Home education meeting January 30th 2018

Lord Soley

About 30 people attended the meeting last night. Most were home educators and all were either opposed or worried about my Bill and that is why they were invited.


Generally the meeting went well. There was a strong exchange of views and I picked up some useful comments about the problems they saw with my Bill. I think we have to disagree on many of them but there were useful suggestions and I was pleased when some people indicated they would look at the possibility of setting up a strong national group to represent home educators. As there are many conflicting views this might not be possible but from my point of view I think it would be helpful to have a group who could advise and inform education authorities, government and other bodies.


I was angry to discover the following day that some people had been secretly recording the event with a view to publishing. That is wrong when people have been invited to a private meeting (and it was by invite) and most particularly because people present did refer to their personal circumstances and to their children.


Surreptitious recordings were made by a couple of individuals who objected to my Bill on the grounds of privacy! Recording people secretly and without consent does not protect privacy and there were people present who made comments about their personal circumstances and their children.


I have no problem with my comments being published – I expect that and welcome it. Nothing that I say in situations like this should be or would be regarded as private by me but I have duty to protect others who were there and whose trust has been betrayed.

I hope to have a Skype meeting at a date in March that will allow people in more remote parts of the country to participate but I am still trying to organise that. If it is possible I will inform people through this Blog.

32 comments for “Home education meeting January 30th 2018

  1. Dave H
    01/02/2018 at 2:37 am

    People have been reminded on various home education groups about the general rules surrounding such recordings – keep the actual recording private and generate a written transcript from it which can then be used in the same way as any other notes taken during a meeting. For some people, it’s the only way they can take notes of a meeting if they’re otherwise stressed or concentrating on the flow or perhaps are hard of hearing and can’t clearly make out what was said at the time.

    The subject comes up frequently because it is one of the ways that people can ensure that local government officials stick to the rules – my first comment on your previous post touched on this practice. In this instance it does mean that the rest of the home education community can receive a fuller report on the meeting.

    • 02/02/2018 at 11:21 pm

      In drawing clear lines between ‘levels’ of “secrecy” and of “privacy” –

      apart from the disgraceful neglect by the Establishment and the Law to accurately define such foggy terminology as
      e.g. that “cars
      [being instruments even weapons-of-environmental damage-and human-harm] should be classed as “private”
      is an iatrogenicly-damaging -fault, as are so many other spin-doctored and non-negotiable terminologies.

      – why doesn’t our “Separation of Powers” rule that the Judiciary record all meetings proceedings –
      which may afterwards be heard/seen, by such people as the notional couple or single that ‘covertly but legally’ recorded “private” life-sensitive factors in other peoples and vulnerable children’s lives-

      possibly such recording could be even shown during proceedings of the meeting, like ticker-texting on TV News and bottom RH corner Sign-Languaging.

      There should also be an established “Peoples-Safeguard” whereby the Judiciary can also be “watched” to be acting both disinterestedly and thoroughly.

  2. Sherry-Anne Halliday
    01/02/2018 at 9:23 am

    If a Skype meeting does go ahead, can I be provided details please? I’m a home educating parent of quite a large community in Norfolk and I know others locally may wish to have an opportunity to be involved.

    I’ve been trying to set up meetings with the local Children’s Service Committee to discuss matters, but unfortunately no dates have yet been put forward.

  3. Carol
    01/02/2018 at 9:33 am

    There are several ‘strong national’ groups for home educators, some with charity status, some were actively involved in talks during the last attempt to change the law on home education, they are easily found on the internet. Like the different Unions that represent the groups of people we call workers, or the different political parties that are supposed to represent peoples beliefs about the governance of this nation, there is no one group to represent home educators, why should there be only one? To expect a group of people, at their own cost, to unify for your convenience is unreasonable, especially when several organisations have existed for many years to fulfil this function. There are, again, many home educators and groups at even local levels who have attempted to liaise/advise LAs, government and other bodies. It is very concerning that the person driving a change in the law that would give all future Secretaries of State unprecedented powers over all compulsory education age children to the level of home invasion against a person’s (including the child’s) wishes without any reasonable cause, has little or no knowledge of these organisations. Very concerning indeed.
    If you declared, or people asked for, the meeting to be confidential then if anyone tries to publish surely you have a legal recourse? I assume you made that clear of course.

  4. Evie Ramage
    01/02/2018 at 10:01 am

    May I ask who secretly recorded the meeting and has it been published, if so, where?

  5. Abi
    01/02/2018 at 10:18 am

    Dear Lord Soley

    I’d like to point out that recording any meeting is a perfectly legal activity whether this is done openly or covertly. It does not breach the data protection act or any other laws.

