Friday, 1 October 2010

Autonomous educators embrace the statement of educational intention for the next twelve months!

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the reservations which some autonomously educating parents evidently felt about the idea of providing their local authority with a statement outlining their educational plans for the coming year. A number of parents gave quite convincing reasons why this could not be done. A recent post on one of the lists has reminded me of what a lot of hypocritical poppycock all these objections are!

In order to continue claiming Child Benefit after the age of sixteen, it is necessary to prove that your child is still in full-time education. Parents, even those educating autonomously, suddenly have no hesitation about filling in a form and outlining all the subjects which their children will be studying in the coming year and detailing how many hours will be spent in these studies. This is of course the very thing that they are seemingly unable or unwilling to do for the education department of their local authority! Could it be that the cash incentive of another two years of Child Benefit is enough to overcome their deep-seated, ideological objections to this practice? Apparently so!


  1. By that age most AE children know what they want to study over the next year. Many have either enrolled at college or on correspondence courses, for instance. At the least they know what they want to study using their own research and resources. I know about 20 AE children and this has been true for all of them so there has been no difficulty in honestly completing the form.

    Besides which, if they do change their mind about the course or subjects they wish to study (as some children do, even those who have followed a structured, parent-led education or school) there would be no problem. It could not be used as evidence for an SAO or as grounds for asking for the Child Benefit to be repaid.

    A child stating what they intend to study over the following year and the parent passing this information onto the child benefit department is very different from a parent telling a child what they will study and it is still AE. I really cannot see your point.

  2. I never had to give any detail on such a form. I answered 'not applicable' on the questions that weren't applicable to what the children were doing, and this sufficed.

  3. 'I really cannot see your point'

    My point is that there was enormous opposition to the idea of providing some idea of what a child would be studying in the coming year. Yet when the continued payment of Child Benefit is at stake, autonomous eductors say things such as;

    'I've just filled in the same form and just waffled on a bit about subjects my autonomous son plans to study. I also said that he doesn't plan to take any exams. Make sure you put the minimum hours that your daughter will be studying. '

    If it is possible for an autonmously educating parent to do this, I was puzzled as to why it would be so hard to provide their local authority with similar information.

  4. Because the LA could use a the fact that the plan was not followed as evidence that the provided education was not efficient, they did not achieve what they set out to achieve. This is not the case with the Child Benefit form.

  5. Being a good Popperian, Simon, you will know that he believes that you should make every attempt to understand your opponents' arguments before you critique them. You should also critique the strongest, not the weakest point. This, of course, isn't what you have done here.

    The simple truth is that for AEors, it IS (in all honesty) impossible to provide such a plan of education, for it directly contradicts the most basic tenets of autonomous education!

    The fact that AEors may be forced to lie because of inappropriate questions on the CB form, doesn't make the argument against AE plans a load of poppycock.

    AEors who provide plans for the Child Benefit Office do so with a reasonable conscience because they know that education will take place.

    Perhaps we should kick up a stink and get the CB form changed so that it doesn't ask inappropriate questions, but I for one am not holding my breath.

  6. 'The fact that AEors may be forced to lie because of inappropriate questions on the CB form,'

    Nobody is forced to lie. You seem to be saying
    they're happy to lie on one form, but not another. This was actually the point which I was making.

  7. Nobody needs to lie on the CB form. They just need to state what their child plans to study (the child chooses so it is child led, so still AE). They could also state that this plan may change at any time (the child does not have to continue with a subject if they lose interest, so still AE) and they could also send updates to the CB department every time the plans change, but I doubt the CB office really wants to know.