Memorandum submitted by Martin and Christine Thompson
We are parents of four children, three of whom are of compulsory school age who we home educate. We have been home educating for 19 months and as we withdrew our children from school, they are registered with the local authority. We have been blessed with a very good relationship with the officers who have visited our home, but we are mindful that some authorities have very different attitudes to Wrexham's, so submit our concerns.
The following is a summary of our concerns:
· Expert committee
· Recommendation 7
· Recommendation 21
· Recommendation 24
· Recommendation 28
· Paragraph 10.2
1. Recommendation 7-This could in itself cause a lack of one of the Every Child Matters outcomes-be healthy, as the child's mental health could be impaired by any emotional distress caused by being interviewed without their parent present. They may also not feel safe (every child matters outcome-stay safe). Parents are encouraged not to let their children talk to strangers alone, yet this report wants us to allow this behind closed doors. This also would give the LEA more powers than the police.
Article 12 of Universal Declaration Human Rights says that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home....
Also recommendation 7 says that parents be required to allow their child through exhibition or otherwise to demonstrate attainment and progress. This when linked with annual re-registration could also be a source of emotional stress for the child who would be losing its 'be healthy' outcome through the stress of assessment and uncertainty about his future, and that that future might depend on his 'performance'
Article 26(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
2. Recommendation 21 paragraph 8.12- It was earlier stated in the report that the size of the home educated population was not known so how can statements then be made about the proportion of children "known to" social services. What it should have been talking about was numbers of children "at risk". Also some of the children known to social services would be those who were excluded from school rather than who parents elected to home educate them. This all served to give an inflated impression of child abuse in home educated families.
3. Recommendation 24- refusal of registration on safeguarding grounds-would have to have very well trained personnel to avoid mistakes being made so where are the costings?
4. Recommendation 28 - costing due by September 11th-where are the figures?
5. Paragraph 10.2-Why didn't the report consider the wealth of research in the 50 states of America where there are many more home educators under a more liberal system than that in Europe?
6. Expert Committee- How can the committee be defined as expert when it contained only one person with home educating experience? This would not seem fairly balanced.