Memorandum submitted by AJ Hazell

 

Summary

 

 

Conduct of the Review

 

Widely differing attitudes and levels of support between LEAs was largely ignored

 

Undue emphasis appeared to be placed on child protection of home educated children, which is ironic as many children are home educated because they were not 'safe' at school or nursery - being bullied either by other children or the staff.

 

Questionable relevance of submissions by those not directly involved in home education, for example the CoE.

 

 

 

Recommendations

 

All home educated children should be given access to exam centres within easy travelling distances for GCSEs AND IGCSEs (which are often the only option available to such children due to coursework/controlled assessment). These centres should be provided by the LEA or DCSF.

 

Facilities which are available to children attending LEA schools on an authority wide basis (e.g. sports facilities, speech therapy for those with a SEN) should be available to all children within the LEA regardless of their educational provider.

 

Children should be interviewed, but unless there is a child protection issue, then the parent/career should have the option to be present. If there are concerns about child protection then these should be stated in writing and dealt with by trained social services staff and not education staff. Parents (and children) should be able to view and respond to such concerns.

 

 

 

1. There have been several high profile cases of children being abused (and murdered) by school staff in the last 15 years or so.

 

2. One of our children was withdrawn from school having been bullied and the school being unprepared to take action regarding the bully; indeed the hectoring attitude of the Staff and Head made a bad situation worse. This resulted in a period of time when the child was wary of adults she did not know. Whilst at our last LEA 'visit' she was quite happy to speak to the LEA Officer alone she would not have been initially after being withdrawn from school. Having spoken to other home educating parents this case is not unusual. There may also be problems in such one-to-one interviews with some children with SEN.

 

 

2. The Government is quite rightly concerned about the standard of education received by all children. Obtaining GCSEs shows a level of attainment. For home educated children the choice of qualifications is limited by controlled assessment/coursework but they can take IGCSEs. My eldest child is currently studying for 11 IGCSEs, but we are currently struggling to find an examination centre close to home. If Every Child Matters then surely there should be local centres (provided by the State) for home educated children (and also adults returning to education?) to take public exams?

 

August 2009