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Meeting the LA Education Department

Page history last edited by starkfamily1@... 16 years, 3 months ago

Group Project



Working together using this wiki


This page gives accounts of local groups meeting with their LA education department to try to get better policies and practices relating to elective home education, improve relations etcetera, that might be useful to others taking up similar ideas. Please feel free to add the experience of your group or interaction to improve your local situation.


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North Yorks LEA.


Just thought you might like to know that we had a seemingly very helpful meeting with North Yorks LA on Friday.


Couple of points that others might like to pick up and run with with their LAs:


The importance of networking with local HEers. Our *advisor* is very aware that everything she says and does is monitored on our local list, and acts accordingly!



We made the point that, whilst we all wanted to work to improve relations, if the proposed light touch changes come into effect, then we would be *back to the trenches* (a phrase the head ESW coined!) We asked that any submission made to any DfES consultation on such changes make this point, and they were in ready agreement!


There is a conference in March, in Leeds, with all the Northern LEA HE advisors and Elaine Haste, which is a chance for them to network and discuss how they do things etc. I personally feel very positive that our advisor will be going into that meeting very much on our side, and wanting to work towards getting other LEAs to work in the same way. It might be worth while if you live in a Northern LEA catchment area, to

get involved in dialogue NOW, and make the same points we did. Elaine Haste is key in this consultation, and if all these LEA reps are telling her that the light touch changes are a bad idea......


Food for thought I hope!


Brighton and Hove

May 2007


A few of us had a meeting last week to talk about how we can move forward our dealings with Brighton & Hove council and how they relate to home educators.


To recap very briefly, we have been involved in a process of discussion with the council for nearly a year now. We began by asking for their policies, moved on to work on the letters they send out, and after a setback there we are now thinking we need to focus on the policy again.


We have realised that we won't be able to achieve the kind of welcoming, respectful tone we would like to see in letters from the council unless there is a good policy behind them. At the moment, home education is misunderstood and treated with suspicion by officers in some departments of the council, and even where there is a better understanding of home ed, there is anxiety caused by a perception that the council is responsible for safeguarding all children's welfare.


Our new plan is:


1. Attend the next meeting of the council's Children and Young People Oversight and Scrutiny Committee. Ask how the council intends to respond to the DfES consultation on home education guidelines and invite the councillors and officers on the committee to an event at which they can find out more about home education.


2. Continue to meet with head of EOTAS. Encourage her to carry out a full and open consultation with home educators before developing a new policy.


3. Respond to the DfES consultation, and encourage as many other home educators and home education groups as possible to respond. The deadline is July 31st. You can find the consultation and the draft guidelines at



4. Hold a presentation on home education for council officers and councillors, in September. The idea is to present some information about the varying approaches used by home educating families, display some photos and/or videos of activities enjoyed by home educated children (with permission of the children and their parents), explain the law on home education, and have a question and answer session, with a panel of home educating parents and home educated young people.






I think it's very important that we keep all our dealings with LAs in the public eye.


I can really see how difficult this sometimes becomes in reality. When the person you're dealing with at the LA is not actually hostile but is clearly being pressurised from all sides it's tempting to think you can help them out by becoming their confidant.


But it's a big mistake IMO, because the minute you do that you betray the home educators whose experience with the LA is different from yours. Plus, if you don't tell other people what you're doing, there's no possibility that they will get involved and help you out.


We were a bit slower reporting back from our most recent meeting with the LA because the news was not as positive as it had been before - somehow it's harder to motivate yourself to be the bearer of bad tidings than good.


But I actually think it's even more important to report back in that kind of situation. If you go into discussions with an LA on the clear understanding that everything you say and do will be reported back openly to the HE community, it means you are much better able to resist making agreements that collude with ultra vires practices, because you know you won't be able to justify that in your report.


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