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Letter to Damian Green MP

Page history last edited by Sarita 8 years, 9 months ago

FrontPage

 

I sent this letter to my MP - 19/02/12

 

Dear Damian,

 

How are you? I trust that you are keeping well.

 

I am writing to inform you about a situation that has been developing within KCC regarding Elective Home Education (EHE). On the 13th January the Education, Learning and Skills POSC met to discuss proposals put forward by Patrick Leeson, Corporate Director of ELS to make changes to the KCC EHE policy, which included the creation of 3 new positions in order to register and routinely monitor EHE. There is no statutory duty for local authorities to register and monitor EHE, and KCC knows this.

 

Having had access to the documents and viewing the webcast of the meeting, home educators have been outraged by the uninformed and misconceived views and opinions of council members who are supposed to scrutinise policy proposals prior to endorsing them. Not one of the members appeared informed on home education and the law, yet were endorsing policy that extends powers that the LA does not have. We have raised our grievances with the POSC council members - we have received no real response to our concerns or our calls to involve us in policy making, only placating emails which fail to answer our questions, address our concerns or even acknowledge that there is a serious problem. 

 

This week, following a complaint from one home educator to the council regarding a lack of response from the council members, we have all received the same facile response but from different council members and Patrick Leeson himself, which again failed to address concerns and our call for KCC to stick to the law. This is insulting - we have genuine cause to call into question the actions of the ELS team and council members and yet we continue to be fobbed off and patronised. Now, not only are we trying to ensure that policy adheres to the law and that we are involved and consulted with as the law requires LAs to do, we are also having to deal with the unacceptable behaviour of council and ELS members.

 

Our concerns are:

 

- implementation of a registration and monitoring scheme where there is no duty to do so.

- failure to consult and involve home educators in formulation of policy

- failure of council members to avail themselves of the correct information in order to make informed decisions that have a drastic effect on the lives of home educating families.

- failure to answer how an unelected member of the council manages to manipulate council members into endorsing policy and approving expenditure to create new jobs that are beyond the LA's legal remit.

- failure to justify how the committee can endorse expenditure on duties that the council do not have, whilst at the same time approving cuts of £13 million across the education sector.

- failure to acknowledge and respond to emails from council members and Patrick Leeson

- when a response has been received, failure to address concerns, answer questions or even to be civil and courteous.

 

If you remember, back in 2009, Graham Badman and Ed Balls tried to introduce a registration and monitoring scheme into primary legislation and it failed. Primary legislation has not changed and there is no new evidence to suggest that a change is required - current powers are sufficient to the task. As you know from our previous contact the actions of KCC regarding EHE have always been ultra vires, but now, with the arrival of Patrick Leeson, this despicable activity is being ramped up. All the LA needs to do is follow the 2007 Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities, something they have neglected to do since they were issued.

 

I implore you to read the attached correspondence that I have sent to council members and the unsatisfactory, even rude, responses I have received. The council members and Patrick Leeson are not listening to the public that elected them into office. Kent home educators wish to work with KCC and forge positive relationships but this is impossible when we are shown such a lack of respect. All we ask is that KCC stick to the law (by implementing the 2007 guidelines) and involve us in the formulation of policy - nothing that increases their expenditure or what they should be doing anyway. For most home educators this is an attack on our lifestyle choice, and not merely about education.

 

We hope you can help us with this situation. I have been in contact with Graham Stuart and he too has received the standardised email. I am hoping that you will be able to have more success in getting some answers to these important issues.

 

I trust I will hear from you very soon.

Yours sincerely,

Comments (4)

Maire Stafford said

at 11:19 pm on Feb 19, 2012

I do hope you find support here.

Sarita said

at 12:11 am on Feb 20, 2012

He was supportive when we first approached KCC back in 2008 when we were door stepped. And also during Badman. Although you never really know how much they are really doing behind the scenes. It always puzzled me why the Tories left it to the Lords to have the Clause 21 (?) sent out in the wash, especially when most of their MPs were familiar with the whole situation.

Maire Stafford said

at 8:37 am on Feb 20, 2012

No and I don't understand why they are tolerating all this now after being appalled at LA behaviour, makes me nervous.

vanda alexander said

at 2:03 pm on Feb 20, 2012

Well put to Damian Sarita. Looking forward to reading his reply. If he does intervene, I expect he will be me with the same reply.

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