Thursday, 21 January 2016

Home Education is at fault, Obviously!

Timing is all.

In the home ed 'hood, we suddenly have a glut of media requests. These requests come hot on the heels of the Government consultation regarding illegal schools. Out-of-school education settings: call for evidence.

The illegal schools scare is in itself an offshoot of the whoop-de-do whipped up about Muslim religious scholarship/ indoctrination (depending which side you're on). Er, illegal schools are also a feature of Jewish and Christian life, so let's not forget that.

But my guess is, there'll be new guidelines written up to target illegal schools; to force them to register and be monitored. And these guidelines will be written in a way that catches us too, we boring, completely legal, home educators. This is the point where we have to chew over the registration and monitoring proposals that will catch us all.

Just for calibration, I don't believe for a moment the Government wants to prevent or outlaw home education. No way do they want to force all kids into school. It would be a disaster! We save the state millions! No, they want home educating parents to take away the responsibilities of the kids who don't fit into school, whether because of a travelling lifestyle/ the child is a school refuser/  they have a set of expensive special needs / the parents have a bonkers educational philosophy (see Grit waving) which priorities experience and creativity over normalising and rote-learning. (Okay, the PTB might want to stop that.)

But the Government needs now to swing public opinion in preparation for these new guidelines. A leaked report comes in handy. The media, who like good guy / bad guy stories, can set us all chattering, and the government has a hands-free role.

How long will the process now take? To the point when we mouthy home educating types kick up a fuss (we will), and the Government can be assured that the public mood is not on our side. Wallop. New guidelines.

Well, Shark, Tiger and Squirrel are just shy of age 16. Registration and monitoring may not affect us. But you can be sure I'll carry on swinging punches from this micro corner of the home-educating world.

Maybe I'll start by asking the question why the health and social care departments of Wales say that an education department needs to be involved. Why don't the health and social departments ensure they directly access the child they're concerned about? Why does contacting the education department help them diagnose scurvy?

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