I have recently become a Home Educating parent – I have had to take my daughterout of School (she is in Year 10), just 14 months away from her GCSE’s because the School wasn’t providing her with the extra support she needed, and she was being subjected to constant emotional and psychological bullying! My daughter does not have a learning disability as such but she has slow processing speeds and has difficulty with numbers, and suffers with social anxiety.
I was about to write at length a response to The Home Education Bill but have found this detailed response from another Home Educating parent which reflects my views completely:
If there is to be a Home Education Bill, it should be a Bill which supports parents who exert their right to choose Home Education by providing them with a resource package to cover the costs of doing this – i.e. a Direct Payment system just as exists for social care where a Home Educating budget could be spent on books, materials, tutoring, equipment etc. This would be fair as they are not costing a school place in the mainstream system.
There should also be an automatic right for Home Educating parents to be able to use any local secondary school for free enrolment into 5 GCSE’s to allow the parents of Year 11 pupils (at either 15 or 16 whenever it is appropriate for the child and not the system in school based on the month of birth – which my daughter has always struggled with being a July born child) to support their home educated children to be able to access exams if they want to go on to do A Levels – as does my daughter.
Because my daughter has been unable to cope with the school (the school were unable to provide her with the extra support in maths, they said they could not slow down Spanish for her, they said they would provide her with artistic opportunities in drama such as scenery design, costume design etc – then the young people and the teachers told her that if she wasn’t prepared to perform “why are you here”? – this to a shy sensitive teenager who had social anxiety issues!!!) we have been penalised and I have spent a fortune on structured home learning packages – and now we will be forced to pay for my daughter to go to an exam centre which charges £180 per GCSE – costs that are unreasonable for parents to be forced to meet themselves!
Finding a way for my daughter to continue with her Art has been extremely difficult as this is a subject that she wants to do at A Level but the school she left would not entertain her being able to attend after school to do art with the art teacher! It feels like retribution for taking her out of school – but when push came to shove my daughter’s mental health was more important than forcing her to endure the bullying and to hear one more time from her that she felt “invisible”, “stupid” or “thick”!
Eventually as I am a determined, caring and loving parent, who has taken on the burden of educating my daughter at home – which is not a decision either she or I took lightly, I found a Saturday Art class , and hopefully as this teacher is an examiner for Art GCSE we can find a way for my daughter’s Art to be assessed in May 2019 so she can prove her ability in order to get into College.
It is totally wrong that Lord Soley is using Home Education to try to deal with radicalism or child protection issues – to address these issues the right approach is to create joined up working teams made up of social workers, representatives from community organisations and religious leaders to deal with these issues, and get national government to allocate an annual budget to provide these resources – re-investing in Sure Start would be a good place to begin!
Home educators need resources and support not discrimination, victimisation or being portrayed as villainous.
I have emailed Lord Soley my thoughts and think it will be a good edcuation for him to listen and hear that children who end up being home educated are most likely to be those who have Special Education Needs and/or mental health issues, or simply can’t cope with or don’t fit into the ‘school system’.