Those who hang around on home educating forums and lists on the internet will probably be familiar with the expression ‘rent seeker’. It is meant to describe a particular type of home educator who hopes to make money out of home education by hiring herself, or himself, out to local authorities or central government and charging for services. I have myself been accused of this and of course the archetypal ’rent seeker’, at least according to some, gave evidence to the select committee a couple of days ago.
Now I am all in favour of private enterprise in such matters, but I am also pleased to see the state getting in on this act as well and so was enchanted to see a local authority attempting to turn home education into a money-spinner. As readers probably know, it is possible for local authorities to obtain funding for home educated children to attend college once they are fourteen. Here is a local authority discussing this among themselves:
Notice incidentally how home educators are ‘challenging’ the local authority to provide the funding! Not just asking or requesting. Interesting too to note one of their motives in agreeing to such requests:
BCSB is, therefore, supportive of any mechanisms which
may enable the local authority to track and monitor the education, safety and wellbeing
of those children who are receiving a home education.
Still, this is all to the good. Home educated children are actually getting to attend college and study for nothing, as the government has explicitly stated that they may. Some authorities though have scented an opportunity to make a bob or two from all this; the London Borough of Bexley, for example. Take a look at this:
You will see that they are specifically targeting home educators and charging them cash upfront. You might be able to claim some of this back, but this is by no means certain. I have tried in vain to find out from Bexley whether any poor sap has actually been fleeced in this way, but they are strangely reluctant to discuss the matter or even say if anybody has handed over cash for one of these courses. I wonder if anybody knows any other local authority trying this on?