I was talking with a friend the other day- she is a home educator and her kids are AMAZING! For their family, it’s a proactive decision and one that they made rather than a situation that was foist upon them because school had been horrible. But talking with her the other night, over a terribly decadent cake, I learned more about the stories behind the numbers in the news.
This week, the powers-that-be mooted the idea of a register of home-schooled children and young people. It’s not the first time that something like this has been suggested. It’s not an area of interest I have per se other than to talk to my mate about it and to think that it’s something I really don’t think I could manage with the Little Dude.
But there are people that choose it and do it. And there are people that do it because they have to.
I can kind of go with the idea of just knowing which kids are in school and which schools are not. I get that. It does potentially make sense for knowing and keeping track who is where on their journeys just so that key points where people might re-join the systems. I’m not totally against it. But then you think about how the mess of SEND provision (which is my area of interest) means that so many kids don’t have appropriate provision and don’t even have spaces in a school at all. And then me and my mate spoke a bit more! So many home-educators are doing it because they’ve been painted into a very tricky corner. They’re at their wits’ end and feel like they’ve got no other option- my mate said that she knows so many people in this really tricky and utterly deplorable position.
People should not be forced to do that through lack of other provision!
Add do that that the people in the DfE somehow seem to think that they’ll be able to keep on top of what provision different families organise, in their own homes, working with kids with gazillions of different needs/likes/wants. They think they can manage that! I laughed. I laughed into my decadent, overly frosted cake.
The DfE and SEND provision in England are in a real funk and just having a list of people who teach their kids at home will not fix that. Trying to knock on people’s front doors and unpicking their curriculum plans over the kitchen table will not address the lack of funding for physical resources, spaces and person power to support young people with all variety of needs in schools. Hassling people who choose a different pathway will not make up for the fact that paper-based pathways do not exist outside of those papers and young people are the ones who are losing out.
Keeping a register of kids who are home-educated just ticks a fuzzy box in some bureaucrat’s inbox somewhere in Whitehall.
And that just sucks.