Friday, June 19, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Well I guess the majority of my readers will understand why I've been absent for a few weeks...

On 11th June Graham Badman published his Report into Home Education, and Ed Balls simultaneously published his response.

I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. I'm utterly exhausted, emotional wrung out, angry, frustrated...

I feel betrayed at a personal level by Graham Badman. I think any home educator (especially autonomous ones) who met him during the course of his "data gathering", and those of us who met him as representatives of home ed organisations (EO and HEAS), have a right to feel angry. A man who could have looked us in the eye and said "I assure you I 'get' autonomous home education" and then writes the insulting, inappropriate, draconian rubbish that the report contains didn't GET anything.

All we have GOT is hung out to dry.

On the day of the publication my phone did not stop ringing. At one point I was on the phone to the press, Roarke was on my mobile answering a query, and Josh had the press ringing for me on HIS phone.

At 5.30am on Thursday Josh and I got up (as did Roarke of course) and at 6 o'clock we were collected by a car and driven to the BBC. We went into the Green Room (which is red, of course) for BBC Breakfast. Tony Mooney (well known sadly to home educators) and Dr Rosemary Leonard were there. It didn't appear to occur to either of them that the child and mother in the room were there for the home education piece so they both spoke quite freely.

In this litigious society I shall refrain from posting publically what they both said, though Tony didn't say anything that we haven't heard him spout before, but I can say I was not impressed with the attitude of the Dr and hope that her comments were born out of ignorance rather than anything else.

We then went on and did our bit. If you didn't see it then the clip is on YouTube. Enjoy the moment when Tony Mooney's phone went off. The camera doesn't do the moment justice. The camera also doesn't do justice to the look on Bill and Kate's faces when I said that my boys don't do any formal academic work at all....

From there Josh (wasn't he FAB?!) and I went to the Green Room (magnolia) for BBC News Channel and we appeared on there live around 8.40. I just think my 13 year old son is AWESOME for being so willing to get up early, to go on live tv in front of millions, and be so cool about it all. Even before home ed he was an amazing person - but home ed has given him the chance to truly embrace and be what he is.

We then were brought home and there followed a manic time as the Report was then published. Every single newspaper and station in the country it seemed wanted a quote from EO.

In the midst of it all, Newsround turned up to film Josh (did I mention how amazing he is?). Then the BBC rang and asked if I could go back in for the evening news.

So at 3 oclock, having just had my first food of the day, I got back in the car - alone this time - and went back up to London. Of course this was the second day of the tube strike so the traffic all day was awful.

I went back to the BBC News Channel Green Room and went on air live around 5.40pm. Nice moment was when someone for the next news item came in and said "oh I recognise you from the tele this morning"! Fame! Or is in infamy...?

Whilst I was waiting in the Green Room someone came in from the 6 O'clock news to ask if I would do a piece to camera, pre recorded, for the show. If I had known the inaccurate way they would be linking Spry with home education in the piece I would NOT have taken part.

After I finished with the BBC I was collected by car by More4 who took me across to their studios to do a live piece for Thursday's evening More4 News live at about 8.30pm. By this time in the day I was utterly fed up with all the rubbish being thrown at home educators. Before leaving at 3pm I had had the misfortune to have been able to read the Report in detail and I was still feeling sick. The poor reporter got more than he bargained for and people who watched it said it was obvious that he was not happy with the answers he was getting and that someone was shouting in his ear to stop the interview!

By now I was exhausted
and I really didn't want to do anything anymore. Roarke had come up to meet me, knowing how I would be feeling, and we got the car home together. We collected the boys from Mum; ironically our friends who are both teachers had been helping by looking after Samuel and William whilst Roarke came up to meet me, and had then taken them over to Mum who had Josh and Jonathan. Roarke drove us home then went to get me a take away as I had only had that one sandwich all day.

Josh went straight to bed, bless him (10.15 by then) and I finally got into bed at about 11.15pm.

Friday I was still in shock from the report, still answering the phone, doing live interviews on three local radio stations, still feeling displaced from everything the day before.

Saturday it all caught up with me I think! Fortunately we had a birthday party to go to, for Callum, in the Medway and seeing Sheila and Phil really helped (and Phil's home made beer REALLY helped!). Sunday I felt yuk and just wanted to sleep all day.

This week has been tough too. Every highlight brings pain because every magical family moment (like Jonathan falling asleep on me on the trampoline), every autonomous home ed "moment" (like realising that somehow, without doing a shred of written work or reading, Samuel has learnt to spell all on his own somewhere in the past few months) brings the immediate pain of realising that this Government is determined to take away my freedoms.

Another day I will write on why it is so bad for ALL parents, and why everyone should be supporting us at this time, but today we had our HE meeting and I have talked about it so much that I am sick of hearing my own thoughts.

If you haven't already, I suggest you go over to Dare to Know and read someone who is much better placed than I to outline the situation.

Please also, if you haven't already, sign this petition.

The fraudulent consultation, if you are interested in reading it, is here.


Shirl said...

Once again Ann thank you for all your hard work.

Home ed is way too precious a freedom to give up without a fight.

Shirl x

Elaine said...

Lovely post Ann - well done to you all. It sounded like an extrememly hectic day for you (and Josh).

Emma said...

I've just looked at your youtube recordings and I think you and Josh were both great!
You must have been exhausted after all those interviews.