Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DCSF Review - what the LA offers Home Ed (Rec. 9, 10 & 11)

Recommendation 9
Comes after 5.6
That all local authority officers and others engaged in the monitoring and support of elective home education must be suitably trained. This training must include awareness of safeguarding issues and a full understanding of the essential difference, variation and diversity in home education practice, as compared to schools. Wherever possible and appropriate, representatives of the home educating community should be involved in the development and/or provision of such training. It is recommended that all officers be trained in the use of the Common Assessment Framework.
The Common Assessment Framework appears to be a fairly recent thing, too, but for all I know it's very good. At least they want people trained - at the moment the people interacting with home educators on behalf of the local authority might be experts or complete novices, almost at random, it seems.

I like the sound of "a full understanding of the essential difference, variation and diversity in home education practice, as compared to schools" except that a lot of the base assumptions evident throughout the document make it clear that autonomous education is not considered at all. I wouldn't be in the least surprised if academic achievement was the main consideration, in fact.

Recommendation 10
This comes after 5.7, which says, among other things, "it seems to me perverse to articulate concern about thousands of young people yet cut them off from services that would be rightfully theirs if they attended school."
That all local authorities should offer a menu of support to home educating families in accord with the requirements placed upon them by the power of wellbeing, extended schools and community engagement and other legislation. To that end local authorities must provide support for home educating children and young people to find appropriate examination centres and provide entries free to all home educated candidates who have demonstrated sufficiently their preparedness through routine monitoring, for aII DCSF funded qualifications.
That all sounds fine - provide and access and menu are not the same as enforce and uptake and instructions.

(I kind of wish they'd used lower case l for the word "all" instead of aII, unless aII is some educational jargon with which neither I nor Google are familiar - am I being ignorant or pedantic here?)

Recommendation 11
This comes immediately after Recommendation 10 in section 5.
That in addition to Recommendation 10 above, local authorities should, in collaboration with schools and colleges:
  • Extend and make available the opportunities of flexi-schooling.

  • Extend access to school libraries, sports facilities, school visits, specialist facilities and key stage assessment.

  • Provide access to specialist music tuition on the same cost basis.

  • Provide access to work experience.

  • Provide access to post 14 vocational opportunities.

  • Signpost to third sector support where they have specialist experience and knowledge, for example, provision for bullied children.
  • All of 11 sounds lovely. If all that stuff was available (not compulsory) it would really benefit children and their families. If it wasn't for some of the other stuff in the recommendations, I'd probably be sitting here clapping my hands in glee. Though I can't see us actually availing of any of it except perhaps the music and post-14 vocational opportunities if the children turn out so inclined. Perhaps labs would be involved? I can see access to labs being helpful for some things.


    Anonymous said...

    (anonymous because this is job-related)

    We use CAF forms a lot at work. The people completing it tend to be NHS and school staff. If anyone in the multi-agency meeting mentions that a parent wants to remove their child from school, there are groans throughout the room.

    It's quite depressing, especially when the child in question has already moved schools twice, totally classroom-phobic (ok with adults and libraries, just not the other kids), and has been assessed enough times to confirm that there are no medical causes (e.g. ASD, learning difficulties) for this behaviour. And he's supposed to be moving to secondary school in September. Dad is willing to homeschool, which the child has requested, but everyone else wants a last-ditch push by mental health and educational welfare. I'm all for the social, confidence-building activities that have been set out, but still..

    Not that I'm thinking of any particular case *cough*

    I would genuinely love to see the local home school network appoint a rep to come to these meetings, and they probably could.. given some hoops, CRB checks, poss training. Depends on their background I suppose. A local church's community development worker is welcomed, so why not home schoolers? I don't know how many there are in our town, but it might be enough to have a reasonable case for attendance, contribution to the discussion etc.

    Ailbhe said...

    But everyone has to learn to cope with trying to learn while stuck in a room of 24 children for 6 hours a day as a necessary part of their social development, surely? How else will they grow up to deal with a diverse range of people from different backgrounds doing different things and holding wildly varying beliefs? Hm.

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