Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quick Recap

On Sunday Roarke and I took Jonathan and travelled in the afternoon up to Sheffield - through rain, sleet and snow (with, remember, leaking sunroofs!). The other three boys stayed with my Mum. This was so that we could be in Sheffield town centre early Monday morning for EO's meeting with DCSF.

We stayed overight at a travelodge.

I have to mention McDonalds here. Whilst I have many issues with them, and am aware that many people are quite anti McD for good reason, trying to find something to eat out that was soya, gluten and dairy free - on the motorway - they were my only option.

They fresh cooked their burger and served it with fries on a breakfast tray, and then the next morning, I had one of their breakfasts which was a sausage pattie, bacon (and I got extra, free!), and two hash browns.

Sunday night I had a delicious meal at Fiona's which was definately the culinary highlight of my week!

Needless to say, Sunday night Jonathan kept me up every 1 1/2, but as the poor lamb was completely confused by the 5 hour journey up, and being without his brothers, I can't really blame him.

The meeting took 3 hours on Monday, and went better than I had expected.

This is the interim report from the meeting:


What follows is a brief note about the meeting today between Education Otherwise and the Elective Home Education team from the DSCF. From EO there was Fiona Nicholson, Annette Taberner, Ann Newstead and Joss Nowell. DCSF had Iain Campbell and Denise Hunter. ( both of whom looked QUITE YOUNG)

The Consultation report and guidelines are with ministers now. Denise and Iain think they will both be published at the end of the month. They stressed again how very many consultation responses they had received.

We took the issue of safeguarding head on. Denise confirmed that the new guidelines would reflect new legislation and guidance on safeguarding. This was the only piece of "news" about the content of the guidelines and we just noted it in passing.

We demolished the London Safeguarding Schools Lead Network consultation response, showing how it was all hearsay about home education. We were also able to prove how this draft had influenced many other safeguarding responses. I left them with a short paper about this.We also followed the Eunice Spry, Jo Grills, Jo Davidson Beverley Hughes paper trail about how it wasn't about home education but that Jo Grills had still been personally invited by Beverly Hughes to use the home education guidelines consultation to raise her safeguarding concerns again. EO also went through the stuff about Jo Davidson of Gloucestershire Children's Services being invited onto the DCSF Children's Panel, how she had ear of Ministers, how there was not a level playing field here.

Ann told them about the Bexley truancy case, the boy being bundled into the car, how Ann had to go and brief police and EWOs. They already knew about Sheffield truancy briefing. EO said there's something very wrong here that the law is the law but everyone makes it up as they go along in different areas, couldn't Darlington issue a big signpost to the correct procedure. Denise and Iain seemed dubious they could do anything about that. Annette kept pressing the point would it be the Home Office we should speak to then, and I think in the end they thought it would be. ( I have to check my records of the meeting, sorry too tired to do it tonight...meeting went on for three hours...)

As with quite a few other things DCSF was confirming with us that we should raise concerns with them and then they would identify the appropriate department/person and facilitate introduction.

We had short session with a representative from the 14-19 Unit where we raised a number of issues, agreed that the time was too short and that we would need to meet again. We are arranging a meeting with the Children Missing Education team, aiming to get Denise and Iain there too. We explained how ContactPoint and CME was huge issue with local authorities getting it wrong. (We requested Sharon Pitchford attend today's meeting but she had another appointment. )

We are meeting the home education people again in January, have to fix date. Both sides agreed that this was different type of meeting from usual EO/DfES . Iain said they were meeting us because we were stakeholders. They also agreed they need meeting with EO Disability Group, probably in Darlington. They were familiar with contents of recent email from DG but I read bits out anyway and took printout for everyone.

Fiona Nicholson Chair Education Otherwise Government Policy Group


The drive home was even longer, though, and I got quite adept at feeding Jonathan whilst he was still in his car seat ;0) I got rather lop sided though...

The boys had been very good with their Nan, and had also all done some "learning" at her behest!

Last night I actually got a reasonable night, which was brilliant!

Today I'm trying to catch up (sounds familiar) with EO work, business work, and home educating!


lotusbirther said...

I'd love to see what evidence you used to take aprt the LondonSCB paper as it is directly quoted by NSPCC in their consultation to CME response, which appears to me to be the reason for this current whirlwind "independent consultation" and personally i think that if the case can be thrown out as hearsay, along with a reasoned description of the spry case, the review can come out favourably towards home ed families

thenewstead6 said...

When EO followed this up with the LSCB, tracing the minuted comment back to who made it, actually they have been unable to produce ANY evidence to back this up. No cases that they could refer to. No files. No paperwork... maybe this will all come out during Badman's review...

lotusbirther said...

Thanks. Is there any way of following that up? I might mention it in my response to the dreaded you know what.