Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Local authorities and their attitude to home educators; or, why Desforges was right



One of the difficulties sometimes faced by local authorities is what to do when some parent whom they suspect of being incapable of providing a decent education to her child, announces that she is withdrawing him from school. Should they just leave her to get on with it? Warn her that it might prove harder than she thinks? Offer her help and support? Most local authorities adopt all three of these strategies, but ultimately it is the parent’s choice; it is after all, the parent who remains responsible for her child’s education and not the local authority. This does not mean that the teachers at the school and others in the education department might not be profoundly uneasy about the course of events; more that there is little that they can do about it.

Here is a simple fact; one which is well known to schools. When a child without special educational needs fails to thrive academically at school and take advantage of the education on offer, this usually has more to do with her parents and home circumstances than it does with the school. All the available research suggests strongly that parental influence is the single greatest factor which affects how well children will do at school.  Indeed, many home educators know this perfectly well. We recently saw a home educating parent come on here and ask why I was not addressing the implications of the report,  The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment: A Literature Review by Charles Desforge and Alberto Abouchaar. I am now doing so.

It has long been known that  academically high achieving pupils tend to have parents who support them in their learning. This is far more important than parental income or education. There is an uncomfortable corollary to this and that is that those children who fall behind academically are often being failed by their parents, rather than the school. Interestingly, many of the tens of thousands of children who are being home educated in this country were taken out of school by their parents for this very reason; that they were not doing very well there from an educational point of view.    Here is the problem. Many of these children were doing poorly at school because of their parents’ attitude to education and learning. Once they are out of school, they  often lose any other influence upon their education. This means that they can slip behind drastically, very quickly. Teachers are appalled about this, as are many local authority officers.  Not all children being deregistered from school to be educated at home are in this category of course; but it is a recognised phenomenon.  The outlook for such children is not good.

This tendency for parents whose children are not doing well at school to withdraw them and  keep them at home has only in the last decade or two reached the tens of thousands. These numbers are still, as readers have pointed out here many times, low; at least compared with the numbers of children at school. It is of course their parents’ responsibility and if the children reach the age of sixteen or seventeen without any qualifications; that too is a matter of parental choice.  Perhaps before making such a serious decision, it might be helpful for such parents to ask themselves why their child is not doing well at school. If those who do do well are associated with parents who support them in their learning, could it be that those whose children struggle might do better to look at their own attitudes to education, rather than simply blaming the school and deregistering the child? There are signs that the outlook for a lot of these children is bleak. Many Further Education Colleges are reporting attempts by parents whose children have been taken out of school to enrol them for A levels and so on. Since very few of these children have any GCSEs, this is seldom possible. It would be interesting to see what the long-term prospects are for these kids.

78 comments:

  1. So let us be clear, according to you these children are not doing well at school because their parent's do not value and support education, yet these same parent's care so much about their children falling behind at school that they remove them from school to home educate? Sounds contradictory to me. Aren't they showing the amount they value and support education by withdrawing them from a place where education is not going well? Unless you believe that any school can provide an excellent education if only the parents support their children.

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    1. 'according to you these children are not doing well at school because their parent's do not value and support education, '

      No, it's not really according to me! You might read Desforges' review of the literature on this subject.

      ' these same parent's care so much about their children falling behind at school that they remove them from school to home educate? Sounds contradictory to me. Aren't they showing the amount they value and support education by withdrawing them from a place where education is not going well?'

      Not really. In many cases, these parents have had all sorts of rows with the schools over lateness, absences, their children's poor behaviour at school, homework not being done, that their child has been placed in remedial group and so on. This leads to conflict with the school, which is resolved by the parent losing her temper and taking the child from school completely. I wouldn't have said that education is a major factor in a lot of these decisions.

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    2. worn our Webb says-This leads to conflict with the school, which is resolved by the parent losing her temper and taking the child from school completely.

      It never the schools fault? its always the parents fault? LA never wrong to Webb?

