision and ultimately decide that a school attendance order is not required rather than leaving the family alone they will continue to ‘monitor the situation’. What does this mean? Will there be an endless loop of being watched, manipulated and having to answer to the DESC?

By contrast, if the court finds the education is ‘suitable’ there is no further action or monitoring.

In practice, if challenged that your child’s education is not suitable it would be far better to go straight to court for a fair hearing than enter discussions with the Department.

Would UK home educators be willing to give any feedback on this? It would be great to get feedback from multiple local authority areas. An Manx Home Education Association ‘officer’ representative has told home educators that if this policy fails, the resulting change would be even worse, so this draft guidance must be accepted. Is this a reasonable assumption? We’re in a cleft stick.

Manx Home Educators are aware the UK has its own battles to fight and the drain on time and resources of this sort of activism, but if anyone was willing to share any input or experience it was be massively appreciated.

The deadline set by the Department for feedback is 9th April
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If anyone would like to help explain the problems to the Isle of Man Government the contact is:


Andrew Shipley
Legal and Administrative Officer

Department for Education, Sport and Culture
Isle of Man Government

Andrew.Shipley@doe.gov.im

If the Isle of Man gets away with treating home educators like this other places will pick up on the practices too - we're all in this together.


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