HED0005

Written evidence submitted by [member of the public]

 

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

 

I do wish time would be taken to debate 'why are so many parents removing their children from main-stream school'.  If schools were delivering what parents want - then they would send be sending them to school.

 

More and more parents are realising that ‘schools’ are out-dated institutions that are no longer fit for purpose and do not teach children the skills they really need in life.  The emphasis on teaching to the test is wrong, and if someone needs to give an explanation as to why the increase in home education has risen significantly in the last couple years, they need to exam the damage that Michael Gove did in changing the curriculum. You also need to look at how Multi Academy Trusts put targets above children’s mental wellbeing – and whilst you are at it – have you seen the in-human isolation booths that schools use to ‘control’ behaviour. If you haven’t taken a look - see if you be happy for your child to be place in one for hours, upon hours at a time.  [personal information], despite making a formal complaint it was not upheld [personal information].

 

I would like to share the reason why I decided to leave my career and take on her full responsibility for the education. She is now doing so well she will be taking her GCSE Maths next summer; she will be [age].

 

Firstly, I need to establish the woefully low standard of education my daughter received whilst at The [school], in [location], which was found to be inadequate by Ofsted last year and placed into special measures.  It was once a world-renowned school [potentially identifying information].  The school went downhill shortly after the new national curriculum was introduced and the learning aged raised.

1. The only History my daughter was taught in her three and a half years at the school was World War 1. She had no idea who the Vikings or Anglo Saxons were, what the Doomsday Book was, or how important and relevant the Magna Carta is.

2. From Year 5 to when she left halfway through Year 6 her Art book shows she had only five lessons. 

3. English – my daughter tells me that she had to share Comprehension papers 1:3- how on earth could she be expected to grasp the principles of basic comprehension when she had such limited access to the paper she was meant to be understanding. She had never taken a Verbal Reasoning Test.

4. Writing – despite telling the school time and time again that they needed to make special provision for her being a ‘leftie’, they failed to address this. Imagine how hard it is if you are left handed and are made to sit on a table with right- handed children and how difficult it is to write with a fountain pen.

 Instead of accommodating her needs they made her write in uncomfortable (un-ergonomic) positions and repeatedly told her handwriting was poor and she must try harder because she smudged the ink when she wrote. It does not take a genius to work out why this was happening.

The teacher’s completely destroyed her confidence and it has been hard to get her to realise she was doing nothing wrong and her hand-writing, is in fact, very good and neat.

5. Reading – she tells me she was only ever asked to read out loud to the teacher once at the start of Y6 and twice in Y5. And she never completed a book from cover to cover, as the teacher’s would keep changing them.

6. Geography – her exercise book showed that she had only ever studied the rain-forest in both Y5 and Y6.

7. Maths – some of the techniques and formulas she was taught were wrong.

8. The key reason for removing her from mainstream education was that from [date] to when she left at the end of [date] all she had done in Y6 was SAT’s tests and revision, for most of the day, every day. If the class (as a whole) had not performed well enough, they were all made to do extra work during break and lunch times.

[personal information]

 ....And there was me naively thinking teachers and schools had a legal obligation to ensure a ‘duty of care’ towards children; in my opinion the way she and other children were treated bordered on institutional child cruelty yet written complaints made about this to the Head Teacher were ignored. No thought or care was ever given to providing her with an ‘all-round general education’ during her time at school – yet you feel there is a need to introduce monitoring powers to local authorities........

In a recent EHE report presented to [Local Authority] Monitoring and Scrutiny Committee [date] it was suggested there could be possible concerns over ‘safeguarding’ i.e. checks on Home Tutors employed by parents. This should include ensuring that the families/carers taking this option are informed regarding key safeguarding practices such as safe recruitment and employment of staff to work with their children (tutors) and the LA should lead on ensuring all safeguarding concerns that are enforced within schools (FGM / CSE / Radicalisation) are applied to EHE families.

What a shame [Local Authority] did not have the same vigorous approach to ‘safeguarding’ they are demanding from parents when it allowed [school] to appoint and then extend the contract of a Head Teacher [name] despite the fact I had pointed out and made a formal complaint to the Chair of Governors et al when he first joined the school that he had just left a failing school, two weeks prior to an Ofsted inspection which placed it into special measures!

