Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In the light of this - a poll

The notes from EO's meeting with Graham Badman are now on the EO website. One piece of good news emerges: Mr Badman does intend to consult with Paula Rothermel as part of his panel of experts. This is a huge relief, because it was looking as if - apart from EO, who only represents a tiny proportion of HErs - no home educators were going to be involved in this 'expert' discussion about.. home education. At least we know that Paula has experience of elective home education, and has produced useful and valuable research to show that our children are far from disadvantaged by the process.

I still, personally, don't think it's good that in a panel of six experts, only one appears to have had any elective home educating experience, but other people might think differently.

In the light of this, some other home educators have asked me to run a poll here today, to give people the chance to express the extent of their confidence in the review process to date. So here it is:



Please feel free to add any comments below.

41 Comments:

Blogger Gill said...

Link to this post:

a href="http://sometimesitspeaceful.blogspot.com/2009/02/in-light-of-this-poll.html

8:04 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Fionna said...

In the light of the fact that Mr Badman is supposed to be consulting with a panel of experts, I would have thought that, since only Paula Rothermel appears to have any expert knowledge of Elective Home Education, she is the only person qualified to be on the panel.

9:34 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Good point, Fionna.

9:41 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Merry said...

I've reached a point of total despair over this now; Fran and i were talking about it on the way home from Melrose and it was only then that it hit me that no matter what we do we have absolutely NO chance of her being able to HE her kids they way we have done, should she choose to. I'm beginning to hate this country.

9:43 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

I hadn't thought of it from that point of view Merry :-(

9:51 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

Let alone the next generation, I'm not going to be able to HE my baby in the same way we have my oldest girls, and that makes me very angry.

9:55 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Heidi said...

Excellent poll. I have so little confidence in the review process that I wrote to my MP lambasting it and requesting that he get it stopped (no, I'm not holding my breath!) See http://www.nwilts-he.org.uk/index.php?title=HE_review_MP_letter

I certainly cannot fathom what experts on prison reform, excluded children, daycare provision and school curriculum are doing on the panel!

10:02 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Alison said...

Nice one Gill! A more unrepresentative bunch you could not imagine, except perhaps in govt. Have tweeted it and also linked from Home Ed Forums.

10:20 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Cosmic Seed, true - unless the current legal position is left as it is.

Excellent letter Heidi, and me neither.

Thanks for that, Alison.

10:22 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

I think they should have more HE experts on the panel then non after all it is about HE but maybe Mr Badman is scared he might get converted lol. I am also worried my own kids won't be able to HE in the future and I already hate this country.

10:25 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Yes Ruth. It makes me feel like the opinions of home educating experts mustn't count for much, in the world of officialdom.

10:55 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger daisy_maze said...

Ironic, isn't it, that most of the bodies getting uptight about home education are simply, er, lacking education about it, even to the extent of the law...

11:44 am, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Well said, Daisy Maze.

11:53 am, February 17, 2009  
Anonymous Jax said...

Am intrigued as to the identity of your single yes vote so far!

Actually thought the notes from the EO meeting were quite encouraging - it seems to me that Mr Badman may have got himself into something completely different to what he was expecting. And it's very encouraging to think that Paula Rothermel is involved. Bit worried about the potential time bomb of a case where abuse and home education are involved - think we might be about to be caught very much on the hop here.

12:18 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Ann said...

In the light of the fiasco of SATS, this panel should be asked to say what they could possibly offer to children who have not had to go through this terrible system of education - especially the lack of communication skills modern children seem to display.

12:18 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

Excellent post and poll, Gill! Can't be ignored, I'd say. Not by a govt who sends British soldiers all over the world to defend human rights and democracy.

12:24 pm, February 17, 2009  
Anonymous Steve said...

HE may change in the future, but damn them. I'm still going to educate my children how I see fit. Its my highest responsibility. If I get fined, I get fined. If I go to prison, I go to prison. What else is life about if not living as you see fit?

1:17 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Prof Stephen Heppell said...

Just before you all get too anxious over this may I draw your attention to the wilful misrepresentation of myself - attributing other people's work and quotes to build a picture of 'hostility' that is completely and utterly wrong.

iI think you have a good and wise panel. I'm proud to be one of them.

See my comments on the "vultures" post.

1:41 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

You're assuming - wrongly - that it was a wilful misrepresentation, but the sections of that post to which you are refering have now all been removed.

The panel may indeed be good and wise, but I repeat, what have any of them, apart from Paula Rothermel, got to do with Elective Home Education please?

2:55 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger elaine said...

