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DfES Consultation on Suitable and Efficient Home Education


So the government think that some parents opting for home education "may not be in a position to offer their children the well rounded education to which they are entitled". What about the school, where children are not safe and happy, and where an endless stream of supply and newly-qualified teachers are sworn at and opposed at every turn? In the school where I last worked until July this year the children were not receiving education.

DfES said that they plan to consult on "what light touch changes we might implement to strengthen the monitoring arrangements for home education". Oh, great, OFSTED for parents, silly grey men with clipboards to squeeze the life out of your children's learning. Look at what they have done in schools.

DfES have said that the state prescribes the form of education at schools but not in the home, and described that as an anomaly at odds with the improvement of educational standards for all children. They dictate what the children eat at school, should they therefore be planning our menus here at home, too? It is the educational gruel served up in schools that led me to home educate our children.

DfES believe they have a duty to ensure parents are able to provide an education that meets the requirements of being suitable and efficient. The presumption being that the National Curriculum is some sort of plumbline by which all learning is to be measured. But that very curriculum kills the joy of learning ...

DfES have sought to reassure home educators about their intentions by saying that the intention of a full consultation is to open up a constructive debate on whether or not changes are required, and that the consultation will consider "light touch" changes. I have been speaking to DfES and the phrase they are using is "We are consulting in the New Year [2007] on the regulations on home education". They have not yet set the consultation dates, but plan to start in January with the usual 12 week period.

My years as a teacher tell me that the consultation is a paper exercise and with its unlimited executive power the government will force upon us what it imposed on schools -- I believe prayer alone will stop this.

[email received December 20, 2006]