Sunday, 28 June 2015

The legal requirement for home educators to follow a curriculum

One of the most depressing things about the world of British home education is that year after year, the same nonsense is endlessly recycled; the same fundamental misunderstanding of the law perpetuated, to the confusion of new home educating parents. Take the constant talk about the ’right’ to home educate. There is of course no such thing; the child has a right to an education, while the parents, alas, have only duties. This is one of the commonest myths in home education; that any attempt at monitoring is somehow infringing upon the rights of the adults involved. It is in fact aimed at securing the rights of children.

This basic error of perception has had the most unfortunate consequences for some home educators. Because they get into the habit of thinking about their ‘rights’ and not their duties, they lose sight of what those duties actually entail. Despite what some people tell them, there is far more to their duty than at first meets the eye. Let’s have a look at one or two of the things that home educating parents must do to abide by the law. The first thing that they must do is actively supervise and teach their children. It is not enough from the law’s point of view just to let their children pick up things in their own time and at their own inclination. There is a legal obligation too, to follow a curriculum.  This curriculum will have certain minimum standards  that must be adhered to. Any parent not taking active steps to ensure that the child acquires literacy and grasps the basics of mathematics would be in breach of the law.

These are just a few of the things that home educating parents must do to keep within the law. Many parents do not bother to find out about such duties, because they are instead preoccupied with their imaginary ‘rights’ in the matter.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Joining the movement..

The other day, somebody posted on one of the home education groups on Facebook, saying that she was about to take her child from school and was trembling all over and feeling tremendously emotional about the whole thing; in a dream-like state. She asked if this was abnormal. The correct answer of course is that if you react so violently to the prospect of making a new educational arrangement for your child, whether changing schools or assuming responsibility yourself for his education; then this is definitely not normal and you should see either a doctor or a therapist of some kind. People don’t, or rather they should not, not if they are emotionally healthy,  become hysterical every time a child’s educational setting changes. This being the world of British home educators, there was of course a mad stampede to reassure the woman that her feelings were quite common for those sending letters to a head teacher.

The feelings that those commenting on this post talked of, reminded me of varieties of mystical religious experience; the sort of thing that people report when they are slain in the spirit at an evangelical church, for instance, or have just accepted Jesus as their saviour. Recollect, these are parents who have simply made a new arrangement for their child’s education, nothing more.  One mother had cried for two weeks, another had slept for six weeks. One person cried and was nearly sick, somebody else was shaking so much, it felt as though she was coming down with the flue. Words such as ‘terrifying’ were bandied about, others were ‘scared stiff’.

All this talk puts me in mind strongly of people who have made the decision to join a cult or surrender themselves to some higher power. It is the language of religion, rather than education. Here are parents who feel that they are joining some movement or taking part in an experience which is greater than them and they are seeking reassurance from others. This is frankly weird and I can see how some such people end up being exploited emotionally by stronger characters than themselves. These are vulnerable individuals, who are now desperately seeking guidance and hoping to be told that they have done the right thing. Little wonder that some fall under the spell of self-assured men and women who believe themselves to be leaders of the home educating community. We shall be looking in greater detail at this idea in the next few days.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A Militant Home Educator

Mrs Wendy Charles-Warner must surely be one of the best known home educators in the country. An indefatigable, an unkind person might say shameless, self-publicist; she has appeared in many newspapers in support of her chosen hobby horse. In addition to being a representative of the national home education charity, Education Otherwise, Mrs Charles-Warner has remorselessly chronicled in print the lives of the daughter and grandson whom she taught herself. Here is a recent example of her appearance in a national newspaper, in this case The Guardian, on behalf of Education Otherwise;

In addition to these activities, Mrs Charles-Warner runs, under an assumed name, a Facebook group which purports to help home educating parents in their disputes with local authorities. It is popularly  known as Help Dealing with Officialdom and may be found here;

So much for the public face of this woman’s activities on behalf of the cause of home education. There is another side to her interest in this subject though and it is one about which she is strangely reticent. It is time now to shed light upon this lesser known aspect of Mrs Charles-Warner’s  involvement with home education in this country.

A brief look at the advice given on the Facebook group mentioned above, soon shows that its members are urged to live in a state of virtual warfare with their local authorities; refusing visits and doing their utmost not to cooperate with any requests for information about the education which they are providing for their children. This is because, as Mrs Charles-Warner has repeatedly said, ‘There is no legal basis to monitor home education’. On her Facebook group yesterday, a mother posted, saying that she was happy to have a visit from her local authority to check up on the educational provision she was making for her child. Mrs Charles-Warner thought this a bad idea, saying ‘I would not meet with her because she is seeking work samples and evidence, to which she is not entitled.’

I hope we all have this clear now. Wendy Charles-Warner, who acts on behalf of Education Otherwise and is a militant home educator, advises parents not to meet with local authority officers or provide evidence of a child’s work. One mother who adopted this strategy, received a pretty sharp letter from her local authority last week. They threatened her with legal action. The letter she received may be seen below.

Look now at the lower right hand of that letter  and you will see who helped to compose it. It was of course, none other than that same Wendy Charles-Warner who was yesterday urging a parent who was happy to receive a visit and provide samples of work to resist such an intrusion. And yet here she is now, helping and advising a local authority to take action against somebody who follows just this approach! Note that the letter, drafted with Mrs Charles-Warner's help, demands visits and samples of work; the very things which she told another mother that local authorities have no business even to ask for.

