Over on the HE-UK list, there is some discussion about the idea that local authorities will have 10% of the funding available for school children, which they can use for children who are educated at home. It is being suggested that this is some new scheme, but that is ridiculous. Eight months ago, on February 17th, I posted about this subject. It is pretty widely known. I said;
'In the letter to local authorities, the DCSF says, apropos of home educated children;
"We would count each such pupil as 0.1 for DSG funding purposes, and review towards the end of the next spending review period whether this is an appropriate level. We plan to make this change for the 2011-12 DSG period."'
0.1 is of course 10%. I cannot imagine why people are pretending that this is a startling new development. Mike Fortune-Wood is apparently anxious because this money has been referred to by one local authority as relating to a 'pupil'. He feels there is something sinister about this, saying,
' this is something new, not yet funded. I would be careful of them calling your children pupils as a whole different set of rules apply to pupils as opposed to HE children.'
Nothing of the sort.The reason that the word 'pupil' is used is that this is 10% of the Age Weighted Pupil Unit or AWPU. They have to talk of pupils, because the finance is a percentage of a pupil related allowance from the DSG.
This post illustrates the other side of the phenomenon to which I draw attention below. Just as local authorities and the Department for Education are to be portrayed in a poor light wherever possible and the worst motives attributed to them, so too when they do something good, we must be suspicious and mistrustful of them. I have not the least doubt that this initiative of the DCSF was known to Mike Fortune-Wood months ago, just as it was to many others. However, this is good news, showing the DfE doing something worthwhile for home educators. Better keep quiet about it! If some parent does ask, then we had best sound a note of caution and make her think that there may be a catch. For instance, why are they calling this woman's kid a 'pupil'? Something fishy there. I know, I'll wind her up about this and suggest that there might be something to worry about in this innocent terminology. Perhaps I can persuade her to forget about the money being supplied for her child's education and instead promote an atmosphere of suspicion and animosity between her and her local authority.