Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just a thought

Date: sometime in 2010

Dear Mr LA Official,

Thank you for your letter informing us, under the new 2010 legislation following the Badman review that you intend to come and visit my family to assess our educational provision and the welfare of our child(ren). We will be delighted to welcome you into our home once a few necessary conditions have been met.

1. We understand that you may wish to interview our child(ren) alone and, to this end, we must ask you to supply an enhanced CRB disclosure for all LA staff to be present.

2. It is of course vital that anyone assessing our educational provision is genuinely familiar with, and sympathetic to, our chosen educational approach. To that end, please supply us with full CVs of any LA staff who will visit, including full details of their experience as autonomous home educators.

3. [optional paragraph] Since our child(ren) have/has unique needs, it is also important that anyone visiting is familiar with their type of behaviour and learning patterns. On the CVs of your staff, please detail the training which they have received in communicating with children with [put in whatever is relevant here]

We very much look forward to discussing in person our educational provision with a suitably qualified LA employee at a mutually convenient time and place. In the meantime, and for your records, I enclose a copy of our educational philosophy together with 3/6/47 letters from [pillars of the local community] confirming that they are in regular contact with our family and that they have no concerns about the welfare of our child[ren].

Yours very sincerely,

This took me about three minutes to draft and of course I'm looking for criticism. No personal investment in any of the particular things I said here. The main thing is: I think that if the worst case scenario happens and Badman'd recommendations do become law, then I feel morally in a position to require public servants to be, well, servants, and that involves me, their tax paying employer, demanding that they should be suitably qualified before I engage with them. The last paragraph, with the letters from friends, is to ensure that, while they are trying to get the right sort of employees, they don't send SS round...

So, what do you all think?


@untwining said...

I had a similar (albeit very hazy) thought - along the lines of asking the LA to demonstrate how they would ensure that my child would not be exposed to anyone who could pose a risk to her, given that even enhanced CRB checks are not 100% effective all of the time (see almost daily media reports etc).

As they are operating on the basis that parents aren't 100% trustworthy 100% of the time - this would be a wholly reasonable request.

Point 2 would be all well and good until autonomous education (to use example that immediately springs to mind) is outlawed.

If the worst came to the worst I think that this kind of tactic would probably be quite effective, especially if combined with comprehensive requests for resources, advice, information etc.

But I think I would still be happier taking my chances and refusing access.

Clare said...

I think it's great.

Agree with renegade parent about point 2.

Jennifer said...

Only just seen this, but I think the first part is brilliant!

I'm a bit uneasy about the letters from other people. This would work fine for my family, but I'm very aware that some parents have much less support than we do from their family & local community for what they're doing. Some children's special needs mean the family goes only rarely to group events, so they may not know lots of other home edders well. And likewise there are some large families where the children don't really need to go to lots of group things because they have each other. So I'm wary of leading LAs to expect us to produce such letters, because I suspect there are a small minority of families who would have real trouble with that.

Anonymous said...

a good strategy and I like the requirement for evidence of training and specialism in auto ed and specific disabilities. However ... it ain't gonna happen that they get to interview any of my kids!

I'd be wary of eroding your right to be innocent until proven guilty by providing letters from others to prove the good welfare of your children. Burden of proof is theirs. Also agreed with others that there is a danger that they would begin to require such affidavits.

emma said...

Yes, very good points.

I drafted it in June, just after The Badman published his "report".
6 months later, I think I'd use points 2 and 3, and insist on enhanced disclosure CRB, but with the expectation that hell would freeze over before they couild find someone suitably qualified AND prepared to work for the State, and thus that we could string the correspondence out for a long time.

There are particular ways of signing letters and wordage to use that I've seen around the place in Freeman on the Land correspondence (opting out of statute law entirely) - e.g. recent irdial.blogdial post. Might be a bit extremely anarchist for many HEers?

emma said...

oh, and yes, noone is interviewing my children alone without probable cause

and yes, forget the affadavits. We once (about 10 years ago) tried that suggestion on the TV licensing people in a futile attempt to be friendly to them and save them some money rather than them sending us all these demands for money to permit us to watch a TV we didn't own. We said "what if we got some people - vicars and magistrates and such pillars of the community - to swear that we have no TV? Then will you leave us alone?" "no." they said. "We'd still have to inspect the premises". So we stopped corresponding with them and now throw all their junk mail in the bin unopened.