    The issue is not with the recording of the meeting, it is with the publishing and use of such a recording. Provided any transcript made from the meeting did not identify the parents or children by using Parent X or Child A etc. Then there would be no question of any breach of data protection.

    I am always concerned about any professional that has an issue with recording meetings and who doesn’t believe in 100% Transparency. I wonder what they are trying to hide?

    If you need any further evidence of the above there’s a great website called “The transparency Project”

  6. 01/02/2018 at 10:18 am

    Goes to show how “Top-Down One-Way Adversary ‘Competition’ still “Rules” …

    … a Human-Development & Individual development point
    and Foundational-Education issue, too, I would say.

    Talking Foundation-Education – for Living-a-Life
    in the 128 hours Lifeplace

    [as ‘opposed’ to the 40 hours Workplace]
    [and as distinct from all
    Training /preparation for working in the ‘World’s-Workplace’,
    including in Schools and Universities – ”
    and one would need to include “Home-Training”
    as distinct from ” Home-Educatioin, too, I shouldn’t wonder …]
    Not just we in “1st-world Britain” need to get down peacefully-reformingly
    to a ‘new’ Generic-‘Basic-Need ‘ education-for-al, l and “lifelong-accessible” –
    Somatics – [the whole field, including master-advances such as Laban’s eight basicly-essential human-movements in “Effort”,; and Chaitow’s leading guidances in “Palpation and Self-Palpation” ]

    “All-Round ‘Method III’ Cooperative Problem Solving (Dr Thomas Gordon et al);
    Thinking -Modes and Scrutiny enablements -such as from
    Dr Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats”
    “How To ‘Win’ Every Argument” by Professor Madsen Pirie ;
    and of course the best classical “Critical Thinking” works.
    Not only ‘Home’ ‘School’, ‘University’ education
    needs to “peacefully-revolutionarily” establish
    a new Generic Educatiuonal Foundation –

    but so does every ‘society’, ‘community’. ‘level’, ‘sort’ and ‘walk-of-life’
    of the whole Population, howsoever and wheresoever they be …
    I would also include in such a “Sustainworthying-Peaceful-Revolution”
    carrying-forward the need for such current legislative and enforcement needs as
    “Cooperatively-Participative- and ‘Covenantally non-competitively-contractual” – and with a “strip-search at entrance” safeguard.

  7. Maggs
    01/02/2018 at 10:19 am

    We are in the highlands of Scotland and I would like the opportunity to participate in a Skype meeting regarding the proposed Bill.

    I am appalled that the meeting was recorded by any of my fellow Home educators. I do not feel that helps us as a group in any way and feel it is somewhat ironic given the opposition to the Bill.

  8. Anonymous
    01/02/2018 at 10:27 am

    Having been initially invited by you to what was apparently a private meeting for a few professional individuals. The invitation which eventually arrived was for a mass meeting for up to 60 individuals, which was an inappropriate forum for professionals working in the field.

    You express a wish to meet with a National organisation. Those of us who have worked in the field of home education for many years fully recognise that Governments find such an organisation to be easier to work with. That is precisely why it is the least wise choice for home educators to make. Notwithstanding, you did not follow up on meeting with those organisations which offered such an opportunity.

    There are organisations which work in the field of home education, but to seek an overarching organisation to act effectively as a ‘union’ of home educators, is akin to asking all parents of under 5 year old children to form such a union; the only thing they have in common is their choice of education provision.

    It is correct that people present have stated that they recorded the meeting, which is of course legal and acceptable provided that the recordings are not published and are solely for private use. Those people doing so, who are connected with large home education groups, have been reminded that publication of such recordings is neither legal nor acceptable.

    Home education networks are rapid communication devices and readily used to disseminate information. Having stated that you do not agree with points made, it seems rather a shame that you are not addressing them, as your reasoning would be disseminated, considered and responded to.

    1. By far the majority of home educating parents do not trust their Local Authority. Why do you think this is?
    In our experience that lack of trust stems directly from the attitude taken by those LAs, an attitude of oppressive demands which are outside the law, made under threat of either involving social services, or taking the parent to court. What is notable is that those LAs where the approach taken is a mutually respectful one, enjoy a higher level of respect and communication than do their oppressive colleagues.

    To provide an example, Westminster refuse to accept any response to an informal enquiry, save a home visit, or a report from an education professional directly involved with the provision. They continue this tack despite having been repeatedly advised by the previous chair of the education committee that it is not lawful to do so. Most home educating parents do not use teachers in their provision and many object to receiving repeated threats of Court action when they are law abiding.

