Draft Elective Home Education (EHE) Guidance: What’s The Problem?

You may or may not be aware that the Government is currently consulting on new draft EHE guidance. We, like many other home educators across the country, strongly oppose these new guidelines because we believe them to be unnecessarily restrictive and intrusive.

Our ultimate objective is to secure the home ed status quo, support action to reduce off-rolling, highlight the good work being done by parents, and put the focus back on OFSTED to deal with schools (including unregistered ones) rather than putting the blame on home educators. We urge the Government to put the huge financial cost and resources it would take to implement the draft EHE guidance to far better use.

Please sign this national petition to help us.

It takes less than a minute to complete the process of signing it. The reason why we are asking people to do so is to show the government that people all over the country are angry about what they are proposing to do. Please take a minute to sign it.

Please also take time to respond to the consultation. You do not need to be a home educator to do so.

Fill in the online consultation by clicking here

It has been made really easy by following this guide:

Dare To Know Blog – guidance for completing EHE consultation

The most effective way is to respond to the consultation online. Alternative contact details though are as follows…

Email: HomeEducation.consultation@education.gov.uk

Write to:
Elective Home Education: Call for Evidence
Independent Education and Boarding Team
Department for Education
Bishopsgate House
Feethams
Darlington
DL1 5QE

A note about SEND children

As a parent of an SEND child, who also has a severe anxiety disorder, the guidance is particularly concerning. This is because it proposes the potential for intrusive monitoring, and invasion of personal space, that could badly trigger anxieties and be detrimental to a child’s mental health.

Many autistic children, especially those with high anxiety – as is often the case – would potentially find it distressing to have a stranger enter their home, which is their safe space in an overwhelming world, and/ or be subject to a stranger speaking to them alone, due to their social and communication difficulties. Also, there is a genuine concern that the parents themselves might incorrectly be seen as non-compliant, because some people do not understand child refusal.

Whilst many families would view such procedures as inconvenient or intrusive, autistic families could find it a whole other degree of stressful and it has the potential to dramatically affect their mental health. For some, it could be extremely distressing should this draft policy come into action.

Whilst, theoretically at least, exceptions could be made for such children, it is likely in reality that parents would have to then fight for their child’s needs – and voice – to be heard. So it would be far preferable for these rights to be protected for all children, not just those most vulnerable to its impact.

FAQs about the draft EHE guidance

What’s wrong with having a home education register?

In short, optional registration for some kind of service is entirely different to compulsory registers for the purpose of tracking and monitoring.

Registering for a service is different. E.g. registering at a dentist, a doctor, library or a school – you are registering to receive a particular service at a particular place. The registration is so that the service knows who uses its services and often so that the service gets funded. You can choose to stop using the service at any point, and be removed from the register.

The other forms of registration are mandatory, based on a particular characteristic. Not to receive a service, but so that the individuals can be tracked and monitored. Why do home educators need this? If the argument was for a compulsory register of say muslims, or LGBT, you would most likely see the issue with it!

Why are you opposed to the government offering support? Surely that is a good thing!

Support – if it is actually helpful i.e. the right kind of support for that individual/ family – can most certainly be a very good thing of course! But when ‘support’ is really a code word for interference from authority figures who do not necessarily understand the family’s needs, or the value of different educational approaches, this can actually be somewhat detrimental to say the least.

The consultation has just two questions in the support section, yet 7 in registration, and 9 about monitoring. That should probably give most people a clue about the true purpose of the guidance!

It is somewhat like suggesting that OFSTED really only comes into schools to offer support!

But if it saves just one child…

This argument comes up often! But it short-sighted. Whilst, in theory, it could save a child from abuse (although statistically, there are far less abuse cases amongst home educators than school children anyway, and I am not even going to get into all the other reasons why this argument misses the point!) in reality the number of children it could actually harm with its interference is undoubtedly far, far higher.

Children who were removed from school due to bullying, kids with fragile mental health and/ or severe anxiety, could be irreversibly damaged – or lives lost to suicide – because of a system that is supposedly intended to protect vulnerable children.

As home educators, we are looking at the bigger picture and seeing the otherside of the coin. The Government sadly appears to be dismissing such concerns.

Surely if you have nothing to hide, what is the issue?

Firstly, see all the points above.

Secondly, if a stranger demanded entry into your home and started searching through your stuff just incase you had stolen something – with no actual evidence, or even a good reason to suspect you are guilty, other than that you happen to do your shopping at a particular store – would you mind? Would that be ok with you?! No, I didn’t think so. Not ok with us either.

As another example, I am not carrying a concealed weapon – it doesn’t mean I am happy to walk around naked to prove it to everyone! For the comfort of everyone, let’s just assume I’m not 😉

We have a right to quiet privacy in our home and wanting to protect that right does not make anyone criminals. And the truth is, there is absolutely no logic in suggesting otherwise!

But children have rights! We need to make sure all children have a good education!

We agree! That is exactly why we are fighting to protect our freedom and rights to home educate as it stands currently!!!

The draft guidance is extremely heavy- handed and unnecessary. It invades our children’s privacy, and restricts our educational choices. Sometimes children do need a different approach to education, such as SEND children for example.

Education is not, should not and cannot, be a one-size-fits-all approach. Square pegs, round holes…

The bottom line is: whatever your opinion is on education, please support our freedom and right to choose.

Trump President: What does the future hold for our planet? 

The world is in shock; Donald Trump defied the odds to be elected as the 45th US president. A businessman and TV personality, he has no prior political experience but has made some extremely controversial statements before and during his hate-fuelled campaign; blatent racism, trivialising rape culture as locker room talk, sexism, accusing China of making up climate change and some of the least environmentally-friendly opinions in the history of candidates. He has the potential to undo all of the progress made by President Obama during his term in presidency. As warned by Professor Michael Mann, Trump could well be a “threat to the planet.” There is no denying it is a dark and scary time right now.

US elections, election 2016, President Trump, loveTrumpshate

Trump has promised that he will be “president for all Americans” and declared that “now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division” stating “it is time for us to get together as one united people.” There is some chance that he may not intend to do much of what he has previously said; he often seems to speak on impulse then later goes back on what he has said. Which is just as well considering some of the vile comments he has spewed out and damaging things he has proposed. However, he has already caused division and there has been an increase in hate crimes before Trump’s presidency has even begun, and his future actions remain to be seen. So the hope that he might not act on his hate and bigotry is of very little comfort. We all need to look out for each other, love and support one another, and remain united. Act in love, not in fear.

And what about the future of our planet with Trump as president? He has threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which would be a disaster for climate action. However, in reality, he most likely cannot actually do this because there is three year minimum period plus one year notice. But he is also a huge supporter of fossil fuels and doesn’t seem to hold much regard for cleaner energy alternatives. In short, he hasn’t so far shown much interest in the environment or protecting our planet, to say the least. A worrying future indeed.

So what can we do about it? Now is the perfect time to support the charities, organisations and individuals who are dedicated to creating impactful change throughout the world. There are of course many of these to choose from; such as 5GyresTurning Green.org and The Wildlife Trusts to name just a few. Now more than ever, we need to stand up, speak out and take action. We need to use our voices, loud and clear, to make ourselves heard. We need to fight harder than ever before. Trump may soon be in charge of what is arguably the most powerful country in the world, but we can ALL still make a positive difference. Together we WILL continue to be the change. We must remember that. Now is the time that we all need to make an even bigger conscious effort to take both individual and collective action to protect and heal our planet. The future is still in our hands.

Turning Green, Erin Schrode, Election 2016, US President, President Trump, Climate Change, Green Living
turninggreen.org