News

A visit to Streamvale Farm

Barrelling along in the distance  - children being towed by the tractor

Streamvale Farm kindly accommodated our home education group this week. It certainly lived up to its great reputation. 

A large group of us were first taken to the petting area were we fed rabbits cabbage and petted the really well looked after animals. 

We then went on to hold the baby rabbits in straw filled open baskets, the children found this part especially exciting. 

After a play around in one of their many designated play areas the children went on go carts, played with diggers in the sand and then went to see the puppies play. 

Soon after the children enjoyed free barrel rides, were the lovely staff member towed them on a quad! 

After a quick stop for lunch and indoor play in another great area the vet came and played hospital with a few of the children. 

Pony grooming, sliding into hay and two full rides on the towed tractor carriage followed. Seeing and learning about the deer and the antlers was a particular highlight. 

 We ended our day in the largest play area shooting soft balls out of the machines and playing on the toy tractors. 

Streamvale was an exciting opportunity to learn about farm life and just have some proper outdoor fun! "

Lisburn Fire Station Visit

One of the Fire station groups in front of a fire engine
One of the Fire station groups in front of a fire engine

Our visit to Lisburn Fire Station was fantastic and very informative for both parents and their children. 

There were around 60 children so we were split into two groups with different hour slots. 

The firemen tailored the talk to the age range attending importantly educating us about fire safety. 

They were absolutely amazing with the kids. They had them firing the water hose at a cone and dressing them as a firemen and firewomen.  

They let the kids get inside the engine and then took us through a detailed tour of every piece of the equipment in the vehicle and it's uses. 

I think we all came away with something we hadn't known before. 

All in all a brilliant day out for home educators in Northern Ireland.

Not Back To School

Construction at W5

This is the time of year when we welcome new home educators and reconnect with each other after a busy summer. The museums, parks and swimming pools are emptying during 'school hours', the classes and groups are starting up again and of course our Not Back To School celebrations are underway.

As always there is a packed programme this week, too much to do everything! From treetop adventures and museum trips, to gymnastic and sports taster sessions, and of course social meet ups of all sorts.

We wish you and your families a wonderful year, full of fun and learning! For the community as a whole we hope that the upcoming new guidance on home education and the consultation will be a positive step forwards towards greater trust between home educators and the Education Authority. 

To get involved we suggest that you join the HEdNI Facebook group to connect socially and find out about events.

NSKA Drama Group

Kids from the NSKA Drama group perform

Children from the 'No school kids allowed' drama group with Kids In Control marked the start of Summer with a workshop for friends and family. The sessions will begin again in September for home educated children of 11 and up.

HEdNI Singers to Join Peace Proms

Peace Proms 2017 - massed choir

We're delighted to be a part of the Peace Proms. We will be learning the songs at home and as part of our regular 'big sing' events with the lovely Kirsty who has arranged our participation. Our group will attend a workshop early next year and finally participate in the Peace Proms in 2018 as part of a choir of 3000 singers and a full orchestra.

http://peaceproms.com/peace-proms/register-for-peace-proms-2018/

Visit to Ulster Flying Club - by Myles Taylor

Visit to Ulster Flying Club- children with plane

On 11th May 2017 we visited the Ulster Flying Club in Newtownards. 

First Rodney showed us the Fire and Rescue pickup truck. The size of an airport dictates the size of the rescue squad. We saw the fire equipment. It was very interesting to see the aerator on the end of the hose’s nozzle which makes the white foam. 

The Election is on the way

Home education visit to Stormont

As we've all seen on the news the election is on the way and our politicians are gearing up to talk to us about what we care about.  

We are working now with the Education Authority to produce guidance on home education which we hope will be both legally accurate and constructive, but there is always the possibility that we may need the support of politicians - individually or as a community - one day in the future.

It is always worth educating and informing our MLAs about home education, and so we offer this sheet for your use on your doorstep.

So much happening!

Meet up at An Creagan in the woods

We have seen a real explosion recently in exciting groups, classes and opportunities for home educated children all over Northern Ireland.  From weekly themed meet ups, two swimming classes, drama, ice skating and parkour to museum trips, workshops and living history... and so much more.  Take a look at the events listed here!

Home education in Northern Ireland went through a difficult period in 2014 with the release of that ill-conceived draft policy and the worry and distrust that it stirred up... but we have come out of it stronger and closer and we are now reaping the rewards of having such an active and friendly community.

With work on the new guidance continuting in the Working Group we are hopeful that we will now be entering into a brighter period where our energies can go towards creating these amazing opportunities for our children, and providing them with an excellent education.  Good Guidance from the Education Authority will help to create a strong basis for trust and respect for home education in Northern Ireland.

Much improved guidance from DHSSPSNI

We welcome the changes made to the guidance on Co-operating to Safeguard Young People, and the way in which our concerns have clearly been heard and addressed.

The new guidance can be found here: https://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dhssps/co-o...

The section on home education now reads

"Elective Home Education is the term used when a parent chooses to provide education for their child at home instead of enrolling them in school as provided for under Article 45 of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. There is currently no legal requirement for parents to notify the Education Authority (EA) of their intention to home educate. However, in accordance with the Registration and Attendance of Pupils Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1974, the EA must be notified by a school when a child of compulsory school age who has been enrolled in a school has been deregistered to be Electively Home Educated.

 The EA is currently developing new procedures and arrangements to help parents who home educate and to encourage them to seek support. These procedures are being informed by a consultation exercise that took place during 2014. The procedures will be set within the existing legislative framework. 

As with children enrolled as pupils in a school, if any safeguarding concerns become evident, they must be referred to the appropriate authorities.  "

We believe that accurate and clear guidance within the law will help professionals in working with those young people who are in need of their assistance.

Congratulations Benji!

Benji with his certificates

Many congratulations to Benji for doing so well at the Ulster School's Chess Championships.  Benji is home educated and has discovered a real passion for chess, we are very proud of him.

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