Well have you met all parents if you have met one parent? If you choose a school for your child, what do you look for? Are all schools the same? Do they all teach the same things? Or do you look around to see what they have to offer for your child?
Home education is as diverse as the families doing it. There is no right or wrong way to educate. Even within each family, each child will have different needs and have a different experience. I am one home educator of many, my way of home educating is completely different to other families.
As such; no single home educator is representative of another in the home educating community. Nor are any groups or charities.
For people saying that there should be changes to the law, or that there should be a curriculum, or legislation to stop home education from happening I simply say this as one person to another:
It may seem scary, it may seem intimidating, it may seem ‘weird’. You may have concerns, you may have simply decided it’s not for you. All of that is OKAY.
However, please bear this in mind. Just because you don’t agree with something, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong.
Our country is unique. The law in England and Wales is set up in such a way, that every child has the opportunity to experience an education that is specific and unique to their own needs, interests and desires. An education that is personalised and tailored to them. It is purposely NOT one size fits all due to the very fact that not everyone is the same. Please do not take that away from the children in our country.
The law is set up in such a way that it is the parent’s responsibility to provide this.
The state’s only responsibility with regards to education is to provide access to FREE state education for all children which cost the state between £3950 – £8595 (not including any SEN funding) per child in 2015, of which roughly 20% come out of school functionally illiterate. It is the parent’s decision whether to delegate their responsibility or not. If they choose not to delegate that responsibility, they choose to take full financial responsibility for that decision, home educators do not receive any funding. In turn, saving the state the amount stated above.
After this, their only duty is to make informal enquiries if they have reason to believe a parent is not fulfilling the duties they have been given in law, very much like the law is for everything else such as; The police, social services etc. Which was given full consideration when the law was first written in 1944.
“This is the Clause which endeavours to secure that the parent carries out the duty imposed on him in Clause 34 to see that the child receives education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude. He is given the opportunity of doing that by sending the child to school or by having him educated otherwise. Obviously, in working out how this duty was to be enforced, the framers of the Bill had to have in mind some method by which the education offered otherwise than at school was to be tested for its efficacy and suitability to the age, ability and aptitude of the child. The manner by which that is sought to be achieved is first that there must appear to the local education authority to be a prima facie case that the education which the parent is providing is not suitable. That is the first examination of the efficiency of the education.”
– Mr. Moelwyn Hughes.
Let me be absolutely clear:
The LA has a duty to make enquiries if they have reason to be believe that the parents are breaking the law by not fulfilling the duty given to them in law. If they are not satisfied they can ultimately issue a school attendance order and force the child to attend school. Local Authorities are far from powerless.
If there are welfare concerns, the LA has a duty to act, to investigate through social services and under S47 access to children (with support of the Police if needed) who are thought to be in danger. This is NOT the job of the education department.
In a similar vein, just because you may not understand why a family home educates, or why their child is not in school it does not give you the right to:
- Tell us we are abusing our children by not sending them to school.
- Shout obscenities at us or our families in public, or behave in a threatening manner towards us (in any instance, but especially NOT when our children are present!)
- Talk to us through our children, implying we are doing something wrong. We are not and this can scare our children.
- Question or interrogate our children at length and demand answers about what kind of things they know. If they want to engage they will, just like your kids!
- Tell us we should be at home teaching our children, when we are going about our daily lives minding our own business. Home education does not just happen at home.
- An explanation of why we do what we do.
By all means ask questions about our home ed journey!
Questions are never a bad thing, you never know. There may be an answer!