EDUCATION OTHERWISE REPORT ON AEHEP MEETING 24th April 2015
[Permission given by Education Otherwise (EO) to share widely]
“EO trustees were not informed prior to the meeting that the Chatham House Rule would be applied, although the two participants who had not so far made their attendance public agreed to be listed as having attended. [http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule ]. We believe that our report is within the spirit of this rule. However, before considering whether to accept any further invitation to engage with the AEHEP, trustees will seek clarification of reporting expectations; also of the basis upon which our input is being sought.
We are aware of the report published by Tricia Farey, and the EO trustees who attended the meeting consider that this covers the discussion points thoroughly.
Specific points made by EO trustees who attended were:
The 2007 Guidelines should be fully implemented by all LAs; this would provide consistency of practice in all areas, and ensure that home educators are treated with respect by LA personnel.
LAs should work with HErs in their own local areas (without collecting names). This has implications for ‘training’ in that LA personnel gain understanding and appreciation of the range and value of home education in practice, and exchange information.
Strong criticism of the NSPCC report particularly as to EHE being a very minor aspect of the cases picked.
EHE ≠ CME/risk and should not incur referral to other agencies. Ample safeguards are in place to protect children where there are genuine safeguarding issues.
‘Forced EHE’ can develop with appropriate support into a positive experience; the EO Helpline has examples where this has happened.
Daniel Monk appears not to have sought input from home educators in his presentation to LAs.
EO is opposed to compulsory registration of EHE families.
EO supports the 2007 Guidelines in that LAs have no duty with regard to assessment or monitoring of home education.
General points included:
The remit of the AEHEP (confirmation that the aim is to ensure LAs act within law and guidelines), how far this body could influence individual LAs, potential for involvement of HErs in various capacities.
The wide variation of procedures and policies between different LAs, some due to local demographics.
LAs have a duty to offer support but policies vary as to how this is provided and followed up.
Possible training packages for LA personnel exist; involvement of HErs in developing and providing these.
Daniel Monk appears to have no understanding of home education, and his presentation to LA is therefore inappropriate as ‘training’ in EHE.
Variation of procedures between different LAs; EHE often small proportion of one person’s job within LA.
Statistics from a recent report on the HE Safeguarding Myth were quoted and paper copies handed out.
Description of an E-learning system that would have minimal cost/time implications for LAs, can be applied to all personnel likely to have contact with HE families (not just EHE staff) and would provide continuity over change of LA personnel.
Brief notes and list of decisions to be followed up has been published by AEHEP. Agreed decisions were:
“1. The AEHEP joint chairs agreed to take back to the Committee the suggestion from the EHE support groups present to allow Associate Membership, or Observer Status for EHE Support groups.
2. The Committee will discuss the collection of data from regional groups in particular the level of ‘forced EHE’ known to LA and regional members.
3. It was agreed to discuss training for LA EHE professionals at the next committee meeting.
4. It was agreed to discuss the area of SEN and future developments with regard to the new legislation 2014.
5. Take the item of EHE staff compliance with legislation to the next committee meeting.
6. Discuss, how and what information and contact details will be published following the next Committee Meeting.
7. Plan a further meeting with representatives of home educators support groups.
8. Discuss the issue of a statement from the AEHEP which say that it is not the intention of the AEHEP to ask for a National Registration System for EHE to be imposed.”
Anne Rix and Jonathan Adams, on behalf of EO trustees.
N.B. Trustees are happy for this report to be distributed widely.“