A few days ago, some people were hinting that I was a mercenary wretch who would be making a packet selling my supposed expertise to local authorities if the law changed. Of course, there wasn't a word of truth in this. Frankly, the idea of any local authority employing me is pretty ludicrous, but it started me thinking about some of the people involved with home education who do seem to be making a bob or two out of it currently. The truth is, so many people both here and on various lists have talked of how shocking it is that somebody like me should seek to profit from home education, that I thought it worthwhile to see how others are doing so.
Of course there are quite a few people like me who make a couple of hundred pounds here and there by writing articles for the newspapers or tutoring other parent's home educated children. Some of the trustees of Education Otherwise pick up a bit of money in this way in "expenses" for interviews and so on. This is pretty small beer. We are the bottom feeders in the home education financial food chain!
Next up are people who use the home education lists to promote their businesses and drum up custom. Most of their clients seem to be home educators, so I think it fair to include them as making money out of home education. Catherine Mooney, for example, shamelessly touts for business on many of the HE lists, trying to get customers for her "Wordweaver" English course. This is a bit of racket really. One can download the English Language specification for GCSEs, the National Curriculum and so on for free. I can't imagine why anybody would pay for this material. Anybody who goes on the EO or HE-UK lists will recognise this name - Cradlecare. When I first saw this cropping up all over the place, I assumed that it was just an email name, rather like firebird or bornjoyful. It's actually a commercial company and advertising such things on Internet lists in this way is a very good way to publicise yourself. For any pregnant woman who has no friends or family, the person who runs this company will, for £500 , stay with you while you give birth. Actually, somebody spoke to her about using the lists to advertise her services like this. She managed to stop for a few days, but this is such useful free publicity that she is back at it again.
Those above are like me; home education is just another way to supplement their income. Some people however make a proper living out of it. Mike Fortune-Wood and his wife are in this category. Jan Fortune-Wood has published no fewer than five books on the subject and Mike has also written a few himself. Jan Fortune-Wood runs writing courses for home educated young people and Mike gets paid for training local authority officers. He and his wife are also listed as consultants for The Centre for Personalised Education Trust, which is based in Nottingham and run by the Meighans. Alison Sauer, who founded Sauer Consulting also trains local authorities about home education matters.
One or two people manage to make a very good living out of home education. Chief among these is an old friend. Step forward, Paula Rothermel. She is an expert witness and her services are in some demand for court cases where home education is involved. Below, you can see the sort of fees which she charges;
SCHEDULE OF EXPERT WITNESS FEES:
For studying documents supplied, carrying out any necessary calculations and preparation of report, depending upon total work involved, minimum charge:
For subsequent preparation of Section 9 Statements, minimum charge:
For pre-court preparation, travelling to and attendance at court:
£90.00 per hour or £560.00 per whole day
Travelling time for day prior to hearing (where required), or for site visitation:
£45.00 per hour
Plus all expenses for hotels, mileage (at £0.45 per mile), fares, meals, parking
Plus VAT as applicable
These rates are within the Lord Chancellor's recommended figures for Expert Witnesses.
Nice work if you can get it! At those sorts of charges, I too would be able to live comfortably in Switzerland, commuting to and from England every week. Makes my occasional £150 for an article look pretty feeble!
This is not an exhaustive list, by any means of those who pick up money out of home education. I rather assume that most home educating parents will make money out of it if the opportunity presents itself and nothing above is meant to be in the least degree pejorative. We all have to make ends meet as best we can.