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    3. Those who accuse me of using various sock puppets on here really ought to take a closer look at Mr Williams, who comments above. So promptly does he pop up to illustrate my various points, that even I am beginning to grow suspicious. Certainly, as he himself hints, if you want to look at an example of the parent who deregisters a pupil following a foolish row with the child's school; you could not do better than look at Mr Williams.

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    4. Peter you forgot to ask if his daughter is still a card carrying member of the labour party and who funds la's.

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    5. foolish row don't think so and of course the school and LA can never be wrong in Webb world?

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    6. Cat i thought it 6 visit you had to make to the hospital with your kids not 3!

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    7. No its way more than that. Having lots of active kids who play contact sports leads to lots of injuries. Perhaps I should have locked them in a room with a chess computer like you did with little Pete then they would be safe.

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    8. way more than 6 did SS get involved to?
      you have a job to lock Peter in any room he just break it down that one of the blunders sheep thought with Peter that he never went out but he did go out lots when he could have been practicing chess or maths or his English he preferred to be with is mates or his girlfriend Peter got his OWN mind and no one once he made it up over something nothing will change his view on a subject your welcome to try Peter does not believe in religion and his an ashiest have a go at geting him to believe in god he tie you up in knots with his views on the subject this may sum his view up Our mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering.

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    9. No social services involvement. As I said if you give your real details you have nothing to worry about. Hmmm peter is destructive and stubborn? Thankfully none of my children have either of those traits.

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    10. you sure no social service involvement? no sly emails between staff about the many visits you made to the hospital?
      Destructive what are you on about? not so sure he stubborn but once he made his made up his mind he believes he is right like most people do? he is often right as he very bright IQ 170 and studying A level Maths further maths physic and computer science and the teachers at his college are very pleased with his progress he hoping to get to study a maths degree at unv not bad for a lad who people have said he never get any where

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    11. Yes im sure.... little Pete having such a closed mind to  new ideas won't get him very far in science or maths

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    12. seems to be doing very well so far at college with the science passing the various mock tests with 95% you don't wanna listen to old Webb ideas about us Webb has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to Peter don't fall into the trap that all Peter ever did was play chess far from it if only he would have he be an even better chess player. during his home education we went out loads to various places science/history museum zoos all sorts and the sea side lots i also read a lot to him and brought him lots of books and he did a little travel aboard with the chess playing for England he also rather likes x box games which Webb does not like but Peter loves them and is rather good at them he make a great drone pilot one of the best skills Peter got is you can drop him any way with any one and he can talk to them on their level he going to be doing some volunteering may be with older people showing them how to use a computer
      Webb ideas about home education and LA's are wrong he really should get in his armchair and put his slippers on and smoke that pipe

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    13. Yes but you ignore the point. Lots of people can score high in exams but taking what you know and advancing scientific or mathematical theories is different. Something you cant do if your mind is made up and you're unwilling to change it.

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    14. i don't think lots of people score high in A level further maths or physic or computer science

      It time for worn our Webb and his supporters to put their slippers on get in that armchair

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    15. Even if little pete gets all A* in his exams he won't get anywhere if he thinks only his opinions are valid.

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    16. Real party pooper eh, put the children down, you know nothing about him, let him be!

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    17. I'm simply commenting on what big pete said. He's happy to accuse me of harming my kids and he knows nothing of them.

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    18. Well the kids should be left out of it so not good to just retaliate. They are not always here whatever claims are made.

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    19. Peter take the A* and stick to his views next stop is unv to study for a maths degree with hi further maths teacher said he have no problem doing it as Peter a very talented young man she told me this yesterday at parents evening

      You got stop listening to worn out old Webb his views are out of date and belong in the past wanting to monitor children all the time is just not healthy.

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  2. Glad too see blog back on track with subject in hand and an inappropriate conversation deleted, still think an apology wouldnt go amiss though and a couple of other blogs could be deleted too. Hx

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    1. 'still think an apology wouldnt go amiss though '

      To whom do you suppose that I owe an apology?

      'a couple of other blogs could be deleted too. '

      I couldn't agree more! Perhaps we could have a chat here about which blogs we would like to see deleted? I will suggest that Sometimes it's Peaceful would be a good beginning...

