Home educators are reporting an increase in ultra vires activity among English local authorities whose elective home education guidelines have been exposed as inaccurate and misleading. Councils recently outed on our community forums include Barnsley, East Sussex and a Wirral, Knowlsey and Warrington combo calling itself the Elective Home Education Service. Other offenders have been flagged up on our private forums, on Facebook and other social media.
In these times of austerity, questions must surely be asked about these councils’ priorities and why they are claiming powers they do not possess. Dressing up in sheep’s clothing to snare and misinform unsuspecting new home educators, and failing to signpost to independent home education support networks, is patently wasteful of their supposedly stretched resources. Education is a parental responsibility, which is just as well given the state of state schools, many of which are failing to equip children with basic literacy and numeracy skills.
When asked how to enforce councils’ compliance with the law, the DfE responded to one enquirer:
“Where home educators have concerns about a local authority’s actions, they should in the first instance take any matters up with the County Council through their complaints procedure so that matters can be resolved locally.”
It won’t come as any surprise that this has been done time and time again, with predictable non-results in the majority of cases as public servants close ranks and don’t appear to understand the law anyway.
Commenting on the growing tide of misinformation from local authorities, one home educator posted:
“We are paying out of our own pockets for this tripe, then we have to spend our precious, and unpaid I might add, time and effort to get them to actually write and act in a lawful way. This should not be happening. We want our money back!”
[HEF members may post comments on this forum thread.]