I’d be really interested to know your experiences of dealing with Local Authority representatives who contact you with regard to your home education.
I was wondering if the relationships between us – us as home schooling families and them being part of the system – had changed?
My interest has been aroused because a home educator I know has been asked – yes asked – to join the team at their local authority to help them monitor the increasing numbers of home educating families. His immediate reaction, he said, was to recoil in horror at ‘going over to the other side’.
But does it not seem the best solution to this whole distasteful business of home educating families being monitored? Who better to offer support – as the LA now begin to see it – than someone who’s had experience of it? I’m not saying it’s right that families are monitored, and the authorities still have no statutory duty to regularly do so, I’m just saying that if it happens wouldn’t the best person for the job be a former home educator? Anyone who isn’t, is just not qualified. But then, we’ve had education ministers with no experience of the classroom, so what’s new!
It all boils down to the individual really. Like with anything, it’s the manner of the visitor and the agenda they bring to their visit that counts. I’ve heard horror stories in the past about visitors whose whole remit is to get kids back in school as if this home educating lark was a whim. Or those who are bullying, disrespectful and downright ignorant of both home schooling approaches and the rights of parents. Even ignorant of the law in some cases.
But I read increasingly of LAs wanting to – and managing to – change these stories and offer more in terms of support, rather than judgement. Now that there is continuing evidence of home educating successes, they can hardly dispute that it works. Whether it’s an enlightened individual who can accept those successes is another matter. But it would be blinkered ignorance for them not to know that and they shouldn’t be doing the job it that’s the case. So maybe it is better that former home educators take on this role? And as home educating parents the best thing you can do is to know your rights, the law surrounding home education, and what they’re not entitled to do! (The site above is a great resource for this)
What’s your view? And what experiences have you had with the LA?
Do leave a comment and share this around your groups. It’d be great to hear your thoughts.