The Task and Finish Group - who investigated why [school] had gone from a world-renowned centre of educational innovation and excellence to one that I and other parents had to remove our children from to ensure they were receiving an education that was indeed suitable for their ability, aptitude and age – concluded that his appointment and the failure to check his references was one the main reasons the school failed. With all that in mind I am totally confident my child is now receiving an education that is suitable for her age, ability, and aptitude - which is something the state system and [Local Authority] lamentably failed to provide.

So briefly, let us see what we have done in just over a year that we have been home learning.

We are loosely following the KS3 Curriculum using CPG books, we use TES and Twinkl teaching resources, Open Learning, BBC Bitesize, You Tube, etc. etc. etc.- the variety of resources we use are too numerous to mention and depends entirely on what subject we are looking at.

She has access to three PC’s, colour printer/scanner, digital cameras and an iPad, along with supervised, unrestricted use of the internet. All software and operating platforms she uses are the latest versions. We also have on-call technical support should there be any problems with the IT equipment or the software she uses. Whatever equipment she needs, she has or we buy it for her.

We get support from both local and national Home Educating Groups’ and she takes part in national Home Ed activity groups, such as pen-friend letter/international card exchanges and a new photography club, which we have set up

Some of the subjects we have covered are:

English; which includes Comprehension, weekly Verbal Reasoning Tests, and various writing, style and technique exercises. Poetic devices, understanding poetry (Way Through the Woods, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose and various pop songs etc). Reading; at least 10 pages a day of reading out loud – books covered include 'The Secret Garden' and 'Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl.'

Maths; she has a ‘qualified’ maths tutor   something not found in many schools these days.

 It is anticipated that she will start her iGCSE Maths ahead of her peers.

Geography; Biome’s, each of the Continents in detail, natural hazards, rocks.

History; from Anglo Saxon’s, Magna Carta, the Black Death and the Peasants Revolt.

Science; pollination and plant reproduction, DNA - including taking a test to discover her own Ancestry and family history.

Environmental  Science; looking at reducing, reusing and recycling items. Sowing and growing vegetables. Sustainability.

Social Science; inspirational women, voting, Parliament, Human Rights, Taxation, Hinduism, all national and religious days are observed with linked activities such as cooking and crafts.

Money Management; budgets, managing money, keeping accounts and understanding expenditure, debt and credit cards, savings, taxation and opening a bank account and managing her own debit and credit card.

Food Science; food hygiene, kitchen safety, identifying and using equipment, menu planning, costing out and party planning. Cooking foods from different cuisines and understanding food labels and content, including salt and sugar levels in food.

IT; understanding the various internal and external components of a computer, including taking one apart. Learning the various Office suites. Storage and data transfer. Speed typing. She has also coded two games.

Design Technology;  looking at different woods and joints found in furniture, techniques for up-cycling furniture - which included up-cycling an old table with paint and stencils; putting together a flat-pack bedroom unit using basic tools.

Art; we have covered Clarice Cliff, Monet, Picasso and worked with various materials such as oil, water-colour, acrylics, sketching pencils. Craft; Various wool crafts, sewing, embroidery, making a rug from scrap wool.

Outdoor learning; Identifying seasonal wild flowers, shrubs, fungi and trees, sowing and growing various vegetables.

Socialisation;  she belongs and attends two separate gym clubs each week as well as an Ice Skating Club. She has achieved Gold Level Ice Skating, now working on her national bronze award and Level 8 gymnastics. She attends holiday Gym camps and Multi Activity Centre’s and a weekly LTA Tennis course for local home educated children.

She goes swimming with friends. She has her primary school friends’ round (when they are not restricted by the ridiculous amounts of homework they are given).

She uses her iPad ‘Lively' and 'Musically’ app’s to talk to friends; she is extremely bright, articulate and confident. She interacts easily with friends, family and people who visit the house on a daily basis, i.e the postman, neighbours, various trades’ people etc.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF RESOURCES AVAILABLE OR SUBJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN COVERED IN THE PAST YEAR

I trust this demonstrates that my daughter is indeed receiving a personalised education that is tailored to her individual learning style - something a school, WBC and the State could not and cannot provide - and that she has access to a wealth of resources they simply could not afford. We do not need monitoring, we do not need support we just need to be able to get on with fulfilling our legal duty to ensure our children receive an education fit for their ability, age and aptitude because clearly the Government cannot.

 

 October 2020