For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The last bit of the press note

I'll attempt to conclude my scrutiny of the NCSF press note about the Review into Elective Home Education.

After summing up the aims of the Elective Home Education Review the press note again cleverly connects "children missing education" and "home education".
It would have been really easy to construe a sentence with both the popular phrase "right to balanced education" and "home education" in it, but obviously that might have veered the minds of readers in a different direction. It's all about suggestion. Very clever.
And it works, as you can see in this scary example of misinformation (Thanks, Debs!).

The press note ends quoting Graham Badman, who will be leading the review. At this moment I'll give Mr Badman the benefit of the doubt. I've read quite a bit about the work he is and has been involved with, but I do not know enough about these cases to have an opinion about the quality of Mr Badman's work. I know enough of the workings of the media not to form an opinion based on the so-called 'public opinion'. To me Mr Badman is a kind of a judge in a court of justice, and without profound knowledge of the cases concerned, I couldn't possibly form an opinion about the quality of his work, purely based on his verdicts.

Mr Badman, too, acknowledges the right of parents to choose to home educate, and he promises to "discuss all the issues with home educating families, local authorities and other key stakeholders" - who would they be? - "[and] investigate whether the current system adequately supports these rights and responsibilities" - see, that's hopeful, he mentions both rights and responsibilities - "and if not, I will make recommendations for improvements."

So there it is. This to me sounds like an open invitation to elective home educators to provide Mr Badman not only with information about how seriously we take our responsibilities, but also about whether we feel the "current system adequately supports these rights and responsibilities".
The very fact that this review is necessary because (a lot of, not all!) local authorities and other agencies have not enough knowledge and/or understanding of the existing legislation and guidance to adequately remove the bee from the Baroness' bonnet should lead to a recommendation for improvement of the training and work methods of local authorities and agencies.

I know I am lucky to live in Cumbria, where we have some excellent LA people, who are positively supportive of EHE and who make an effort to communicate with our representatives. I have only had brief dealings with them when I was having problems trying to get my eldest into mainstream education - LOL to the irony of that! - and thanks to the interference of the - then - LEA my daughter got the place she wanted. I know many examples of positive cooperation between home educators and LA's in this county. It is possible. And all within the existing law and guidance.

The Editor's Notes of the press release again indicate that there is no intention to provide well-balanced information. There is no mention of Section 7 of the Education Act 1996. There is no mention of the organisations representing home educators in this country. And of course there is no mention of conclusive evidence or even probable grounds for the vile accusations about child abuse.

Of course not. Because there aren't any.

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