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  3. Hi I have no idea what that blog is and if its more of what went on last night I dont really want to, just think that people were hurt last night with what was said, and I think you feel attacked as well, it was just taken too far. Im just an interested observer, I honestly think you owe an apology to Peter, Lisa definitely as you particuarly aggresive and scathing towards them and brought up unrelated issues that caused hurt , even when you were politely asked to desist. Im sure there is much more to this and a lot is historical, tit for tat between you and some other HE's !! but I think you are in danger of forgetting that even though you may not agree with them, they are people with families and feelings (as you are) . It was mentioned that your daughter was a nice kid, and Im sure you are a decent person, but think how it reflects on you attacking people like that on your own blog. If they do so elsewhere its up to them, but respond professionaly and with kindness as much as you can, I have found much of what you say on HE to be interesting as I have friends who HE and work with families who at times ask about it. I dont agree with everything, but when slurs become personal or put people down it loses credibility and you did come across as a bully last night, I dont think you are I just think you got sucked in and an apology for causing hurt/distress does not undermine you or change your opinions it just shows you are a decent human being with a conscience Hx

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    1. 'I honestly think you owe an apology to Peter, Lisa definitely'

      The difficulty here is that Peter Flynn involved himself in a dispute which had nothing at all to do with him. He has complained to Blogspot about this blog and told people publicly that I have broken the law both in this country and the United States. I can't see that I owe him an apology. Lisa Amphlett first said unpleasant things about me publicly, over four years ago. I have not mentioned her here until a few weeks back. She has published on her personal emails that I sent her. Again, if there are apologies needed, I do not think that it is I who need to be apologising to her!

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    2. The issues you have with them could have been addressed reasonably and politely with respect, not in the aggresive/aggrieved personally insulting manner you adopted. In the end behaving in that way was far worse that the wrongs they may have done you which seem to have been done in good faith if misguided, There is no point in going over the ins and outs again as this is not what this blog should be about.It seems that you manage to upset a lot of people however you cant be responsible for other peoples actions only your own, whether or not you feel you have acted and behaved decently and honourably. In my own opinion you have let only yourself down, you should set your own standards and not let them be influenced by how others may behave. generally you get back what you give out. An honest genuine apology may just produce the same response, and if it doesnt that desnt matter because you have set your own standard and can stand happy in your conscience. I dont think I can really usefully contribute anything else, have a daughter off school today after a fall from a horse. I wish you all well that have been involved in these conversations, it certainly sheds another light on HE community, Hx (one of those awful LA type people ) (Hace to end on a lighter note !!!)

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    3. Didn't get a chance to reply yesterday and now can't find the post regarding Peter Flynn. Why has it been taken down?

      I don't think Simon has anything to apologise for. I think others owe him an apology.

      What happened in this case is that people thought they had one on him. They thought he had named a child on his blog and then it would be have been the green light for many to do what they have been trying to for years. Peter Flynn quickly made serious allegations about Simon which were unfounded. He has had to retract these and now is playing the victim. I believe if there was even half an ounce of truth, there would be no back tracking and no 'poor me', it would have been a full on continued attack with every other one of Simon's adversaries jumping on the band wagon, or at very least partying in the background.

      But no it wasn't true! You see most of what Simon says is quite factual and that is why no one has yet been able to do what they desire. You can't have peoples blogs closed and you can't have people arrested for not naming a child publicly and neither can you have his blog closed down or him arrested for writing about people in an unfavorable way - when it is true.

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    4. Have you not got a trampoline to bounce on or something?

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    5. Oh sorry, I forgot only people who agree with you are allowed to post on here.

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    6. No, you are allowed to post on here just like anyone else is. You are perpetuating the myth that you are not allowed to post because the nasty home edders will not let you. Very similar to the other nonsense that is being uttered as fact, which states that if you are online you cannot be educating your children. Keep the myths coming. I have almost called HOUSE too. In the meantime try to get your facts straight.

