Parent Report Deemed Insufficient
“They deem the report as insufficient to be able to judge whether Alfie’s education appears to be suitable. This is because the local authority feel they have not seen evidence of the education taking place and the progress being made” . Case Study 2 in the new draft guidance for local authorities portrays a child who has been home educated for a few months after struggling in school. Scroll down to see my comments.
Are Case Studies Helpful
The consultation document says “We have updated the EHE guidance for local authorities to include case studies on EHE topics that can sometimes cause misinterpretation and result in queries being raised to the Department. Through these case studies, we have tried to clarify a few factors within the process of EHE”
The consultation asks whether you think the case studies are helpful. If you are a local authority wanting to talk to the child and to assess the child, while at the same time not being overly bothered about home visits, then I assume you will find case study 2 helpful because you will read it as endorsing your approach.
Remember though that the Department interprets helpful as meaning fewer queries because the case study is supposed to make things clearer. The problem is that a case study must have detail but detail then becomes a distraction since every element makes it overly specific which gives everyone ammunition for their own interpretation of how it might apply – or not – to their own situation.
Relevant Consultation Questions
- Q28 Have you found the inclusion of case studies in the EHE guidance for local authorities helpful?
- Q29 Are there other issues you would like to see us address through case studies or further information that illustrates your answer above?
The Department for Education plans to issue new non-statutory guidance on home education and the draft guidance includes 3 case studies showing LAs how to deal with certain situations. The deadline for giving your views is January 18th 2024. I have more information here including a link to all the consultation documents for the new guidance https://edyourself.org/2023-consultation-revised-ehe-guidance/
- This child is similar in age to Case Study 1 but here it might be perceived as a “negative reason” for home educating since the child has been removed from school after he has “struggled in a classroom setting”
- Another way of saying struggled in class is to say school was unsuitable and unable to meet his needs
- Because school has failed, the family adopts an approach that is far removed from “school at home”
- After home educating for a month the parents have a telephone conversation with the LA about the provision they are making which is deemed to be suitable to age ability aptitude and special needs and no issues are identified. Despite this, the LA says it will be back in 3 months
- In 3 months the LA is back, apparently needing “a clear plan in place” “evidence of the progress being made” “evidence of the education taking place” “what has been taught” and “what is going to be taught going forward”
- We are not TOLD that the LA always wants to meet and talk to the child and see examples of the child’s written work but lo it happens to turn out that parents writing a report about what they are doing is deemed “insufficient”
- Without seeing written work and/or talking to the child, the LA is apparently unable to fulfil its self-appointed task of judging the provision as suitable, and moreover not because what parents describe sounds in any way UNSUITABLE [to the child’s age ability aptitude and SEN] or UNREALISTIC or UNLIKELY, but because the LA needs to see for itself that what parents are saying is true
- By a stroke of great good fortune this child happens to be absolutely fine with talking to a stranger in the park who has the power to send him back to school and so the family earns a reprieve … till next time
- You can find on page 24 of the draft guidance for LAs
Case Study 2 appears directly after paragraph 6.4 which says
6.4 “Local authorities should be mindful of the different approaches to EHE and so providing information to show a suitable education is taking place may not always be possible in the form requested by the local authority. At the same time, if a parent is unable to provide information which details suitable education in the requested form (e.g. examples of work) due to their pedagogy then they will need to find appropriate, alternative means to demonstrate suitable education taking place, perhaps in dialogue with the local authority.“
This is an important paragraph because it slides seamlessly from “providing information” to “demonstrating suitable education taking place” which endorses the “Doubt Everything That Parents Tell You After All They Could Just Be Making It Up” approach of Case Study 2.
Taken on its own, the reference to “dialogue with the local authority” could perfectly well mean a telephone conversation or further email exchange, but Case Study 2 cements the idea that “dialogue” = face to face meeting plus talking to the child.