Sunday, 24 July 2016

Maintaining the illusion of widespread opposition to the registration of home educated children

I wrote a couple of days ago of the way in which a small group of militants try to give the impression that they are speaking on behalf of the majority of home educating parents and promote the idea that most of these parents are fiercely opposed to the registration of home educated children or any monitoring of them. Only yesterday, a fine example of this racket turned up in a provincial newspaper. Here is a piece from the  Bradford Telegraph & Argus; which only appeared online yesterday;

Within hours, two of the people whom I had mentioned in my recent post here had commented on this article. They may be seen in the comments as 770177wendy and llondel. They are of course Wendy Charles-Warner and Dave Hough and they are the owners of the Facebook group Home Education and Your Local Authority: Help Dealing with Officaldom. A number of points spring immediately to mind. The first is that one of these people lives in North Wales and the other in California. Why on earth are they commenting about home education in Yorkshire? We also observe that neither of these people  are even home educating their children in the United Kingdom; this being so, it is hard to see in what way they might be representing the interests of home educating parents in this country. There is also the fact that both have a variety of identities under which they comment. Why should Dave Hough be so averse to using his own name? Wendy Charles-Warner also posts under various identities. This is done so that the same names do not appear to be cropping up again and again. A final point is the sheer dishonesty of the things which are said in the comments there! Here is Dave Hough yesterday;

parents who have the option of remaining unknown to their local authority invariably choose to remain so and not make contact.

In the first place; how could he possibly know this? Secondly, let us remind ourselves of the advice which he dished out on the 'Officialdom' group, a little while ago, to a home educating parent who was moving house;

 post a letter with a second-class stamp on your last day there informing them that as of that date you're no longer in their area but that you will still be home educating. Don't give them your new address or area, and make sure the new occupants of the house and any neighbours also know not to tell them where you've gone if they know.

One of the reasons that home educating parents do not have contact with their  local authorties is because they are denounced and ostracised for doing so on many of the online support groups for home educators. They are called traitors and Quislings; those who do allow visits from the local authority  often do so secretly, for fear of the reaction from people like Dave Hough! The chief reason that people remain, or pretend to remain, unknown to their local authorities is because many of them rely upon support from Facebook groups containing other parents whose children are not at school. It is the reaction of some of the more vociferous of these parents which they fear, rather than the local authority itself.

Turning now to the comment posted by Wendy Charles-Warner, we see  she claims that;

 Freedom of information requests to Bradford Local Authority confirm that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that a single home educated child in the region has been 'radicalised'.

Seriously? How would you find that out from a Freedom of Information Request?

The two people mentioned here today are of course not the only people patrolling the internet to find articles about home education on which to comment; although they are certainly among the most industrious. The fact is that about two dozen people, at least half of whom either live abroad or are not home educating their children in this country, are responsible for over 90% of the comments one sees about the dangers of registration and monitoring. They are part of a very small sub-set in the home educating community who are desperately anxious that local authorities and the general public should see them as being the  dominant trend in British home education.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, no one else seems to want to join in this so here I am again. First of all, certainly down here increasing numbers are already known to the LA. This is partly because families gain something from coming forward (ie exam funding) but mostly as an increasing % have come out of schools and so the LA was notified when they left. The Bradford article is I think linked to the same "campaign" ( if there is one) as this in Portsmouth.

    to which I replied (as myself you will be pleased to note). Registration is not what the LAs want - they want monitoring ( except here is Hants where we seem to have reached a happy and workable compromise.

    Most of the parents I meet on a daily basis are already fairly unhappy with how their children's education has turned out - some have been attending schools where they have been taught by a variety of supply teachers, some are at schools in special measures,., some are from schools where there have been teacher "sex scandals". Some (primary children) are home educated as there are no schools with places that are commutable on public transport. In some cases it is easy to blame the schools, in other cases it is the complexities of modern life (especially low level bullying on social media) that is to blame. Whatever the back ground home education offers a safe and effective alternative to main stream school - why did you home educate your daughter unless you felt you could do better? Most of the home educators I meet feel the same.
    Yes there are a few "not very educated" young people out there - mostly I suspect off rolled by schools or pressurised because of truancy fines, but even when they were in school they were still the "not very educated" - is this really so bad it is worth putting the thousands of hardworking home educating families through a load of tedious hoops.
    Finally the awful tragedies- and yes there are some; but in every case ( even the laest one) there seems t have been opportunities to have saved them which social services somehow missed. Has there ever been a case of an HE child where there was no referral to ss? I am not anti schools or social services (I have worked for both) but I do know that in the most local HE SCR to me (not in HCC and no one died)... the social workers didn't see the children as they were too scared of the dogs.....