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    7. Well if that is what I am saying, didn't you just prove the point? I wrote my opinion and a nasty comment was made. Thinner skinned individuals would have been frightened off.

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    8. You wrote a comment which made some dubious accusations. I guess in your world, you can write bollocks and everyone else should just agree.

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    9. ...and what were these dubious accusations?

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    10. refer to the post that Simon deleted. Oops you cannot because he deleted it.

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    11. I deleted the post because Peter Flynn appeared to be becoming upset. However, I am happy to give the gist of what this post contained. It was that Flynn had reported me to Blogspot for Harassment and thought that I had committed criminal offences both in this country and the USA. His grounds for this belief could only have originated with something said by Lisa Amphlett. Are these what you call dubious accusations? I doubt that peter Flynn will thank you for raising this matter again, but for my own part; I am more than happy to discuss it.

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    12. LOL you really are precious. I have the whole thing copied. Am happy to paste it all here.

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    13. As I say, I deleted it because in the first place, it had little to do with home education and secondly because I got the impression that Peter Flynn was getting upset. If you wish to put it here in the comments again and explain which parts of it you believe to be 'dubious accusations', then please do so!

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    14. Mr Flynn was very unhappy at what was being said about his personal life and quite rightly so, its good that it is now deleted a proper apology would have been better though, as said the issues you had with his mistakes could have been handled politely Hx

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    15. I do not believe Peter Flynn gave an apology to Simon for wrongly accusing him in the first place.

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  4. "I dont agree with everything, but when slurs become personal or put people down it loses credibility and you did come across as a bully last night, I dont think you are I just think you got sucked in and an apology for causing hurt/distress does not undermine you or change your opinions it just shows you are a decent human being with a conscience" ...someone clearly not familiar with Mr.Webb. Bless!

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    1. 'shows you are a decent human being with a conscience" ...someone clearly not familiar with Mr.Webb. Bless!'

      Explains the person who, quite out of the blue, blogged publicly about me earlier this year, saying that I am an;

      'extraordinarily unpleasant individual may be suffering from some kind of personality disorder & one might be forgiven for thinking that a person such as this one has unresolved mother issues, '

      I am sure that I'm as eager as anybody else to hear you tell us about how decent human beings carry on about other people!

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  5. " am sure that I'm as eager as anybody else to hear you..." I suspect you are much more excited than anybody else to hear from me... But, do you think you'd be able to hear anything over the sound of your own frantic fapping?

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    1. 'I suspect you are much more excited than anybody else to hear from me... But, do you think you'd be able to hear anything over the sound of your own frantic fapping?'

      Why on Earth this woman thinks that I am likely to be masturbating with excitement at having contact with her is something of a mystery! However, this is not the first time that she has used sexual imagery when writing about me. For example, she thinks that I might be:

      ' a bit of a nobber.'

      She also believes that I am;

      'crying out for "touchy-feely" attention'

      All this is most alarming and we will have to hope that Ms X is able to bring her impulses under control! By the way, readers will have noticed that an anonymous person commenting here has suggested that I am posing as different people when commenting on my own blog. This is interesting, because the person who wants me to masturbate in excitement at hearing from her, also wrote that I am one of those people who:

      'cannot abide other human beings & do not get on particularly well with anybody other than their own invented, multiple internet personalities.'

      Since we know that she comes on here and comments anonymously, I wonder of this might not be a case of somebody revealing rather more than she might wish about her own personality.

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    2. Does that mean fapping means masturbating then. New one on me.
      There are some home educators who post on here and other places who appear to have lost the plot.
      Should they really be posted in this vein while calling into disrepute someone else's views, idea and thoughts on the issue.
      They appear to just shoot out words with no regard for their meaning or concern for their results.
      I don't agree with all that Simon says on this blog but he is often thought provoking and I find myself agreeing with much he says.
      jane

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  6. Hi no Im not familiar with Simon personally, or you, although I believe I may have seen some references to part of your story on here. I hope life is better for you now, but really people, you need to all stop all the spating, and personal insults, You all want to home educate and all want the best for your children so start from there maybe at some point you need to let go of what has been said in the past and start a new page. There may be changes coming to HE that may not be so great, surely you are better to be united Hx

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  7. "extraordinarily unpleasant individual may be suffering from some kind of personality disorder & one might be forgiven for thinking that a person such as this one has unresolved mother issues"... Really? Aww shame!

