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  #11  
Old 23-04-12, 16:24
elizm elizm is offline
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Originally Posted by elysian View Post
Thanks Elizm, very interesting stuff. They've acknowledged it as an official complaint and confirmed that they will respond within the complaint guidelines timescale, so at least that's something.

I had BBC Lincs get in touch this morning about it; not sure what to do about that - will explain in a thread in the media section.
That's good news, you've gotten a faster start than Lancs did. Hope it continues to go well.
We ignored any media involvement except to publicise the consultation once it happened.
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  #12  
Old 26-04-12, 14:37
elysian elysian is offline
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Have had a reply from Lincs CC. The full version can be seen here (was too big to add as an attachment here) - please do read. Basically, it's shockingly arrogant and fails to answer most of my points [added: and falls back on the usual bollocks of a) policy was developed in conjunction with home educators and b) the majority are happy to co-operate], but the big issue of concern is this:

"Advice from our legal services states that;
If a parent is refusing to engage, the LA must be entitled to presume that the educational provision being provided at home is not suitable unless evidence can be provided to the contrary. Elective home education associations commonly assert that a LA has no power to investigate whether the provision being made at home is suitable unless they are notified of any concerns. This is clearly unsustainable as a LA is unlikely to be able to establish such concerns unless they endeavour to investigate that provision."

WTF???

I confess that I wasn't expecting their legal experts to, um fail to understand the law quite that badly. What they have stated above could possibly be an interpretation of the law if a family refuses to respond to them in the first instance, but I cannot see how it is a correct interpretation of the law when it comes to ongoing monitoring. I also can't imagine how they think that's going to work in practice with a family who refuses to provide further evidence; as I understand it, before they can issue a school attendance order they have to have provided the family with details of their exact concerns, and given the family a chance to fix those concerns. So without any such concerns other than a vague "we want to stick our noses in and the family won't let us", how do they think they're going to proceed?

I will have a ponder for a few days as to how to deal with this. All input welcome. Meanwhile, in Lincolnshire the "supervision" of elective home education is dealt with by CBFT under the guise of Lincolnshire Schools Improvement Service. Their head is currently refusing to answer my requests for clarification over their exact role in setting and "enforcing" the ongoing monitoring policy, and has failed to provide me with details of *their* complaints procedure. I'm not impressed, to put it mildly.

Off for a calming walk or something!

Last edited by elysian; 26-04-12 at 14:41.
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  #13  
Old 26-04-12, 15:55
elysian elysian is offline
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That little gem of a paragraph from their legal department seems to me to clearly indicate a LA which is not happy with the law as it stands (well, duh) but more importantly which is aware that its practices are ultra vires, but seeks to justify them on the basis of its belief that the law should be changed. In other words, I think they're itching to get into court to test the current legal position.

The next stage in their complaints procedure is the Chief Exec - however, I'm thinking of replying after the weekend to this woman herself:

a) pointing out that the comments from the legal dept show a guilty until proven innocent approach to home ed which is both disturbing and without foundation in law;

b) asking her to justify the LA's position in terms of effectively condoning/encouraging ultra vires practices in order to force a test case and

c) asking her to justify their apparent willingness to spend tax payers' money on inevitable court proceedings against a home educator (that would be me) who is acting within the law.

In doing so, I'm hoping to get her to dig a deeper hole for herself, which I can then refer upwards to the Chief Exec. I'll still be pondering for a few days though, so if anyone has an alternative approach to recommend that would be very welcome.
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  #14  
Old 26-04-12, 16:00
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She seems to be a mite confused about which kind of home educator to investigate.

There's the one who 'doesn't engage' which they may have grounds to investigate (or may not. The home edder could be away or ill or not have received the enquiry...)

Then there's the average soul who is home educating, and there is no duty to investigate long term for this person. They may make enquiries that the home educator satisfies by producing a letter or DVD or... whatever which would satisfy a reasonable 'man' that the child is being provided with an education suitable to the child's age etc.

They sound very negative, and rather frightened.

Diane
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  #15  
Old 26-04-12, 16:59
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llondel llondel is offline
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Quote:
In other words, I think they're itching to get into court to test the current legal position
That's unusual, because normally they don't want it clarified in case they lose. Far better from their POV to back down in a few individual cases (usually making some remarks about how they've managed to determine that there isn't a problem) but keep using the threats to cow the less confident.

