Friday, 26 April 2013
What is wrong with people???
Today’s post will not be the carefully reasoned and meticulously researched observations on British home education that readers are used to finding on this blog. Instead, it is little more than a mad rant. This is such an unusual occurrence that I feel it necessary to apologise in advance.
On one of the main home education lists, a new member has posted, seeking advice. He is separated from his partner and their child lives with him and is educated at home. The kid’s mother has contacted the local authority and expressed fears about the child’s health and the educational provision being made. Somebody from the local EHE department came round to visit, but was denied sight of the child, because he or she did not wish to see the local authority officer. Now, the superior of the person who visited has insisted on physically seeing the child.
Now to my mind, this is a complete mare’s nest anyway. If the child is fit and healthy, then all the father needed to do was to say to his son or daughter, “Look, I know this is a damned nuisance, but these idiots will not leave us alone until they have checked that I am not beating or starving you. Let’s just humour them and then they will go away.” I speak here as a man who did not notify the local authority of his provision and felt it easier for all concerned just to let them poke their head around the door when we bumped into a truancy patrol. I said something to my eight year old daughter very much along the lines which I suggest above and it worked a treat. It is not a question of rights; it is dealing with an irritating problem in the most straightforward way that one can manage.
What advice did he actually receive? Well, that welfare is not any concern of the team who supervise or inspect elective home education. That in any case, the local authority have no legal right to insist upon seeing the child. That he should write a snotty letter to the local authority and try and put their backs up by quoting the law to them. These are all such appalling ideas that you cannot help wondering if the men who gave them are trying to cause problems for this fellow out of sheer mischief! Here is a child about whom concerns have been raised. Of course it is not the proper business of an EHE advisor to act on welfare or safeguarding concerns; that goes without saying. Ask yourself this though. If the father sticks to his guns and refuses to let them see his child, what do you think the next step will be; bearing in mind that quite apart from any genuine concern, the people dealing with EHE will wish to cover their backs? Yes, that’s right. They will pass the enquiry over to social services. Here is another question. Which would you prefer; to deal informally and on a purely voluntary basis with your local EHE department or to have social services open a file on your child and start sniffing around your house? Anybody prefer the second of these two options?
I cannot believe that anybody could give this poor fellow such awful advice and wait with a sense of horrible anticipation for his next post, which will be along the lines of, “Social services are investigating my family; how can I get them to back off?”