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From Government

Page history last edited by Sarita 12 years, 3 months ago

FrontPage  KCC Plans  Responses to KCC  Responses from KCC  What You Can Do  Action Group Activity Individual Letters to and from KCC Letters to MPs


So, I sent Graham Stuart this message on Facebook:

Graham, Could you please tell us more about Gove's plans as quoted by Gary Cooke at Kent County Council "I don't think any specific statute has been identified as yet, but Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Education has made it clear that he intends to introduce a requirement whereby home educated children will be linked to a school and their academic achievement will contribute to the schools results. " 
I am astounded that after all the fighting and educating we did in 2009 and without any change in the law, local authorities are getting away with this abuse of power. Shame on all the elected officials who promised they would do something to combat this!


Graham's Reply:

"the Government said it would look at piloting the idea of schools remaining responsible for the academic results of children who were excluded from school so that they took a continuing interest and didn't just wash their hands of them. That's the only thing I can think of that might have prompted this but I will look into it further." 


Graham's Tweets - 24/1/2012, replying to questions about Gary Cooke's comments:

"I'm looking into it but haven't found any justification whatsoever" says @grahamstuart
It's not obvious how it could even be practical to do it as Home Edders don't have to follow ...any particular curriculum or take any exams. I'm going to write to Kent to try to find out where they got the idea from"


Message to Graham Stuart - 1/2/12:

Just wondering whether you had an update re: Kent and their home ed policy. We are getting nothing back from them and will be pursuing, but wanted to check in with you first before we rush in!


Reply from GS - 3/2/12:

I have contacted the council but have not yet had a response. I'll be sure to post something when I hear back.


Graham Stuart posts on Facebook - 16/2/12


A number of you have raised concerns about the Kent County Council's position on home education. I have received the following email from Councillor Gary Cooke, which I am posting with his permission. I hope it helps to clarify the situation.



 Dear Mr Stuart


 Thank you for your email of 24 January regarding the Education, Learning and Skills Policy Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Kent County Council.

 I would like to begin by apologising for any incorrect statement I made during the Committee meeting with regard to a new statute. I had thought this to be the case, but this was based on a misunderstanding and I now realise no new statue is planned. I thank you for your email alerting me to this fact.

 I completely agree with you that home education should not be viewed as intrinsically suspicious or odd. As Patrick Leeson, Corporate Director, Education, Learning and Skills said in the Committee meeting, many parents educate their children“in a very confident way, a very responsible way, and the quality of what children experience is very good and those children have access to a wide range of opportunities outside the home as well to stimulate their learning and promote their educational achievements.” This is certainly my belief.

 With regard to the role of the Local Authority, I am led to believe that the Council can provide support and resources to parents, as specified within part 5 of the Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities 2007. For that reason Kent County Council’s Elective Home Education Consultant (EHEC) writes to the parent to offer an appointment which they can choose to accept or decline. The type of support the EHEC offers on his visit may be one or more of the following:

 Advice for parents choosing whether to educate at home;


Advice on curriculum planning & providing sources of learning materials;


Encouraging links with other home educators and support groups;


Providing links with other services such as distance-learning groups, further education colleges and the CXK service; and


Will act as a referee for home educated children for college entrance or employment.

I understand from Mr Fox, KCC’s Elective Home Education Consultant, that he receives positive feedback from parental surveys and that offering home visits is a long established practice in Kent and many other local authorities.

 The only circumstance when engaging with the local authority is no longer voluntary if it appears to the Council that a child is not receiving a suitable education, as I understand we do have a statutory duty to act in these cases. The Education Act 1996 states that if this happens, we are required to serve notice in writing to the parent to provide evidence of the education provided within 15 days.

 I hope this is helpful clarification of Kent County Council’s position.

 Yours sincerely

 Gary Cooke


Deputy Cabinet Member



Response from SG:

Graham, this is the same letter sent to many of us from Mike Whiting and Patrick Leeson. This is completely unacceptable. How can they possibly foster trust and co-operation when they cannot even bother to reply to us in a timely and relevant way - not to mention the fact that this standardised letter fails to address any of our concerns or calls for open involvement in the formulation of policy, as they are required to do so by law. I am deeply concerned by the conduct and incompetence on display, however, what concerns me most is that they are hell bent on introducing a registration and monitoring scheme which goes beyond their legal remits and is trampling over our civil liberties. Patrick Leeson is attempting to implement the recommendations from the Ofsted report 2010 that you yourself condemned as "seriously flawed". Could you please tell us what you can do to help us ensure that KCC open their doors and allow us to sit with them to formulate home education policy that complies with the law. Many thanks.


Response from Graham Stuart - 17/02/12

"Sarita, I'm sure they would deny that they don't involve people in their formulation of policy. They may not do it in the way that you would like but that it is a different matter. Try to work constructively with your local councillors (and ask your MP to make representations on your behalf) to establish a local Home Ed forum (or whatever vehicle/s you have in mind) to help input into Council policy making. Not all Home Ed families do simply want to be left alone so the Council is right to offer support (where it is wanted). Council EHE staff should seek to be like health visitors: supportive, constructive and non threatening. They should not form a suspicious oversight operation by an arm of the state."


Response from SG - 17/02/12

Graham, we have been trying, both as a group and individually, to engage KCC in a positive dialogue, yet we are met with rude and disrespectful responses. Do you think it was acceptable to send out the same correspondence from three different members of KCC council, including the Corporate Director of Education, Learning and Skills? Have you seen the proposals and heard comments made? I invite you to join the public wiki we have set up here in Kent (http://KentHEPublic.pbworks.com/). I urge you to read some of the responses we have received. We don't need new guidance, we need the LAs - all of them - to adhere to the existing guidance and guidelines. The guidelines appropriate for HE were issued in 2007, how many LAs actually adhere to to these? How difficult is it to re-write the guidelines with a LA logo and issue them as policy? Nothing more is needed! Nearly five years down the line, 4 or 5 consultations later with us saying the same things over and over, not to mention all of the individual complaints that have been raised around the country in the meantime, and we still, as citizens and taxpayers, cannot get the LAs to fulfil their statutory duties without extending them beyond their remit. Why is that? A real paradigm shift needs to occur, here. They do not have a duty of care over all children and they do not have a duty to ensure suitable education - both of these is the role of the parent not the state. These two basic facts seem to not sink in. My question to you is not about new guidance but how to enforce existing guidance and guidelines?



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