monitoring home educators – the old thorn!

Nothing wastes a kid’s learning time more than being tested! And nothing wastes a home educating family’s time more than preparing for a visit from the Local Authority!

Monitoring of home schooling families has always been a contentious issue.

Here’s a good article about it you might be interested in by Nikki Harper about the LAs right (or not!) to visit your home and why she is prepared to take them to court over it.

If the people who came from the LA were genuinely interested and pleasant, I don’t think anyone would really mind the odd visit for the safely and well being of children. We found it was quite nice to welcome someone into our home to talk about the kids’ learning since no one else we knew seemed to want to – it being far too radical and them not knowing what to say about it! After all, we couldn’t show nice, neat little test results and ticks in books which is all that matters to some people. So I was quite happy to talk about what the kids were doing and we had a pleasant afternoon with our LA. I was good at educational jargon. I had my arguments – I mean discussions – at the ready!

But we were the lucky ones.

I know that many home educators’ experiences of being visited by LAs are far from ours. Many are intimidated, bullied, made to feel inadequate usually by the ignorance and prejudice of the officers visiting. And that’s what Nikki’s gripe is – quite rightly. The intrusion is totally unacceptable.

I love this bit…’Shall we send inspectors into the homes of school-using families to check for abuse taking place in the evenings, weekends and school holidays? Of course not, because families are considered innocent until proven guilty – unless they home educate’.

We’ve probably all suffered discrimination at some point. But the discrimination from the LA is perhaps the worst of all – unlike the general public, they really do have no excuse for their ignorance. No family should put up with it.


12 thoughts on “monitoring home educators – the old thorn!

  1. I was wondering how useful the LA visit was and why we went through with it. Does the report they write ever get used for anything?

    • Apart from making families feel bad – yes – sometimes it feels as if it’s only about control. Even one of the officers who came to this house was questioning the value of it and I was telling him what to put on his form!!

  2. Truly interesting article! Thanks for sharing.

    We’ve been pretty lucky too with our LA-person, though we hadn’t been seen for about 4 years prior to the visit we had a few months ago. The lady seemed genuinely interested, she made copious notes, and we were sent a good report — although I do mind that we need a report at all. What got me hot under the collar? My ‘darling’ family!! Liam had opted not to be part of the ‘visit’ & we were all fine with that but my cousin thought that was wrong — if the LA-person didn’t see him or talk to him, how could she gauge how he was doing? I thought about reasoning with her but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is nigh on impossible to educate those who truly cannot see anything wrong with the current education system. Personally, I mind that I’m related to them ;o)

  3. What makes me laugh is the fact that home educators have mostly taken their children out of state schools because the school was not giving the child the appropriate education for the child. If they have failed at that how can the local LA be in the position to judge whether the education is appropriate or not? Nevertheless, I can understand the fact that these people have to be seen to be making sure that children are getting an education but it would seem less hypercritical if some finances were offered to help as well as the pointless words once in a while.

  4. We have also had always pleasant visits and in our part of the world word of mouth about the best “school facilitators” to suit individual styles spreads fast and we get some say. I’ve had a facilitator the past couple of years who is middle of the road in regards to her style but was still supportive. Next year I am moving to another “facilitator” that has been unschooled herself and still got a university education (in education – which is cool and ironic). I am really looking forward to this experience of having support that gets it! Lucky are we in our geographical area!

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