However, we're stuck with the situation until either it does come to court, there's clarifying guidance from DfE or the law is changed. Any of those could go either way, which is why I perceive that most people are sitting tight.

While I have my view on law, I have a feeling that it would be a brave appeal judge who'd support it given that it's against the prevailing nanny-state culture where the state has to be involved in everything. I suspect that if we did win, there would be an attempt to engineer a bad case that came about entirely to the restrictions on LAs given in the judgement so that either a higher court could be encouraged to reverse it, or there would be calls to change the law to avoid it.
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  #16  
Old 30-04-12, 22:47
elysian elysian is offline
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Apologies, forgot to update this thread with progress on this complaint. I did post on Facebook and my blog about it; I don't mean to flood anyone with information if you've already seen it.

I replied to Debbie Barnes with this: http://secondaryathome.files.wordpre...8-april-12.pdf

She is, apparently, looking into it. Gee.

Meanwhile, as explained here: http://secondaryathome.wordpress.com...ouncil-part-4/ I have various freedom of information and other things going on, trying to get to the bottom of *why* the policy was suddenly changed, which may or may not have anything to do with seemingly dodgy (morally, at least, if not legally) links between CfBT and Lincs County Council. So, it's a work in progress
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  #17  
Old 20-05-12, 07:29
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Default But if you've got nothing to hide...

Just updating this thread with a link to elysian's latest post.

But if you've got nothing to hide...

Quote:
...itís depressing because so many people donít seem to understand that it matters when an authority tries to pretend that it has powers it does not have. It especially matters when a local authority takes the position that an entire section of its community is guilty until proven innocent. Itís home educators at the moment. Who might it be next?

Itís also depressing that people could think I would voluntarily put myself and my family through this hassle and stress for something which did not matter. It really, really matters.
Quote:
...we are not criminals in waiting, who need to prove our innocence on a regular basis. We have broken no laws. If the law was changed tomorrow to allow home education monitoring, we would go along with it through gritted teeth, however much we disagree with it. Because, like most families, we are law abiding citizens. Yet this local authority breaks the law with impunity, simply because it disagrees with it Ė because it finds the current law on home education ďunsustainable.Ē A fundamental right is the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. That this local authority can so blatantly disregard that right for home educating families tells you all you need to know about them, their agendas, and why we will stand and fight, for as long as it takes.
Well said, that woman!
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  #18  
Old 20-05-12, 11:23
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Elysian, you are to be applauded for your tenacity with this. They really are unbelievable, and desperately need keeping in their place.

It all stems back to the Badman era, I believe, or possibly before - Lincs CC's response to the consultation was full of calls for compulsory monitoring, seeing the children alone etc etc. They're obviously so disappointed that Badman's proposals never came to be, they've decided to act as though they did anyway, and hope nobody notices. The levels of arrogance, and ignorance, are staggering, really.
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  #19  
Old 20-05-12, 18:52
glenngranter glenngranter is offline
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Have they harmed you? Have they given you mental anguish? Have they harassed you?

Well, it's plain to any reasonable person that thay have done all three.

At best, they are due for having legal action taken against them in a claim for compensation for the damage they have done to you so far.

Really they should be prosecuted in law for committing criminal acts (Just because they are paid by the 'powers that be' it does not mean that they are immune to retribution from criminal action)

They should not be excused from breaking the law!

(Phone 999 and say we are being harassed by a stalker) (The police would laugh)
(It's not a stalker, it's just them looking after you, I imagine the reply would be from the police, who always protect us for harm)

Attack may be the best form of defence?

Could we all chip in and make this work and take them to court?

If I could find an insurance policy that would protect my rights to home educate my chidren I would gladly pay.

Legal firm needed to suppot us on a nationwide basis.

(Or a Doctor John's miracle cure. One solve, compensation sure, no fees, elixior for the right of right!) (Pay up for the damages. Sack the creatures, Better Carry On)
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  #20  
Old 20-05-12, 20:01
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A new line of approach occurred to me today. They always highlight that while most of us are just fine ("We're not the abusers they're looking for", with apologies to George Lucas) there are one or two rogue families out there which is why they feel the need to check all of us in order to find the one or two.

From our side, it's simple - lots of LAs are just fine[*], but because there are one or two rogue ones, we deal with that by withdrawing cooperation from all of them in order to avoid the one or two.
[*] Poetic licence
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