Meet the mums who chose home education over 'sausage factory' schooling

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Lengthy article on home education in the Telegraph. Well done to Jax.

Hating the new SATS? Meet the mums who chose home education over 'sausage factory' schools

‘The level of interest this year is unlike anything we’ve had before – it’s been stunning,’ says Jax Blunt, a prominent home-education blogger and mother of four. Social media, she says, has allowed her message to reach far and wide, with new ‘home ed’ blogs and Facebook groups springing up.

She gets as many as three or four Twitter enquiries a day from families interested in following her example – and via Facebook groups, she’s seeing people pulling their children out of school daily. Faced with a flood of newspaper reports on rising anxiety, peer pressure and bullying in schools, many parents are opting out.
Disillusioned by box-ticking

For Emma, who used to work as a science teacher, the impact is also positive. Whereas teaching left her ‘disillusioned’, thanks to a system of ‘box ticking’, home schooling her children has allowed her to reignite her interest in learning. ‘I feel a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders,’ she says.
Attacks from critics

Many members of the home-education community are feeling wary – they say they are constantly misunderstood and under attack by the media.

‘No matter what we say, it will be twisted,’ Blunt worries. The problem for home-educating parents, who are increasingly afraid of speaking to the press, is the frequent implication that their children may be at risk.

Controversy rages around the troubled question of whether home educators should be registered and monitored.

The present system, which gives parents the freedom to teach their children at home without having to identify themselves, has been under scrutiny following the deaths of more than one child withdrawn from school to be ‘home-educated’.

The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, has also ordered a review on home schooling after concerns were raised that it might be used as a front for extremist religious teaching.

Morgan says that while ‘parents may choose to home school their children and many do a good job, nothing is more important than the safety of children.

For that reason we are taking steps to ensure the system is as robust as it can be when it comes to protecting young people, while at the same time safeguarding the rights of parents to determine how and where to educate their children.’

'Scapegoat for institutional failings'

From September, the Department for Education aims to bring in tougher rules to keep track of all children taken off school registers. Blunt stresses, ‘If social services have a concern that a child’s being neglected, they have the absolute right to see that child, whether they’re home educated or go to Eton.

Home education is used as a scapegoat for institutional failings and it’s not fair to persecute us. A tiny number of cases become the focus and it detracts from the wider picture of what home education can achieve and what it can teach the wider education system. A lot of families are deregistering because school has failed them.

Those families are not going to take kindly to officials from those authorities turning up and going, “Are you educating your child?”’
 
I saw that article too and noted this:

The present system, which gives parents the freedom to teach their children at home without having to identify themselves, has been under scrutiny following the deaths of more than one child withdrawn from school to be ‘home-educated’.

The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, has also ordered a review on home schooling after concerns were raised that it might be used as a front for extremist religious teaching.

Morgan says that while ‘parents may choose to home school their children and many do a good job, nothing is more important than the safety of children.

For that reason we are taking steps to ensure the system is as robust as it can be when it comes to protecting young people, while at the same time safeguarding the rights of parents to determine how and where to educate their children.’

. . . From September, the Department for Education aims to bring in tougher rules to keep track of all children taken off school registers.


The Secretary of State's comments refer to this consulation:

Improving information in identifying children missing education
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...ltation_document_-_final_19_Jan_2016___n4.pdf

This proposes that:

'We propose to amend the Regulations so that a school must inform the local authority before deleting a pupil’s name'
Basically, it looks like parents authority to home educate could be removed pending a security check. I.e. you tell the school you are withdrawing your child but will have to be 'cleared' by a security check first. Obviously that will have to apply to all home education so even the parents of those children who never attended school will have to have a check too.

This means a universal register of home educated children. First step to state control. Since the issue is 'radicalisation' they won't be allowed to just check for Islamic extremists - all religions will be caught up too.

I think home educators in England have dropped the ball on this one quite frankly. Either that or someone has been nobbled.

The problem is that since this has been set up as a security issue then other jurisdictions will be coerced by Whitehall into introduceing security vetting too. Obviously, home educators won't be swapping jurisdictions to get off the register.

Obviously we don't want Islamic extremism or any other damned extremism but watch out for soft definitions and politically incorrect opinions for they could be caught in the net too

Watch this space!
 
See this from the BBC:

Number home schooled in East of England rising
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-36103600


Thousands more children in the East of England are being educated at home, new figures show.
Five years ago 3,489 youngsters were home educated across the eight counties in the east - now there are 5,400 representing a rise of 54%.
In Bedfordshire, the figure increased from 99 to 262 over five years.
The government say steps are being taken to ensure the system is as "robust as it can be" to ensure youngsters are properly educated.
And the BBC says:
. . . Those who want to remove their children from school to home educate should write to their children's head teacher.
They should, by rights, have written Those who decide to remove their children.


It's very subtle but the change of verb does imply that it is the State that decides - a political point of view that the BBC news team espouses. The difficulty is that they are very influential and have taken up the role of opinion former and are playing a long game.

We don't pay them to do this, of course. But they are a political entity all of their own and are very out of touch with the wider public.
 
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