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KCC Responses to SG email 22012012

Page history last edited by Sarita 8 years, 5 months ago

FrontPage  22012012 - SG Letter to KCC ELS POSC


From Michael Jarvis:

Thank you for your email and your comments are duly noted. Obviously, our research on home educators was lacking in depth and I am sure we shall be addressing that at KCC, going forward.


Best RegardsCllr. Michael Jarvis


Response from SG:

Dear Mr Jarvis,

 I don't think you seem to understand the basic issue here. Your research wasn't lacking in depth, it was lacking altogether. There was absolutely no factual basis whatsoever for any of the conjecture heard at that meeting. The fact that none of you had read the 2007 ELective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities is inexcusable. Even Mr. Cooke's comments regarding government plans to attach HE children to schools was completely erroneous and out of context - Graham Stuart MP assures me.


I think council members had better come up with better responses than what we have been receiving and seeing on Facebook. After all, and like I said in my previous email, you are elected officials charged with serving the public. We are your public. Your statutory duty is to involve us in any policy-making that affects us. You have not done that, nor are you showing any signs of wanting to do that. This is making matters worse. Please suspend the current proposals and call for a public consultation. There are several of us who are more than happy to meet with the ELS team to create a working party to draw up new policy. 


From Jim Wedgbury:

thanks for your email


Response from SG:

Mr Wedgbury,

I am not sure if you are aware, but I seem to be missing the rest of your email.I look forward to your receiving your full response,


From Jim Wedgbury:

S, that was my reply I am sure you are aware knowledge is powerand I thank you for the knowledge you have given me.


Response from SG:


We are glad to be of help, and if there is anything else you wish to know we would be more than happy to be of assistance to you or any other council member who wishes to know about the law and home education.


I was wondering if you could explain to me how councillors get to be on the ELS Policy Overview and Scrutiny Committee and not have any knowledge as to what the statutory duties of the local authority are. Please do not think I am trying to be facetious in my question or disrespectful, but I am genuinely surprised that none of you know this information. You are the Scrutiny Committee - how is it that the policy proposals weren't scrutinised to see if they adhered to law prior to even giving the go ahead to spending any money on this?

I would be very grateful if you could please respond to my questions - I would be happy to talk to you on the phone about it if you prefer. As publicly elected officials aren't you obliged to answer the questions that taxpayers ask? Home educators were extremely offended by what we heard on the webcast -  a response really should be forthcoming.


From Jim Wedgbury:

thank you for your questions  the simple answer is that all members are volunteers who put themselves up for election by the public and the make up of the council is the choice of the local electorate. So we as members come from all walks of life and experiences for example I am a fireman. 

The make up  of each committee is decided by a strict formula set out by law.

The authority employees officers to give members reports and information to assist with making decisions.

Unfortunately some people for example Gordon Cowan get elected who areunfit to be councillors  but in his case he was the candidate chosen byhis party.

I think this answers your questions



Response from SG:



Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate that councillors undertake to volunteer their spare time, outside of their regular jobs, to represent the people who elected them into that office. I also understand that the paid staff at KCC are there to support you and provide you with the necessary and accurate information in making the right decisions - on behalf of  the people you all represent.


However, what I still do not understand (and it's possible that I haven't made myself clear) is this:


- how is it that an unelected member of KCC, on an annual salary of £153,000, is able to get approval for a policy (and the resultant expenditure) that is so far out of KCC's legal jurisdiction, without properly educating the councillors whom he serves. He was fully aware of the proposal's legal implications - after all, the same recommendations were rejected in 2010 by government as not being within LA legal remit and a breach of civil liberties. I would like to think that were the councillors aware of this and the law and how it pertains to elective home education, the proposals would have been given a lot more scrutiny.


Which leads me on to ask how it is that members of a Scrutiny committee, who approve policy and sanction council expenditure, do not avail themselves of the correct information prior to a meeting? This agenda item was supposed to be discussed in November but was put back to January. Surely that gives councillors, whose duty it is to scrutinise and make the right decisions, sufficient time to do some background reading. The decisions councillors make affect real people - why not come to us for the relevant information?


It is unacceptable that councillors can conduct business in this way. I am astounded that not one of the home educators who have written in have received an acknowledgement from ELS and an expectation of when we might receive a proper response from Patrick Leeson. I appreciate you engaging in discussion with me, but that is a matter of common and professional courtesy. You are one of two councillors to respond - that speaks volumes to me. I trust you will pass my sentiments on - I can see how this episode might be embarassing for council members, but, voluntary or not, you put yourselves up for election by the people and should be accountable to the people as well. If the committee are working on this in the background, it would be helpful to know this. 


I hope you will put the necessary pressure on Patrick Leeson and his team to answer our requests calling for a suspension of the existing proposals and policy review and to engage with home educators, as the law demands, to formulate a new policy in collaboration and consultation with us. 


(By the way, not sure who is or what Gordon Cowan has to do with any of this)


Yours sincerely,



Response from Mike Whiting - 13/02/12


Comments (3)

Maire Stafford said

at 2:55 pm on Jan 24, 2012

: )

Maire Stafford said

at 5:09 pm on Jan 24, 2012

Loving your letters, S!

Maire Stafford said

at 9:18 am on Jan 28, 2012

Excellent letter, off to google Gordan Cowan.

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