Friday, January 26, 2007

Parties - fun and politics

Spent and enjoyable few hours at a birthday party for one of our home educating friends. It was lovely seeing children of different ages all playing so nicely together.
Today was my meeting with our local MP - what did I have to say? Actually quite a lot in ten minutes. I raised the issue of the Government's consultation into home education. Our MP promised to ask when the consultation was to commence but being a member of the opposition he acknowledged he probably wouldn't be given a very definitive answer. Something along the lines of "shortly" but he would ask anyway. He said if we had any specific questions that we wanted raising with Ministers he could do that for us and asked us to copy him in to our response to the DfES consultation.
I then took a few minutes to highlight some specific concerns I have about the way home educators are treated and how we are prejudiced against. In the current education system if you are dissatisfied with the State system and unlike Ruth Kelly you do not have the means to opt for the private system, home education is your only real choice. Once you opt to home educate you are immediately prejudiced against. For example, you cannot access many of the resources available to state schools, finding exam centres that take external candidates is extremely difficult, and if you want to access courses at an FE college and your child is under sixteen then you have to pay for them. All in all a very inequitable system. Our MP acknowledged that whilst he had never previously considered the problems faced by home educators he agreed the education system was inequitable.
One slightly worrying comment he did make was that if his party were in power he thinks they would have some reservations if there was a huge increase in the number of people home educating as it would be almost impossible to monitor - hmmmm. Well even given this last comment I think it was a fairly positive meeting and it is good to know that our MP is at last doing some work for us after all we do pay his wages.

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