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Are parents making knee jerk reactions to home school? A response to OFSTEDs report

OFSTED have published a report in which they have asked 23 parents and 7 children for input – concluding and warning that “Parents could be making kneejerk reactions to homeschool”

I don’t personally know anyone who has made the decision to home school in 1 day and I know a lot of home educators or community based educators…….

Often the issues faced, causing home education to become a valid option to consider, have been going on for some time. Certainly in our case I’d been working with the school and had attended various meetings and listened to various suggestions that were not working for many months. I’d made suggestions that were not supported. I was also being given messages that my child was ‘fine’ once I’d left – and was not listened to when I described my child was not ok – he was learning to hold in his emotion in school and he definitely let that emotion out when he was with me. It was insinuated that he was ‘playing me’. In that statement complete dismissal of all the problems I was facing with him at home and also a subtle accusation that ‘I was the problem’.

That process went on for many months- and my research about home-schooling (none of which was supported or guided by our LEA) a further 6 weeks over the summer holidays (subsequently during those holidays my care free little boy returned to live with me)

When I informed the school of my intention to de-register – there was a return letter – to inform me that the LEA would be notified – issued rather like a threat rather than a message that asked ‘is there anything we can do to support you better – that might make school an option still?’

I agree that parents should be given the information they need to make an informed choice and it is important that all options are considered, including the child’s wishes – The LEA and government are currently wanting to register home edders officially – yet are not always able to support parents appropriately with non coercive decision making about their choices or what home school opportunities are around in their local area.

And whilst I agree with some of the article recently published in the Independent (linked at the bottom) it yet again seems like another article condemning parents rather than looking at the real issues parents of children that are not getting on in school face.

As it turns out my child does have an SEN, he was 5 at the time though so whilst the signs were there, he was too young for us to even begin to unpick what they were. At the age of 5 and the primary years we can surely approach education in a way that means all children are achieving rather than being measured.

My other child is home schooled because I sincerely doubted he would be able regulate his emotion and sit still to the expected levels within a primary school. Children are not meant to ‘sit still’ for long periods of time.

We are forever smoke screening the problems that exist for some children in school – getting caught up in conversations that derail the real issues.

OFSTED and our government education policy makers need to work hard at following a more evidence based approach, looking at better and more successful models, so that if your child has an SEN – the way that learning is approached is inclusive of all children in the primary years, so all children feel good about the way they are learning.

Teachers need more autonomy, we need less tests, policing of attendance (ie. families should be able to take their children on holiday in term time), more regular holidays, more outside time, more free play, real flexi-schooling options and our schools behavioural policies must be led by an understanding of a child’s emotional and developmental capabilities. Reward and punishment based systems should be scrapped.

These are the conversations we should be having…..

What do you think?

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