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HEdNI Response

"An effective home education policy should foster co-operation between the education authorities and home educating families, supporting them to provide an excellent education for their children. HEdNI believes that such a relationship is possible but only if built on the firm foundations of an accurate view of the legal powers and duties of the Boards, a flexible and responsive system to support such a policy, and an acknowledgement of the parent as prime advocate for their children.

This draft policy cannot legally be enforced, and to attempt to implement it would encourage the intimidation and bullying of new or otherwise vulnerable home educating families. " 

The full document is linked at the bottom, and may be edited before final submission, other responses can be found here.

Consultation Response from Alison Sauer - The Centre for Personalised Education

the centre for personalised education

"The document is hastily put together, intimates without foundation that children become more at risk of harm when home educated, does not recognise current home educating practice or the success of those practices, invents procedures not supported in law, misinterprets legislation and has no recognition whatsoever that a large portion of home educated children do not deregister as they have never attended school.

The policy is badly conceived, badly written, badly formatted, convoluted and not fit for purpose. "

The full document is linked at the bottom, other responses can be found here.

One Week to Submission Deadline

One Week to Submission Deadline

You've got just under a week to get your thoughts on paper - tell the Boards and the Department of Education what you think of the Draft Policy.

There are information and links to download the forms here.

Please give this a moment.  

A brief statement in your own words, explaining that the Boards should act within their legal powers and that they have no duty or power to monitor the education provided.  

Tell them that Home Education is a legally permitted option and not a cause for any concerns; educational or welfare related.

Tell them in a paragraph or so why you feel this is important to you, tell them why you are better placed than a stranger to judge what is best for your child.

If you have time to write more, or you want some inspiration then take a look here.

Please help with Education Otherwise's Survey

Please help by filling in this survey.

The local contact for Education Otherwise is co-ordinating two surveys to gather opinions relating to home education and the monitoring proposed in the current draft.

This is a chance for us to make our voices heard, and especially for those young people who don't intend to submit a response of their own.

Complete a new survey for each respondent.

Time is short, in order to have time to analyse results and formulate Education Otherwise's response. 

It will take only a few minutes (depending on how much you write) so please help; the more responses the better.

Please share widely within Northern Ireland and complete by the 20th- next Friday.

About the UNCRC - addressing the 'balance' between the rights of the child and parental choice

The Right of the Child to have a Green Tongue

The Minister and the Boards have referred to striking a ‘balance between ensuring that the rights and needs of children themselves are appropriately protected and facilitating parental preference for home education’. This assumes conflict between the interests of parents and children, when it is acknowledged in law at every level from local to international that parents are, prima facie, the most appropriate judge of (and advocate for) their child’s best interest. Only in exceptional circumstances should the state take over this essential parental role. There is therefore no such balance to be struck in normal circumstances, given that the parental preference should be assumed to be in the interests of their child – whatever style or form of education they favour. 

Personal Responses

Reading...

This is a collection of personal responses offered for inspiration and information.  Some remain in draft and may be modified before final submission.

Take a look at some of the new submissions...

Mike Eddies has done excellent work writing a very full response and his submission would be an excellent read before you get started - for ideas and inspiration.

Conchur Dickinson provides a good example of a short personal response:

"This policy is fundamentally flawed. As a bare minimum it should have stated why it is needed, the ultimate aims of the policy and some way of measuring its success or failure. Crucially it should have some basis in law, not simply twist unrelated legislation to fit an unstated agenda and enforce wildly inappropriate restrictions on parents attempting to do their best for their children. The law states that it is a parent's duty to educate their child, and the state has no need to be involved at all unless concerns are raised that this education is not being provided. The boards have no right to appoint themselves as regulators of home education, they should instead be concentrating on ensuring that they provide a suitable and effective education for the children whose education has been delegated to their care by their parents choosing to send them to school.

New Discounts Page

20% off Archery

Our new discounts page has just gone live.  We're hoping to get a nice little selection of opportunities for home educators - places to meet, events to enjoy....

Schoolhouse respond to the consultation

Schoolhouse respond to the consultation

http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/schoolhouse-response-t...

"As Scotland’s national home education charity, we had considerable input to research which subsequently informed the current Scottish statutory guidance on home education, which protects the rights of home educating families while acknowledging the responsibilities of local authorities. The law in Scotland is comparable to that of other parts of the UK in that it is parents who are responsible for educating their children, not the state, and education “otherwise” or “by other means” is an equally valid and lawful alternative to schooling. Human rights legislation provides that there should be respect for, and no undue interference in, family life unless there is risk of significant harm to a particular child or children. In Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, there is no duty upon local authorities to ‘monitor’ home education on a routine basis, and informal enquiries and annual updates represent an acceptable form of contact for most families.

Ministerial Answers

Ministerial Answers

Several Ministerial Questions were asked by Danny Kinehan MLA, the most interesting answer is to the last question:

whether the Assembly and the Education Committee will be given the opportunity to engage in the debate about future regulation of home education, currently subject of a consultation process carried out by the Education and Library Boards? (AQW 33476/11-15)

Letter from the Department of Education

Department of Education

The department has sent HEdNI a letter, thanking us for our comments in relation to the consultation.

They state that they must strike a balance between the rights and needs of children, and the facilitating parental preference for home education.  

They say 

"... the Minister will want to review the process following consultation and before the draft policy is finalised".

HEdNI welcomes the opening of a channel of communication but disputes that there is a tension between parental preference and the rights and needs of children.  Parents are acknowledged in National and International Law as, in almost all cases, the best advocates for their children's rights and needs.  

Our response follows;

"Thank you for your letter.  We are reassured to hear that the Minister for Education is taking an interest in this matter, and we very pleased to be able to discuss this.

There has been a certain amount of confusion over whether the consultations are separate and could therefore result in five different policies, so it is interesting to hear that the aim is, or should be, a common process. I think we can all agree that the education and wellbeing of children and young people is paramount.

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