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  8. H what you need to understand is that Simon has different views than many home educators and so people on here will never agree with him or be polite about him. They appear to be fearful of his views.

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    1. Hi Cat, yes I got that bit, but as Ive just said to Simon, one can only be responsible for ones own behaviour, if you want to be credible you should set your own standards in how you are going to treat people and talk to them. I disagree with lots of people, but thats ok, wouldnt life be boring f we were all the same. Maybe some people are fearful of what he says, being aggresive wont help allay those fears. If you have to resort to personal attacks you have already lost the argument, I think some of what is said on this blog is very valid, but as in many things, its not always what you say but how you say it. (btw are you the real cat or the fake ?? Tee Hee )

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    2. We not fearful of old worn out Webb views he like crazy old Badman he time gone and should really get out the slippers and pipe and put his feet up.

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  9. I am a little uncomfortable with this idea that it is 'always' the parent's fault because sometimes in a family you have one child who just is more 'difficult'. Less motivated, more capable of finding trouble where you wouldn't have thought any could. They've got the same DNA and were parented in the same way but they just are like that. Often they grow up into great people but the process is 'interesting' to put it mildly for all around them.

    I've also seen situations where it's a simple mismatch between that child and that school's ethos, and where a lot of trouble could have been avoided if the parent had been helped to find another school placement on a 'no blame' basis. Instead, all schools have to act as if they can meet all children's needs when the truth is that they can't and some don't want to. And because of the way the system runs you can't sort out a small problem with a quick intensive catch up course because the child isn't behind 'enough'.

    As I've said before, I've found myself helping a group of lads with their English and all of them would happily admit that they fall into your category of unengaged troublemakers, but the more I hear about their school experiences, the more angry I get at the system that doesn't make sure the basics are right before they go on, so they slide further and further behind and 'prove their superiority' by doing the one thing they are good at and causing havoc. Then they vote with their feet and truant and, as one who's a good foot taller than me pointed out 'My Mum couldn't make me go to school. She's smaller than you.'

    If it had been picked up that they were struggling with reading and writing and arithmetic and that had been worked on even if it meant holding them back a year they wouldn't now be at college doing retakes, which is, of course, effectively holding them back a year! And if the resources used actually interested boys rather than being all fluffy and rainbow infested they'd have been better too. Not saying there isn't a place for fluffy and rainbows but not all boys have a feminine side. Some need to test the limits and the school system doesn't have clear limits for them so they go further and further out of control.


    Anne

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  10. Is it possible, Simon, (and I mean this in the most respectful way) that you are suffering from some undiagnosed mental health condition or some syndrome or have suffered some terrible childhood trauma that causes you to hurt others so much? You must be hurting terribly inside. The whole tone of this blog is about hurting. Hurting as many people as possible. It is not a nice or friendly respectful place. Please get some professional help lest you break down completely. There is already so much pain in this world and there's no need to live like this.

    I don't know you and can't claim to have read any more than a fraction of your posts, but they are very worrying. I worry for you. Please search your heart and think about doing unto other ONLY what you would like them to do to you. Anger, bitterness and hatred just do not improve life.

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    1. 'that you are suffering from some undiagnosed mental health condition or some syndrome or have suffered some terrible childhood trauma that causes you to hurt others so much?'

      Classic example of the logical fallacy of 'Begging the Question'. Note that it is a given that I am actually hurting others. This sort of thing is rather like asking, 'Have you stopped beating your wife?'

      Of course we might all of us be suffering from undiagnosed mental health conditions, so I am forced to concede that this might be so. I can be more confident about the terrible childhood trauma, though!

      'The whole tone of this blog is about hurting. Hurting as many people as possible'

      Is it? I thought that it was more concerned with education.