I will leave readers to judge for themselves what is going on here. It is however worth bearing in mind that Mrs Charles-Warner and the woman with whom she runs the Facebook group are founders and joint directors of a company which has a commercial interest in education; Heatherside Education Consultants Ltd. Almost unbelievably, after advising the local authority to send this letter, Mrs Charles-Warner then set out to offer her advice to the recipient on how to deal with the local authority! Cynical readers might think all this a perfect illustration of that old saying which mentions those who run with the fox, while at the same time hunting with the hounds.

Monday, 22 September 2014

What does Alison Sauer actually do for a living?

I have been trying to puzzle out lately what it is that Alison Sauer actually does. We know that she is a paid professional, because she said the other day that;

In the next 10 days I have a trip to Whitby, wages, VAT return, annual accounts, 6 clients to catch up on 

All well and good; she works at some business which entails being paid to work with clients. A few days before this, she said;

 I spend about 15 hours a week helping people in child protection issues all over the UK and work with some top lawyers

Is this the same work?  Is she a social worker, a counsellor or what? I am genuinely interested to know. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Negative energy...

Commenting yesterday, somebody made the very sensible point that it looked as as though I was somehow trapped in the past and obsessing about things that happened ages ago. the expression negative energy was used to describe this. I think that the fault is mine, for not making myself clearer about why I am reminding people about all this stuff that happened in the past. Attempts have been made over the last few months, chiefly by Alison Sauer, to install Mike Fortune-Wood at Education Otherwise in some ill-defined role. Alison herself refers to,  'bringing him on board'. It is understood that once he was 'on board', then he would work with Alison and one or two allies of hers within EO to re-vitalise the organisation. What I have been doing over the last few days is to remind people who we are talking about here. If, knowing what these characters are like, members of Education Otherwise are happy to see their group fall under the increasing influence of such people; then all well and good, there is nothing more to be said. By looking at their past actions, we can form a pretty good idea of the sort of people that Alison & Co actually are, which is why I have been raking over  past events.

If home educators in this country are content to see the biggest home education group in the United Kingdom being guided and directed by a woman who runs secret campaigns of harassment against those with whom she falls out; then that's up to them. Alison's main friend within EO is currently suing one of the trustees of the charity, has threatened other home educators with legal action and more than once tried to have people arrested by the police for drawing attention to her activities in the field of home education. She and Alison have launched a company concerned with education which they hoped to keep secret. They were so annoyed when this company was mentioned here, that a solicitor's letter was sent and the police contacted once again. I have never in all my life heard of the directors   of a new company being so desperately anxious to keep their business a secret that they have resorted to such tactics. Perhaps readers could suggest an innocent explanation for this desire for secrecy? There was something decidedly surreal about finding myself being questioned by the police about mentioning Alison's latest business venture in a blog! 

I am, in the next few days, going to stop blogging again. It does not really matter to me what happens to Education Otherwise, or who runs it. All I would say is that those who are members should think very carefully about the direction that the organisation is going.  

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Am I a liar?

I observe that Alison Sauer is now telling people that I am lying about her role in helping to close down free speech on this blog. Earlier today, I posted a brief account of how this was done and below will be found evidence that Alison did precisely what I have said that she did.

Perhaps readers might like to ask themselves why Cheryl Moy could possibly have wanted to know my wife's name? They might wonder why Alison really wanted to know my home address. She said that it was because Wendy might need to serve 'papers' on me, but  all I had said was that Wendy lived near Snowdonia. What  legal action would be possible for mentioning that somebody lived near a National Park? Having acquired my address, for the purpose, as she claimed, of Wendy Charles-Warner serving papers on me, why do readers suppose that she then gave it to everybody else? Was that in case they too wished to serve me with papers? Or was it perhaps to encourage people to send nuisance deliveries to my home? And why on earth did Alison only want this to be spread via private messages? Might it be that she wished to keep her role in coordinating the harassment secret?  Since Alison is telling her friends that I am making all this up, and since she is reading this blog, may we expect her to come on here and tell us all about this? Does anybody not think that this looks like a woman launching a campaign of harassment and intimidation? 

Alison Sauer launches a campaign of harassment and intimidation...

Alison Sauer

Please spread this message but ONLY by PM
Kat Brown

Far too tempting just to sign up his email address to random lists for fun.
Alison Sauer

Can anyone get me his house address? Wendy may need to serve papers on him
Chez Moy

whats his wife called?

23:22Dawn Baxendale left the conversation.
Alison Sauer

And for future reference and deliveries of manure...
Simon Webb
Chez Moy

i once did have 2 tons of manure delivered to someone :)smile
Alison Sauer

We could have a whip round...I'll put a tenner in the pot!

23:48Hellen Barnes- Kowalkowski left the conversation.

23:52Julie Thomas left the conversation.

06:14Ann-Marie Harrigan left the conversation.

07:27Tracey McPherson left the conversation.
Jai Daniels-Freestone

I appreciate the heads-up, but it strikes me that this man, vile as he is, wants attention! This is attention seeking behaviour and I'm not going to give him the satisfaction.