I’ve been back to look at a thread on my Facebook about the planned AEHEP meeting on April 24th with a few LA representatives from the national body home education professionals.
The meeting in April is a follow-up to the launch event which I blogged about here
My Facebook is public. The discussion reached nearly 900 people and attracted around 60+ comments. I had a number of people contact me outside Facebook as well.
I said that I had a list of questions which I felt bad about not asking at the launch. It was then suggested that I could put my questions at the meeting in April.
This is my list of questions:
- is there to be a public website for the association
- who is on the committee
- how is the committee selected
- what are the terms of reference
- does everything have to be decided by the whole committee or is there an executive committee
- what powers does the executive have
- how often does the committee meet and is it always in one place or does it move round the country
- what records are kept of the committee meetings
- are committee members allowed to talk outside about what happens at the meetings
- is membership of the national body a personal membership or on behalf of the LA
- would ordinary members and committee members routinely report back to their LAs at all
- is attendance at national body meetings on the person’s time or the LA’s time
- is a committee member acting on behalf of the regional forum or the LA or both
- will the national body have a code of conduct for members
- is there any vetting process for membership (eg agreeing to sign up to a code of conduct)
- what are the eligibility criteria for membership (eg is it for people working on the ground or managers or both, and can there be multiple members from the same LA as there may be multiple members from the same LA eg from Traveller Education and CME as well as just home education)
- will the national body have a complaints procedure with regard to its members (ie are there agreed standards which the body will uphold, which goes back to code of conduct question)
- would there be any situation in which membership could be rescinded/revoked/refused
Top questions from my Facebook were:
- how is the Association to be run
- how can we find out more about it
- who is going to the meeting in April
- how were they chosen
- why are a few LA people going to meet a few home ed people anyway
- will there be minutes or notes available afterwards
- will the notes reveal who was there and who said what or will it be “Chatham House” again
- why do local authorities call themselves professionals when it’s the parents who are professionals (this one doesn’t bother me at all but it bugs everyone else)
Following the Facebook discussion, I did email my questions to the Chair and Vice Chair because frankly I thought it made no sense to wait 6 weeks.
We know from FOIs that there was an AEHEP meeting on October 16th 2014, so the way I see it – which is admittedly quite harsh – is that they’ve had 4 months to sort out the ground rules. In other words, it’s not as if I’m asking within a fortnight of the Association’s coming into existence.
Anyway, after a few days I did get some sort of an answer to about half the questions. I had prefaced my questions by saying I’d like to blog the Q & A but it was too late to ask for permission to share before people went home for the weekend.
Right now I’m not feeling optimistic about the meeting in April.
The LA chap has said they want to get to know some home ed people they haven’t met before, but everyone from the LAs who will be at the meeting has met me already. (That could just be me being over-literal?)
Here’s the thing: I just want some basic information about the association but I feel my request is being received as niggling and pettifogging and I’m getting the vibe that I’m supposed to stop going on and on about it because after all we can chat in April.
But in my experience, informal group meetings aren’t the best option if you have a list of questions. My questions don’t fit into the getting-to-know-you-chat format, plus I have to share the airtime with up to 7 other people from home education, who I guess will all have their own agenda and points they want to make.
When I try and imagine the meeting, I think about being back at school when I was told to be a bit less self-centred, not to monopolise the teacher, to let other people have a turn, that anyway we weren’t covering whatever it was I’d asked about in this particular lesson, that I should wait and ask the teacher at the end (which – being a fairly literal sort of person – I did, until the penny finally dropped that doh they really really didn’t mean they wanted me to carry on pestering afterwards)
Anyway, it’s billed as an informal meeting. That means I don’t know if there will be anyone taking minutes. I can take notes, but then as a courtesy I’d obviously have to send them round to everyone who was there and ask them to confirm they think the notes are a fair and accurate record. That could take a while.
It wouldn’t be like blogging the launch within 24 hours without running by anyone first because that was just my impression and recollection (using Jane Lowe’s excellent notes taken at the time by the way for anyone who happens to be reading this who was actually there and wonders how come I remembered so very much without being seen to write anything down at all)
I’m also thinking it would cost me £50 to get to the meeting and wondering whether the expenditure is justified.
Background information about the AEHEP national body here