      'Please search your heart and think about doing unto other ONLY what you would like them to do to you. Anger, bitterness and hatred just do not improve life'

      This identifies the writer fairly conclusively. There was a debate recently about psychopathy and this is practically a word for word quotation of something that was said there.

      Incidentally, this now gives us a complete set of the tactics used by those home educators who disagree with what I have to say. We have moved from attempts to close down this blog, threats of legal action, mention of the police and end now with a long-distance diagnosis that suggests that i must be mentally ill to hold the views which I do about home education! Than you Anonymous, for enabling me to tick off all the numbers on my card and shout, 'House!'

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    2. Ha !!! nothing wrong with being mentally ill, many of the most fabulous people have some sort of mental diagnosis, from autism to bi-polar to ADHD no stigma there. I dont think the above comments were about your views, just about the way you go about expressing them. My God you guys are hard work to get through to, express your views on HE welcome the diversity of them, debate them to death, but dont be personal or vindictive and forgive and forget !! , you would all do so much better, am really off now to play monopoly Happy slanging Hx

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    3. Nope, I have not been engaging with psychopathy convos. Sorry, wrong person.

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    4. So if quoting someone means you are them can I quote a politician and get a second home, porn on expenses and an obscene pay rise?

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    5. Wasn't anon suggesting mental illness as a possible explanation for the vicious way you attack people? Your views on education weren't even mentioned. Neat attempt at twisting it but not neat enough.

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    6. Hi yes that was my interpretation of why mental illness was mentioned, personally don't thin its that at all, just think that Simon feels that everyone has it in for him and so uses being nasty as a defence mechanism. 'Do unto them first' etc . but a shame none the less as not a nice way to feel. Hx

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  11. "...respond professionaly and with kindness as much as you can, I have found much of what you say on HE to be interesting as I have friends who HE and work with families who at times ask about it."... Do you believe that Simon is a professional of some sort H? You really ought to look back over this blog again to correct that... Thank you for linking to 'Sometimes it's Peaceful' tho Simon. It looks like a very well thought out & factual resource. Hopefully the misguided & naive among your followers will take a look there & direct their friends & officials to do so.

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    1. Hi no my understanding is that Simon is another HE parent who has now completed educating his daughter, the Professional bit was not about being 'paid' or doing this as a profession is was more around standards and conduct of behaviour. If this blog is really about HE then it should be focused on that and not on attacking people personally (and mean that to both sides) give each other a break maybe Hx

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  12. btw thought both Sometimes its peaceful and The exiled educators pages look great, when they were talking about their passion for HE and not other blogers Hx

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    1. 'btw thought both Sometimes its peaceful and The exiled educators pages look great, when they were talking about their passion for HE and not other blogers Hx'

      Are you sure that you have looked properly, Hx? Here is the link to the Exiled Educator:

      http://the-exiled-educator.blogspot.co.uk/

      Far from talking about her passion for home education; the subject of education hardly gets a look in! It is all about her quarrels with other people. You say that she was not talking about other bloggers, but the first post I see is devoted to precisely. It is an attack on me.

      Here is the link for Sometimes it's Peaceful;

      http://sometimesitspeaceful.blogspot.co.uk/

      Again, there seems to be very little about education as such. The whole thing is taken up with politics.

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    2. " the whole thing is taken up with politics"

      Isn't that what your daughter is studying at uni Simon?

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    3. Hi Simon I did make a mistake on exiled educators blog and clicked on one of the ones she is following instead. However have now read her blog which is very political and personal about people at times. I have no object to the politics and think the personal attacks are regrettable, but you are all really as bad as each other in that. Think it a crying shame though that she seems to have had such a horrible time at school suffering from bullying teachers, as that is awful and destroys children's confidence, I had to move one of my children from a school for the same issue. Maybe you should have an open debate about bullying as its definitely alive and well in blogland, Hx

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  13. I do hope you are not suggesting my blog should be deleted H?

