The big ‘P’!
It is a subject that pops up periodically on home ed groups, I find people asking if they need a card to prove that they home educate when visiting attractions or websites to receive a discount as a home educator or for truancy patrols. However there has been a huge increase in people asking about it in the last year or so. This is in no small part, because a new website had popped up, offering a ‘all singing, all dancing’ home education card and charging for the privilege of working with attractions and websites for home educators to receive the discount. There are a few major flaws with this:
- Proof of home education does not exist. Even a letter from the Local authority does not prove a thing!
- You do not need proof you home educate for truancy patrols, you simply have to say that you home educate. Legally they then have to let you go on your way. If they persist, the following link may prove useful if you have a phone that connects to the internet (or you can print off the relevant section): Truancy Patrols
- As far as discounts go: You CAN call or email and negotiate your own discounts if you are so inclined. These are usually only available in term time.
- Some places and websites (such as; Reading eggs) offer a home education discount anyway, and it can actually work out cheaper than the one you would get with the card sometimes.
- You do not need ID or a card to prove that you home educate for discounts, truancy patrols or otherwise.
- If you would feel more comfortable having a card. Print off your own free – all it would really need on it is a print out of the relevant laws. E.g. Section 7 of the 996 Education Act.
- Groupon, little bird and home education discounts all offer great discounts and you don’t need a card, or to pay anything to get access to them.
- You can ask other home educators – home educators have worked together and for each other for many years before this card came along and negotiating discounts individually and as groups for FREE. The home educating community is quite large and when new discounts pop up they are often shared widely with other home educators. In groups such as; https://www.facebook.com/groups/HEdiscounts/
As a result of this ‘all singing, all dancing’ card, home educators are increasingly finding that venues are asking for ‘proof’, the card is therefore excluding them from accessing something that was freely available before if they e-mailed and asked. While some venues do accept that there is no such thing as proof – let’s face it ANYONE can buy it, not just home educators. Not all attractions do. There were many in-depth discussions with the owner on various groups when they asked for feedback, which was that it was a bad idea, but they decided to go ahead with it anyway, and the fallout has gone exactly as predicted.
Home educators do not have an automatic right to discounts nor do we expect them, but home educators do talk to each other, and many are finding now that venues they found offered discounts before no longer offer them unless they have the card.
Cards are not needed to prove that you home educate. All carrying cards will do is encourage the expectation (which we are already seeing start to happen with some attractions) that home educators must be monitored and show some kind of proof that they home educate and eventually compulsory registration and monitoring. Currently we do not need any identification of any sort. A fact which is supported in law.
In 2010 many home educators fought against the Badman Review to ensure that home educating families remained protected and that compulsory registration was not enforced. This blog post puts it well: http://wafflingthroughlife.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/home-education-discount-id-cards-lets.html