Yet again we see the DCSF believe that anyone who is an expert within institutions for childen somehow becomes an instant expert on elective home education.

This is exactly the problem we have with LAs. Experts in institutions for child 'care', or childrens' education, are not at the same time experts in elective home education merely because they deal with children.

We also see that LAs are given preferential and deferential treatment, as opposed to home educators who have been sidelined and patronised. It appears the assumption is that LAs understand and have expertise in home education when nothing could be further from the truth.

Home educators understand their responsibilities and the law. Local authorities frequently do not.

2:57 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

Hi firstly Gill could we have a link to the 'vultures' post please.
The review I have voted NO I will not elaborate beyond that as I feel that this should be addressed first the LA questionnaire does not meet the dcsf disability equality duty.
My request for an explanation of how the department feels it complies has NOT , after 2 weeks and a further request for a response, been answered .
I have wondered if they intend to hide behind this being an independent review and therefore not subject to DED but knowing a home educating parent who had to remove her child from school because he was being put in danger due to lack of care who has a tribunal finding that the school put him at risk of 'seizure and death' , knowing another parent who has had a tribunal rule that due to the 'medicines in school guidance' her child cannot be expected to receive life saving care should he need it and would be reliant on an ambulance arriving in time (the child was removed by the parent from school) and myself having removed my child from the system due to lack of care I can only say it is grossly abusive and a violation of every moral that parents and children should be asked by a failing system to explain how they feel they meet the '5 outcomes' !!

3:22 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Elaine, yes of course:

http://sometimesitspeaceful.blogspot.com/2009/02/vultures-are-circling.html

3:25 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger fenwick family said...

someone on your comments mentioned they hated this country - oh i so agree - its so sad to live in a country where kids are hardly tolerated never mind loved and enjoyed and yet the hypocracy of the system is astonishing - again trying to get at parents who do take their parental rights and responsibilities seriously and relish in doing so..... so many other things they could sit around deciding isnt there !! i think its fixed i think its already decided what it is they want to do and they wont stop till they do so - me and mine - we want to just disappear :(

5:11 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

A few *soothing* comments about the panel aren't going to wash. We have had our good name besmirched by the DSCF and as such a lot of previously non political, non *rebellious* home educators have become highly politicised and extremely angry. To be patronised and told to be grateful for a panel of people passing judgement on us, when they know nothing about what we do or how we do it, is beyond the pale IMO.

5:48 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger these boots said...

Cosmic Seed I couldn't agree with you more.

And I am waiting for this kind of review to be done on the current educational provision and institutionalised abuse in schools. I have worked in many schools all over the country and see woefully inadequate education and gross disrespect of children wherever I go - with some children managing to thrive despite of school, certainly not *because* of it.

And if the review is truly about home education - rather than just an excuse to demonise home educators - then every 'expert' on that panel should be an expert in home education - not necessarily supportive of it, but certainly familiar with what home educating families do. Actually, are there any experts of home education who *aren't* fully supportive of it?

6:19 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger thenewstead6 said...

"these boots" is right - if it is about home education, then every expert should have experience or knowledge of home education. Would you set up a panel of experts on, say, greenhouse gases and only put on the CEOs of major companies who contribute to those emissions? Er, hang on, actually that sounds EXACTLY the sort of thing that the government would do...

7:27 pm, February 17, 2009  
Anonymous Ruth (the other one) said...

Sadly whoever they may be I have no faith in the expert panel because I don't believe that they have been brought together to give the government anything but the answers it is looking for.

This review was launched on Day One with a slanderous attack on all of us in the press. The questionnaire for us is short and massively slanted. I've downloaded the ECM framework document and by those definitions we're screwed before we start! The questionnaire for LAs repeatedly assumes that they currently act outside the law encouraging the idea that it's OK to do so.

Even if the expert panel comes back with a report that is from our POV broadly positive the DCSF will I am totally sure spin it, quoting the bits they find useful, to say that we need registering and monitoring.

If the outcome wasn't already decided I don't believe that this review would be happening.

7:28 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Raquel said...

re: what Daisy said

They should have on-the-spot tests for people who have *education* in their job description and if they don't know the the laws surrounding education, they should be sent on a course! We should start inspecting them! How is that they get paid when they don't even know the basics of law that has created their jobs?

7:42 pm, February 17, 2009  
Anonymous Techno said...

Gill - I'm in awe of your ability to plough through government pdf's. Respect. I can't chew through them at the rate you do, but you're giving me a good framework of where to look next, which is really helpful. Thanks.

Merry, I think your despair is premature, please hang in there.

