Could self-regulation be the answer for home educators faced with renewed registration fears?

Self-regulation has provided private tutors and their clients with community, reassurance and a unified voice – and it can do the same for parents.

Back in 2012, Tutors International was one of the first to recognise the need for a professional body for private tutoring in the UK, acknowledging that, for some families, finding a credible and reliable tutor had become a lottery. Due to the lack of a recognised qualification for tutors and a place for parents to turn for advice to ensure the quality of the tutoring they were paying for, the profession was suffering alongside the students.

Fast-forward to the present day and we are now seeing these concerns echoed with regard to homeschooling families. Following the preventable death of an 8 year old boy and revelations that children attending unregistered schools in the UK were being exposed to extremism and radicalisation, education secretary Nicky Morgan has issued a call to action for tighter regulation in UK home education. Naturally, this has raised an alarm within the homeschooling community, keen to retain control of their children’s education and safeguard their privacy.

 

Legitimate concerns

Many people choose to educate their own children at home because the traditional education system in this country has failed them or because they want their children to have the freedom to learn, according to their own needs, in the privacy of the family home.

I sincerely believe that these families have nothing to fear from any proposed new regulatory system, as they are not the reason it is needed.

In the case of Dylan Seabridge, local authorities had (according to The Independent) no right to intervene and only “informal” access to the boy in the run-up to his death, despite concerns for his wellbeing. The only way we can know for sure that more children aren’t falling under the radar in this way, is to implement some form of regulation.  The BBC has commented that “current regulations do not give authorities enough power to monitor home educated children.”

Those who approach home education with care and responsibility have no reason to feel threatened. It’s about having systems in place to alert authorities and allow them to intervene where a child’s safety or human rights are genuinely at stake.

Since I spoke in January to lend my support for further regulation concerning homeschooling in the UK, I have heard feedback from many concerned parents, and I completely understand and can empathise with these concerns – but there is a potential solution.

 

A threat? Or an opportunity?

The call for regulation among private tutors was answered in October 2013, with the launch of The Tutors Association (TTA); an organisation comprised of tutoring companies and individual freelance tutors, delivering community and a unified and coherent voice for the profession along with a clear set of agreed professional standards and guidelines to refer to should concerns arise.

I believe that, if such a body was formed within the homeschooling community, the government would not feel such a need to look for oversight themselves.

If home educators can come together to create a broad set of all-encompassing standards, a spokesperson to advocate for the community as a whole and a means to raise the alarm should any concerns arise, it is entirely possible for them to retain full control and eliminate any need for proposed government controls.

Whilst it may be tempting to close ranks and fight, this could be the perfect opportunity to seize even further control over their children’s education

Since it was formed, Tutors International has been active in assisting The Tutors Association and, in 2015, I also became a member of NAFSA: The Association of International Educators. I am fully prepared to donate my own time to assist in the formation of such an organisation to represent home educators, should the need arise. I am also available to provide one to one support and guidance for families with any concerns regarding what such a formation would entail, without charge.

If home educators can seize control and safeguard themselves, as a community, this has the potential to eliminate the need for government intervention completely.

 

 

4 Comments
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Ebardie

“If home educators can come together” – that’s your problem right there. We’re an *inherently* disparate bunch.

Rose

In the Dylan Seabridge case, the LA did have the power to intervene and to see the child. Unfortunately, the education dept. was sent to visit the Seabridges and they do not have the same powers as Social Services. Pembrokeshire Social Services department was in a mess and put into special measures around this time. If they had done their job properly there would hopefully have been a different outcome. Children die when welfare and education are conflated.

Graeme Evans

“In the case of Dylan Seabridge, local authorities had no power to intervene and no access to the boy in the run-up to his death, despite concerns for his wellbeing. The only way we can know for sure that more children aren’t falling under the radar in this way, is to implement some form of regulation.” What an idiotic statement, Local Authorities have every power to intervene and if you knew anything at all about what you are talking about you would know the Education Act’s create no impediment to accessing children for welfare concerns. If you lifted your head… Read more »