Sunday, 28 April 2013

Obsessions




I have been very anxious lately about the home education scene in Lancashire.  I am sure that the local authority there are not supervising and inspecting home educators in a way that I would approve of and so I have been studying their policies carefully. There is a lot that I don’t like about them and  I have now written a detailed letter to a parliamentary select committee, outlining my concerns and urging them to look into how Lancashire are organising their EHE department.

Well, actually of course; I have been doing nothing of the sort! After all, that would just be weird, wouldn’t it? I live hundreds of miles from Lancashire, I don’t home educate there; why on earth would I be fretting about how things are arranged in that county? It’s none of my business. I am pretty sure that if some readers of this blog discovered that I had been poking my nose into Lancashire’s EHE arrangements and trying to get them to run their affairs in a way that suited me, then it would be thought that I had way too much time on my hands and was turning into a frightful busybody. I am sure that we can agree on that. As for pestering a select committee about what I thought was wrong in Lancashire; that would just be absurd! I want readers to bear this in mind as I explain what has really been happening.

It has been suggested by those commenting on here, that I have an obsession with Alison Sauer; even, God save us, that I have some kind of crush on the woman! It is nothing of the sort, but rather that wherever I turn on the home education front; there is Alison Sauer, needlessly stirring up trouble. The latest example of my stumbling over her in an unexpected and unlooked for place, concerns the county in which I live, which is Essex.

I still have dealings with home educating parents in Essex, none of whom belong to any internet groups; largely because they have decided that such groups are full of troublesome maniacs. This is a view which I tend to share. I was looking for some support for one parent, when I chanced across this:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/559/559we16.htm


Have you ever seen the like? Here is a private citizen who lives hundreds of miles from my own county, writing to parliament to complain about what she sees as the shortcomings of my local authority when it comes to home education. Remember how we thought that this would be pretty mad if I were to be doing it about Lancashire? Recollect that we agreed that it would make me look like a terrible busybody with nothing better to do with his time? This is just precisely how I see the case here. The great irony is that home educating parents in Essex enjoy really good relations at the moment with the EHE department in Colchester. The LA officers there are friendly, helpful and offer all sorts of support if asked. I have never heard anybody complain about them. Alison says, with what justification I really do not know, ‘ Little wonder that many home educators choose not engage with the LA.’ I would be curious to know what grounds she has for thinking this.

I am sorry to mention Alison Sauer again on here, but even when I restrict my interest in home education to the county in which I actually live, two hundred miles from Alison Sauer; she pops up, causing mischief and spreading misleading information. Of course, I might be misjudging her. Perhaps she has some sort of genuine interest in home education in Essex and has heard of complaints about the staff who handle it in the county. If so, perhaps somebody could share this with us. Otherwise, I will be forced to think that this is no more than a random act of meddling and busybodying for its own sake!

14 comments:

  1. Just want to point out to readers who do not follow the link that this 'letter' isn't just about Essex. The report in question summarises a survey of all local authority web sites which includes a small section on Essex (along with others). I'm sure it wasn't intentional but Simon's article led me to believe that it just focused on Essex.

    The survey formed part of the evidence provided to the select committee for their enquiry into support for home education, launched on 28 May 2012. They invited submissions of written evidence addressing this issue, and Alison's report was one of several pieces of they received. The also received evidence from various HE groups including EO, various individuals, and local authority departments. The full report and a link to the list of submissions is available here, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/559/55902.htm.

    BTW, just for the record, I in no way support or encourage Alison in her actions with regard to HE, but feel that this article presents rather a biased view of Alison's report considering the information that has been left out. A link to the report is provided but it's not obvious why the report was submitted from the link (I followed the breadcrumb trail back a link and used the 'prepared' date at the end of Alison's report to locate the relevant committee report). To be fair to Simon, maybe he didn't know that the select committee had requested submissions and honestly believes that Alison just wrote out of the blue as his article suggests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be perfectly honest if someone who is choosing to comment on this does not follow the link then gets worked up because they 'think' it might just be about Essex then their comment is invalid! It would be utterly ridiculous for Simon to summarise the whole thing AND give the link so that people could easily click on it and see it for themselves.

