School's out: Home education on the up in Wales

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School's out: Home education on the up in Wales

Once dismissed as a radical option practiced by hippies, hot-housers and religious fundamentalists, home education is becoming more popular - and more accepted - in Wales.

The Welsh government says 1,399 children were taught at home in the 2014-15 academic year - that is a 14% increase on last year and a 56% increase since records began four years ago.

The true number is likely to be even higher because unless they have withdrawn their child from school, parents do not have to tell the local authority that they are educating at home.
Maybe that's because it's parents, not the state, who have the legal responsibility for educating children during the compulsory years. Council schools are provided free for those who choose to delegate and teachers work for parents.

Dr Philip Dixon, director of education union ATL Cymru, believes home-educated children miss out on important life skills. "Schools provide an atmosphere where children have to learn give and take, tolerance, and a respect for the views of others," he said. "They are a major means of socialising us for the future."
Pity help us if that's the case.

Wrexham-based education consultant John Morris agrees with Dixon (clearly without an ounce of experience of home ed):

"The problem for me is can parents manage the socialisation of their children?

"School is where you make friends but it's also where you learn about the ups and downs of life and how to deal with them effectively. If you don't have social integration, you don't learn those coping skills and I think that's a big issue."
But Tao Maurice scoffs at the idea: "Because everyone who goes to school obviously has very, very good social skills, right?"
:cheer2:

It is not enough, according to Dr Philip Dixon: "At the very least the Welsh government's guidance should contain a requirement that home educators give regular, verifiable updates of their child's progress," he said. "Those who believe in home education should see that as an opportunity to show that their choice has been a reasonable one."
:yawn:

Presumably he's also going to ask the parents of schooled children to justify their choice, too? No? Thought not.

Naturally the rentseeking NSPCC agrees (they have identified the fast bucks that can be made from monitoring law abiding families).

NSPCC Cymru/Wales also believes the guidance should be more robust: "Home educated children are at increased risk of becoming invisible to authorities," said a spokesman. "A small minority of families may potentially decide to home educate as a mechanism to conceal neglect and abuse.
Just as some unscrupulous'charitities' may lie and doctor case files to cover up their failures to protect known vulnerable children. Others just flog off the personal sensitive data of vulnerable people, leaving them prey to scammers and abusers.

Yet they still have the gall to claim:

We feel the guidance needs to be strengthened to assist local authorities to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities towards children who are education <sic> at home."
And we all know how trustworthy these vetted professionals are, don't we?
 
It's funny that the socialising aspect is always the one they focus on, I don't think I've ever read anyone talking about the quality of education offered at home being inferior to school (which it isn't of course, but as the point of school is learning you'd think they'd focus on that rather than anything else). I've been running through socialising aspects as we have more hospital appointments next week and I'm always on the ready for the home ed questions, and it's very clear to me that my son socialises with a much wider range of people than he would do at school (in terms of age, race, background etc) and that his encounters are much more meaningful; I suppose it's that old chestnut of quality over quantity. He's also much more readily accepted by home educated children; they just don't see him as weird the way that some other children do.

As for charities - we've just had one overcharge my son over £300 for swimming lessons, they lied on several occasions to try and get out of repaying him before finally capitulating after receiving a fifteen page formal complaint from me with all the evidence to show they'd overcharged him and the Charity Commission's response to me was that they don't get involved in dealing with complaints about charities as they expect them to have their own procedures and to stick to them :boom: It's hard not to get disillusioned and disheartened :)
 
What baffles me about the socialising aspect is that social skills is not (anything more than the tiniest) part of the NC. Nobody appears to have drawn up a national social skills curriculum for schools. The government rates schools according to academic results - GCSE grades and SATs - and not social skills. Almost every educational reform over the decades has been academic and serious study of the social aspect of school was very rare until the late 1980s.

Even the school social environment is unrepresentative of anything in the real world apart from possibly the military.
 
What baffles me about the socialising aspect is that social skills is not (anything more than the tiniest) part of the NC. Nobody appears to have drawn up a national social skills curriculum for schools. The government rates schools according to academic results - GCSE grades and SATs - and not social skills. Almost every educational reform over the decades has been academic and serious study of the social aspect of school was very rare until the late 1980s.

Even the school social environment is unrepresentative of anything in the real world apart from possibly the military.
Yes I agree, apart from the lack of similarity between school social situations and real life ones they never bring up the downside of the social aspects of school such as bullying, isolating disabled students, labelling 'naughty' kids, kids that don't fit in and so on. The article was being discussed on another group I'm with and someone there pointed out that socialising and safeguarding are the only things that anti home edders can go for as they can't argue that one to one tuition and individual education plans are inferior to thirty kids sat together for fifty minutes at a time, which I think summed it up very well.
 
they never bring up the downside of the social aspects of school such as bullying, isolating disabled students, labelling 'naughty' kids, kids that don't fit in and so on.
They seem to be totally oblivious to these...

