Chatham House and the Stafford meeting

Now that the official notes from the Stafford AEHEP meeting last month are supplemented by Tricia Farey’s notes and EO’s notes, the drawbacks – or advantages depending on your perspective – of the Chatham House Rule are becoming apparent, particularly when the meeting involves only a small number of people and their identities have become public knowledge.

The first three items – pulled out from Tricia’s notes – are being taken forward as action points and will presumably be discussed at the next meeting of the full AEHEP committee in June. I am guessing that there won’t be any more meetings with home education representatives until after the school summer holidays.

1. [Action Point 1] A suggestion/request for Associate Member status, to be discussed at the next AEHEP committee meeting. Neither Tricia nor EO has reported asking for this.

2. [Action Point 3] The availability of an alternative to Daniel Monk for training in home education and the law. This will now be discussed at the next AEHEP committee meeting. Neither Tricia nor EO has reported saying this. Tricia said she put forward the Lancashire e-learning system to educate wider services, where local home educators would also have input, while EO says their point was that ‘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.’

3. [Action Point 7] There also seems to have been a discussion around whether it should be the same people at any subsequent meetings, with a remark about the benefits of continuity. The EO notes say ‘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.’ Tricia’s notes report her view that ‘if the Association met different people it would allow for a wider range of views to be heard’.

Other discussion items which were not taken up as action points in the official notes include the prevalence of home educators’ fear of referral to social services; home education and child abuse; and the number of home educated children unknown to LAs.

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