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Exam Worries

Many parents of home educated exam candidates are concerned after receiving an email from the Education Authority this morning. The email states that all exams are cancelled and advises parents to contact the relevant Exam Board. It appears that we are on our own.

Teenager studying for Japanese GCSE with support of online tutor

We understand the complexities of these times but we believe that the EA is in a position to offer information and support to those children who are affected by this, and that the EA should not wash their hands of us.

There are two initial steps which the EA could take which would be positive.

1. The EA could issue advice to universities, colleges and schools which explains the situation for private candidates and encourages flexibility on required qualifications for admission. Many home educated children will be trying to make a case for this and their support would be appreciated.

2. The EA could investigate what the exam boards they offer will require in terms of proof and collate the information. Not only would their enquiry and concerns carry more weight, but it would ease the burden on the Board and would facilitate keeping everyone informed.

The EA spoke a great deal during the recent Consultation and Working Group on the new Guidance about the importance of building a good working relationship with home educators, and indeed about the importance of access to qualifications. Their support is needed now.

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Lockdown Education

Many parents are currently thinking a lot about home education because they find themselves once again dealing with remote schooling. Dealing with remote education from the school is a little different to elective home education, which is our area of focus.

Useful groups for those home schooling due to Covid can be found here:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/847182989101691?group_view_referrer=search

https://m.facebook.com/groups/2600217313594113?group_view_referrer=search

https://m.facebook.com/groups/715638245690170?group_view_referrer=search

Many home educators have also joined those groups to provide support and advice.

To prevent the current high interest overwhelming our group we are closed to those who have not actually deregistered from school until March. This is not to be unfriendly, but to preserve our focus on elective home education.

If you are considering home education and you feel that it is urgent for you to join the group, or you need help with the process of deregistration then please message our news page https://m.facebook.com/hedniorg/ or explain your situation in response to the join questions.

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New Guidelines and Exam Information

The EA have published the new guidelines at https://www.eani.org.uk/services/elective-home-education, which will bring welcome clarity and information to home educators and those considering home education. You can also find exam information for 2021 here- https://www.eani.org.uk/services/elective-home-education#public-examinations-2021. The Education Authority ask that queries and applications are sent to EHE.Exam.Enquiries@eani.org.uk

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Fantastic Fiction

Our community has been invited to take part in an exclusive story-making project by Libraries NI & Fighting words with 20 schools.

Our home educated children are very excited to be given consideration and can’t wait to submit their entries! 

The most up-to-date project information can be found at

http://www.fightingwords.co.uk/fantastic-fictions

Home educating in a pandemic

Many parents are currently considering home education, for many reasons but not least because of the pandemic.  This is a confusing and difficult time and we are doing all we can to help both new home educators and those who are dealing with having school chidlren at home.

A recent consultation gave rise to new guidance which should be coming into force in September.  Recent events make this a little uncertain, but we believe that it is a useful document for parents even before it comes into force.  Guidance is not law in any case and can only give an indication of intentions and current EA approach, so this document can be useful even while waiting for Ministerial approval.

The best starting point for any new home educator is to read the FAQs here and then join the HEdNI Facebook Group with any questions – the group is open to home educators and those seriously considering home education. For those affected by school closures we recommend this group, which has many experienced home educators in it for support and advice.

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Library Entitlement

We are happy to announce that from January the 6th 2020 home educated children can apply for a home education entitlement card. This new card will allow them to borrow more books than the standard – 15 books for three weeks rather than the usual 9.

We know how welcome this will be to families all over Northern Ireland! 

A note on privacy:

We have discussed concerns that families have over their personal data and any hint of a register with Libraries NI, and we are confident that this is a useful and positive initiative. No register will be kept and no details shared.  However any family who prefers not to take up the offer can of course continue to use the standard library card.