Personally, I agree with Jax. I thought the comments from the EO meeting with Graham Badman were very positive and I felt encouraged by reading them. Towards the end of the notes it seemed that the problem is that we build up relationships with one set of people, go through the consultation, demonstrate that HE is good, everyone agrees and the consulation outcome is good; then these people move on, new people arrive, and the cycle starts again.

Home education works really well, and it's been proven to work well. The main issue is lack of knowledge, IMHO. Mr Badman has met with EO, and Paula Rothermel is on his panel of experts. These two signs suggest all isn't as bleak as we feared it might be. I'm also surprised to see Prof Heppell posting here; but ask yourselves, why is he reading this blog? Maybe trying to find out more about HE?

So is it all a conspiracy, or is it just bumbling bureaucracy? Read/watch "Yes, Minister" before answering.

9:27 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Working Dad said...

I don't have much faith in this review because I believe the gov't has already decided what they want to do and keep pushing out one review after another with a slightly different slant each time until they manage to get one they can use to back up their plans.

Basically, I reckon they want to standardise us all, to eventually get all schooled and HE kids following the National curriculum and all subject to monitoring and testing.

They've got a fight on their hands though, I intend to fight for my rights and the rights of my children every step of the way.

9:50 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger HelenHaricot said...

hmm, i think eo meeting is the first positive thing i have seen. and actually prof heppell seeking out hE blogs [even if it was from a search on his name] is at least pro-active. i hope he, and other panel members have a look at lots of blogs that are open, they can see how various people do it!
http://homeeducationstoriesuk.blogspot.com/
might be one starting point - no politics, just how a few people do it?

10:27 pm, February 17, 2009  
Blogger shepherdlass said...

It's the disproportionate nature of the representation that's so maddening. To bring extra HE representatives on to the panel is made to feel like a concession, when the whole consultation's completely unbalanced anyway. I'm sure that the panel members are wise people, but they still are discussing 2 different data sets compiled from surveys that clearly asked for greater detail from LAs.

1:07 pm, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes me seethe that Ivatts, author of the most bigoted, racist hogwash I have yet to see emanate from central gvt and it's cronies http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RW77.pdf
is anywhere near this review. I don't think I will dignify the review with any response except to say that the presence of racists on the panel is indefensible.

1:52 pm, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good and wise panel?
Rent-seekers every one of them.

1:56 pm, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Techno said...

Anonymous said "It makes me seethe that Ivatts...is anywhere near this review".

Just scanned the conclusions of the linked pdf. Section 6.7 is where the action begins, although I couldn't see any direct links between this conclusion and the rest of the document. I particularly had problems with how a study on education within the traveller community could attempt to recommend blanket legislation on all home educators. This is a full assault on home education, section 6.10 provides details of what legislation Ivatts would like to see put in place:
Assessment, Assessment, Assessment. Oh yes, and a broad and balanced curriculum; we know what that means.

So...yeah. Maybe not coming to the panel with an open mind.

Now, who else is on the panel?

7:40 pm, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Techno said...

Follow on to my previous post...Gill's already critiqued some of those on the panel under "the vultures are circling". Sorry, suffering info overload here.

http://sometimesitspeaceful.blogspot.com/2009/02/vultures-are-circling.html

7:45 pm, February 18, 2009  
Blogger HelenHaricot said...

anon - thanks for the link. it truly makes my heart sink that we are doing a 'last stand' for HE

9:24 pm, February 18, 2009  
Anonymous Jax said...

I thought I left a comment here - where has the name Ivatts come from? It doesn't appear to be associated with the panel as listed by Gill, and I can't help feeling the inclusion of that name is just muddying the waters unless I'm missing something?

6:43 pm, February 19, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

It is indeed muddying the waters, Jax. Arthur Ivatts thinks that it's not safe to allow Gipsy and Traveller families to HE unchecked - therefore we must all be monitored to the hilt. Mr Badman is apparently consulting him as part of his research. :-(

6:49 pm, February 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IIn case you missed this on the lists. Much love Tracy M
**************
I've had confirmation today from the Home Education Review Team that Dr Alan Thomas and Professor James Conroy will be meeting Graham Badman as part of the Home Education Review.

Speaking to a journalist from the Times Educational Supplement about the Review recently Professor Conroy said

“The danger of undermining parents through a culture of suspicion is politically and socially injurious, It’s bizarre to pathologise others purely because they are other.”

http://www.tes. co.uk/article. aspx?storycode= 6007914

Please forward freely

Fiona

12:04 am, February 20, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

That's *very* good news. Thank you Tracy.

2:17 am, February 20, 2009  

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