Hi, I am Mel Crabb, I work for Eteach but I am also a mum of four teenagers / twenty-somethings. Having been through the school system as a parent and as a Governor I found the story reported by the BBC ‘Home Educators are angry at review’ (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7838783.stm) somewhat frustrating. The story is in regard to the proposed review by the Government of how local authorities can make sure all children educated outside school receive the education they need and are secure and healthy.
Whilst I can understand the implied terms of this statement, i.e. they are not being educated and are not being well looked after, I find the anger expressed by Education Otherwise, the charity representing home educators as somewhat small-minded. The charity’s own website (http://www.education-otherwise.org.uk/ ) states two of their aims as:
• ‘reaffirm that parents have primary responsibility for their children’s education and that they have the right to exercise this responsibility by educating them out of school;
• establish the primary right of children to have full consideration given to their wishes and feelings about their education’
Perhaps it’s me but these indicate that the charity also want the same things the Government and indeed, society does – well-educated, happy and nurtured children. Whether they obtain this through schools or home education is irrelevant, the needs and future prospects of the child should come first. Future prospects include health and well-being but are, in no small part, related to the career which stretches ahead of them in whatever they choose to do. It therefore puzzles me when their ‘About HE’ page states ‘it is possible for exams to be taken if you wish’!
Whilst all the targeting and Ofsted focus on GCSE results and the pressures it puts on fully qualified teachers who are trained to educate others is cumbersome and sometimes over the top, what other measure is there to determine the success of the Home Education system compared to that of mainstream schooling. Happiness, parental responsibility and feelings all have a very big place in life but so does providing for yourself and any future family. How else do prospective employers ascertain the suitability of a candidate? Exams and qualifications should not be the be all and end all but they certainly give an indication not only of ability but also of effort and reliability. Many children struggle with exams but those who attend school regularly and try their very best tend to attain some qualifications – or am I being a dinosaur, let me know if you think I am!