One issue an anti-HE person mentioned could only be done in schools is conflict resolution. I wasn't properly able to counteract his point.

Also, what about the ability to work in a team? That's cropped up a few times amongst adults critical of HE.
 
Easy. A family is a small team!
I quoted that some time ago to a manager but it didn't seem to wash with him! He also monotonously referred to 16 year old as school leavers in stuff he wrote without even considering that some 16 year olds are home educated. Rather interestingly, he wasn't some right wing nut job but a staunch liberal and fully paid up member of the Lib-Dems.
 
They seem to be totally oblivious to these...

One issue an anti-HE person mentioned could only be done in schools is conflict resolution. I wasn't properly able to counteract his point.

Also, what about the ability to work in a team? That's cropped up a few times amongst adults critical of HE.
In all honesty I don't bother talking to people who are critical of HE; my personal opinion of it is the only people who see it as a bad thing are those who don't understand it or who are the kind of people who think we should all live in a much more 'dictated to' kind of way. If schools were good places to learn about conflict resolution and team work than this country would be an absolute utopia! Everyone would be happily working together, no-one would use force to get what they want, we'd all be delighted if that were the case, I'm sure! Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
 
In all honesty I don't bother talking to people who are critical of HE; my personal opinion of it is the only people who see it as a bad thing are those who don't understand it or who are the kind of people who think we should all live in a much more 'dictated to' kind of way.
Same here but unfortunately there are many people critical of HE in positions of power and influence from managers to city councillors.

If schools were good places to learn about conflict resolution and team work than this country would be an absolute utopia! Everyone would be happily working together, no-one would use force to get what they want, we'd all be delighted if that were the case, I'm sure! Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
You are probably right there. The person who mentioned conflict resolution was married to Singaporean woman and he had spent a few years living and working in Singapore where HE is not popular or highly thought of by society. I mentioned to him that Singapore is less of a nation and more of a microstate where its citizens worship Lee Kuan Yew so it's not always representative of the rest of the world.
 
Same here but unfortunately there are many people critical of HE in positions of power and influence from managers to city councillors.



You are probably right there. The person who mentioned conflict resolution was married to Singaporean woman and he had spent a few years living and working in Singapore where HE is not popular or highly thought of by society. I mentioned to him that Singapore is less of a nation and more of a microstate where its citizens worship Lee Kuan Yew so it's not always representative of the rest of the world.
It's an interesting dilemma, isn't it, I often find myself wondering whether I should focus my energy on changing the minds of people who are against it or helping and informing people who are interested and want to get involved? Equally I wonder whether I should put my time into changing the current 'norms' in general (which for me now seem to be largely unethical and huge amounts of control by money grabbing a holes who don't care about anything other than pound notes) or focusing more on an 'off the grid, you can't find me' kind of a life and helping other people who want that. And then I wonder about the people who are stuck within the system with no way out and think "well, what about them"? We were in the pub yesterday having some lunch and there were a couple of blokes behind us who were like the horrible old gits from Harry Enfield years ago; their conversation was so vile and full of hate and contempt for so many different kinds of people whom they clearly felt superior to, plus the swearing and vile comments about women that I had to move myself out of earshot. And I was thinking on the way home that there are a lot of people like that about and I don't think there's a single solitary thing anyone could ever do to change their views, I think it suits them to be that way? Funny old situation. Anyway - too early for this sort of rambling on, I need coffee :typing:
 
It's an interesting dilemma, isn't it, I often find myself wondering whether I should focus my energy on changing the minds of people who are against it or helping and informing people who are interested and want to get involved?
I have been in the same dilemma for several years even before Badman came on the scene. It's easy enough for anyone to say they avoid talking to people critical of HE, but the trouble is, it gives people in positions of power and authority a clear run with their ideology and prejudice.
 
I have been in the same dilemma for several years even before Badman came on the scene. It's easy enough for anyone to say they avoid talking to people critical of HE, but the trouble is, it gives people in positions of power and authority a clear run with their ideology and prejudice.
Yep, it's difficult knowing what to do for the best. A friend of mine is having terrible problems with schooling for her autistic son - he's desperate to go to school but none of the local schools will take him because they can't manage his behaviour. He was at a meeting with a view to trying a new school out and the deputy head told him that school was for learning, not for socialising, and it just struck me as funny because this thread had been on my mind.
 
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