      Delete
    2. "To be perfectly honest if someone who is choosing to comment on this does not follow the link then gets worked up because they 'think' it might just be about Essex then their comment is invalid!"

      Possibly so, but it's much less clear from the link that the report was offered, along with many others, in response to a request from the committee. Simon makes no mention of this and there is no link from the page to the committee's report.

      It's likely that Simon found Alison's report by searching for something like, 'Essex Home Education', since this report appears on the first page of Google for such a search. There's no indication that Simon discovered that it was given in response to the committee's request - quite the reverse if anything, the implication being that Alison just took it into her head to write to the committee for no apparent reason, and the link does not counter this mistaken impression. I may well have misinterpreted Simon's post in this regard, but I suspect that others may make the same mistake and may find it helpful to know that the public were specifically asked to provide this type of information.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  2. 'To be fair to Simon, maybe he didn't know that the select committee had requested submissions and honestly believes that Alison just wrote out of the blue as his article suggests.'

    Of course I knew that this was a submission to the select committee last year. I assumed that readers would probably follow the link. In any case, this is nothing to the purpose. As I said above, Alison Sauer has taken it into her head to write to parliament about the local authority area in which I live, hundreds of miles from her, claiming that here is something wrong in the way that they conduct their business. This is busybodying; just as it would be if I were to write to a select committee and complain that I did not like some aspect of Lancashire's administration.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just to make things a little clearer, I have now been looking at Lancashire's home education guidelines and find many things of which I do not approve. They may be found here;

    http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/atoz/a_to_z/service.asp?u_id=388&tab=3&siteid=119&pageid=252&e=e#anchor1025

    For example, I note that they only ask initially for a few sentences about the nature of the education being provided. This is ridiculously inadequate! However, we have to bear in mind that it really is none of my business. if I were to start lobbying parliament now for Lancashire to impose stricter controls on home educating parents and to change their policies to suit my own inclinations, then I am sure that many people would ask what on earth was wrong with me! I feel the same way when I see somebody who lives hundreds of miles from Essex, meddling in this way.

    The main point that I made was that however much I try to give a wide berth to Alison Sauer, she has an alarming tendency to loom up in my field of vision; even when I am just looking at support for a home educator in my local area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lancashire's current policy was nowt to do with Alison.

      Delete
  4. Frankly I hope that nothing is changed re. the Essex local authority and home education as a result of this 'evidence'. As a home educating parent in Essex who does have dealings with the LA it would be awful if things changed. They are exactly as Simon describes. If things do change because someone thinks that what Ms Sauer has submitted is problematic and the local authority are encouraged to adjust their policies then there would be some very unhappy people in Essex.
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So their service could not be improved in any way, in your view. That's good to hear.

      Delete
    2. Not really. They are not intrusive, they are friendly and helpful when asked for advice. They are not dismissive of different ways of home educating. They'd be a good example to some other LA's.

      Delete
  5. What might be good for some families might not be good for others. Iv seen different views of the same LA's in home ed groups. Maybe some families aren't happy hence why Alison gets involved. If your going to keep advertising what she does people are bound to go searching for her for help. If Alison & the others are doing a lot in the home ed community then of course your going to keep coming across them. It's good you have tried to help a local family i was starting to wonder if you ever help anyone or just bad mouth those who do help others

    ReplyDelete
  6. Alison loves to dress up. She has masqueraded as an expert on home education, training LAs and then writing that damning briefing pack during Badman.

    She has also masqueraded as an expert on helping families deal with the SS (HE Angels).

    She has been trying to pass herself off as an expert on Autism for years and diagnoses children and adults. She even labels them as 'Aspergic'

    Now her angle is a connection between Autism and Flexischooling and how people with Autism can benefit from a flexischooling arrangement.

    I agree with you Simon, as much as one tries their hardest to avoid Sour Cream she always manages to pop up in unexpected places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it really that 'unexpected' when you know that she is a high profile home educator?

      Delete
  7. I've heard through the grapevine that Alison did not take part in the work with Lancashire to revise their policies. It was all done by other local home educators.

    ReplyDelete