I wonder if I am the only one to notice that the planned 'New Guidelines', intended to replace the 2007 guidelines for local authorities dealing with home education, seem to have vanished without a trace? Readers will recall that in December there was a lot of fuss because a group of people connected with Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the education select committee, were busy rewriting the 2007 guidelines. Some people were angry about this; Tanya Berlow, one of those involved, was banned from the Home Ed Forums as a result. Alison Sauer and Imran Shah were the driving force behind the scheme and according to Tanya Berlow, a first draft would be available after Christmas. Since then, a number of things have happened.
Alison Sauer disappeared from the home education lists and forums for a while and then reappeared without saying anything about the matter. Imran Shah similarly came back after an absence. Tanya Berlow, by contrast, vanished. At one time, her name was prominent on lists such as HE-UK and EO. She no longer posts at all, which is odd. I think that it is a fair guess that those who were mixed up in this scheme realised that it was a bad idea. For one thing, the 2007 guidelines could hardly be more favourable to home educators. For another, the Department for Education keeps muttering that they are looking into whether or not a change is needed in the regulations relating to home education. I would have thought that those who did not want any change in the status quo might have felt that now is a good time to keep quiet! I mentioned a while ago that Graham Stuart has got cold feet about this enterprise as well. Since he was the man with access to Nick Gibb the Schools Minister, nothing much can be done without his help and cooperation. Finally, I think that some of those mixed up in this enterprise were a little shocked to see how much opposition there seemed to be from other home educating parents. Rightly or wrongly, Alison Sauer was viewed as trying to run with the fox and also hunt with the hounds. She was embarrassed by this perception and decided to slip back into regular home educator mode and refuse even to discuss what she had been up to.
I think that it is safe to assume that the plan for the new guidelines has been quietly dropped, which might well be a good thing. The only remaining mystery now is what has become of Tanya Berlow. She has long been one of the most wordy, prolix and vociferous people on the lists and it is strange that she has stopped posting entirely. Perhaps the group drafting the guidelines realised that Tanya could never be silenced and she is now lying in a shallow grave on the Somerset Levels?