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    1. Oh no, I'm being cyber-stalked! As Peter Flynn would say; you have been reported to Blogpot for Harassment. If only these people spent a fraction of the time and energy they expend on jokes like this, actually educating their children...

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    2. Slimon Webblob !! that is a humourous pseudonym, but I would suggest you search your own conscience and decide for yourself if you have acted with honour and integrity or maybe been a bit mean and personal. Set your own standards but just don't let them be the lowest possible Hx

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    3. Stand by, H. You will now be accused of being a minion/sock puppet/completely unethical/brainless stooge.
      That's how they roll round here.

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    4. Ahhh don't worry sticks and stones and all that !!! generally find some people like to accuse others of being the very things they actually are Hx

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  14. "we will have to hope that Ms X is able to bring her impulses under control!"... Sorry Simon I don't think I can. You're just so irresistable... I think maybe I may be a little bit smitten with you... Love your new blog btw. xx

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  15. The exiled educator. . A comedy genius in our midst

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    1. 'The exiled educator. . A comedy genius in our midst'

      Whether this was being said ironically or not; it is impossible to say.

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    2. It was ironic. Its a pile of gibberish rubbish

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    3. 'It was ironic. Its a pile of gibberish rubbish'

      What a mercy! I was on the verge of becoming seriously worried!

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  16. Simon wrote,
    " I wouldn't have said that education is a major factor in a lot of these decisions."

    and Simon wrote,
    "many of the tens of thousands of children who are being home educated in this country were taken out of school by their parents for this very reason; that they were not doing very well there from an educational point of view."

    Which view do you stand by? Either they were taken out of school because they were not doing well from an educational point of view, or education was not a major factor in the parent's decision to take them out. It can't be both.

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    1. 'Which view do you stand by? Either they were taken out of school because they were not doing well from an educational point of view, or education was not a major factor in the parent's decision to take them out. It can't be both.'

      Whyever can't it be both? Many do take their children out of school for purely educational reasons and a lot of others don't.

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    2. Of course it can be both. I think your vague descriptions of 'many' and 'a lot' aren't helping me understand your views. You say that, "many of the tens of thousands of children who are being home educated in this country were taken out of school by their parents [for educational reasons]", and that, "many of these children were doing poorly at school because of their parents’ attitude to education and learning", and, "I wouldn't have said that education is a major factor in a lot of these decisions".

      According to the dictionary 'many' means, 'a large number of', or 'the majority of people', so you appear to be saying that most or very large numbers of children were removed for educational reasons, but that education was not a major factor in many cases. Sounds like a contradiction to me. Presumably there is little overlap between these two groups, so roughly, how do they compare proportion wise in your view?

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    3. 'how do they compare proportion wise in your view?'

      An interesting question indeed. Every time any attempt is made to count home educated children or find out anything at all about them as a whole, there are furious protests for some parents. The most that we can say is that many are in this category and a lot in that. This is because we know that there at least twenty thousand home educated children in England and Wales. If a third of them were in one category, that would make around six or seven thousand; which is, 'a lot'. If a third were in another group, we could describe that as 'many of them'.

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    4. 'According to the dictionary 'many' means, 'a large number of', or 'the majority of people', so you appear to be saying that most '

      I do wish that people would pay more attention to what I actually say here! If one says, as I did, that, 'many of these children were doing poorly at school'; that does not at all mean that the majority of children were in that position. The word 'many' only means, 'the majority' when it is used as a noun, rather than an adjective. So, 'many people think this', does not suggest that it is the view held by most. If, on the other hand, I were to say, 'this is the view of the many', then that would mean that I thought it to be the majority view. So if I had said, 'the situation for the many, is that their children were doing poorly at school', then I would be claiming that this was most parents. I hope we are all able to see the difference? Nouns and adjectives, you see. It's worth studying grammar, if only to avoid getting into a muddle over the meaning of common words in this way.

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  17. "Here is a simple fact; one which is well known to schools..." and much like the "fact" that the age a child begins to read has no bearing on their later academic achievements is also one that is well known to schools. That fact also happens to provide schools with a perfect excuse to teach all children to read at the same time.

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