    Were you to suggest a means of ensuring that LAs actually act within the legislation and guidance, rather than suggesting giving them further power, you would find that you achieved a more positive response.

    2. My understanding is that none of your proposals are based on factual information, but are described as ‘common sense’, but surely common sense indicates your proposals to be draconian and wrong.

    Hampshire LA has suggested a system of enquiring of those families where genuine cause for concern exists, which system has been costed and analysed. Your Bill suggests that every home educated child be scrutinised, in their home. Why? If LAs were given clear instruction on when they could make an enquiry and made to adhere to that instruction, an instruction that fits into the Education Act 1996 436A requirement of ‘if it appears’ that education might not be suitable, the Bill would be genuinely based on ‘common sense’.

    This argument also fails on common sense grounds. Statistical evidence is clear that the likelihood of a child being abused by a teacher in a school, is greater than the likelihood of a child being abused by their home educating parent. Both events are at low probability.

    Common sense tells us that in any cohort of people some will behave inappropriately, your common sense appears to tell you that oversight of home educated children will prevent such abuse in that cohort. Clearly, this does not mach the facts of the issue: some children in school under direct term time supervision, are abused by teaching staff. A vanishingly small number of home educated children suffer abuse, which abuse could not possibly be detected in an annual mandatory visit.

    This ‘sledgehammer to crack a tiny nut’ approach is received as insulting and offensive. Surely a better approach would be to address genuine concerns in genuine cases, rather than to stigmatise home educating parents and alienate them.

    3. You appear to have failed to cost your proposals, yet this costing is readily found and in fact Hampshire did such a costing. The monies involved could be used effectively to target genuine problems, rather than waste it in inspecting loving families who are affronted by such an inspection, an approach that could not readily be argued against.

    Perhaps you could reflect on the fact that laws made based on lack of factual evidence for those laws, are not good laws.

    All of the reports that I have read indicate that yesterday’s meting was an exercise in ticking the box marked ‘I have listened’, but most reflect on the view that the listening was closed minded. That is a shame.


  9. RM
    01/02/2018 at 10:36 am

    It’s interesting that you are claiming that someone is planning to publish a recording as despite being in a few groups where your proposals are discussed I have not seen anyone suggest this.

    Recording for personal use is AFAIK legal and it’s also really useful for a long meeting when one wants to be accurate about what was said after the event. A lot of parents (not just home educators) now record as a matter of habit simply because schools, local authorities and other professionals have, how can one put it politely, a preference for avoiding written communication wherever possible and problem with accurately minuting what they say/ promise in face to face meetings? Interestingly CAFCASS policy is that no professional should have a problem with their meetings being recorded and obviously they deal professionally with the most sensitive of chiildren’s cases. Publishing a recording is a different matter but so far I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that the claim has merit.

  10. Jennifer
    01/02/2018 at 10:49 am

    Dear Lord Soley,

    I appreciate your feelings of violation however must raise three points.

    First, it is absolutely standard practice to record meetings of high importance and extended duration. As a career professional yourself, as I am, I’m sure that you are familiar with this. This is not a violation but a matter of practicality. Why these recordings were covert, I am not sure, though would suggest that much work must be done to earn the trust of home educators. However, recording is most certainly for pragmatic reasons rather than some variety of malicious attack to expose you for standing up for what you have said publicly.

    Secondly, whilst you raise the point that people who object to invasions of privacy recording in secrecy is counterintuitive, I must point out to you that vocally and forthrightly raising a bill that would bring untrained strangers into access with our children, thus compromising their rights to privacy in their homes, is an invasion of our private spaces. To be outraged about recording a meeting that should be on public record is an irony of the highest order.

    Finally, recording is legal in the United Kingdom. I would have, in fact, assumed that these meetings were recorded and transcribed. It is highly concerning that thirty people came in good faith to discuss the bill with you and shortly thereafter you use your site to discredit that meeting for them doing something well within their rights to do.

    Thank you.

  11. S Jones
    01/02/2018 at 11:00 am

    Unfortunately, as with anything where you get such a small “representation” of people together, they really can’t be seen to be representative of anything. The fact that a couple of people recorded is disappointing to many in the Home Ed world, and the fact that some did should not be an indication that home edders are all like that… but also neither should the 30 people, or even the people on Skype be representative of home edders either, because each home edding family, child even, is as different as every child is different… my main concern is that echoing what Ken Robinson’s TED talk speaks about where in so many places we are all now expected to all be the same, at the same level, on the same day even… it is ridiculous in schools and my biggest fear with the proposed bill is that that fitting into a neat little box, which no one truly does, will be imposed on children who have flourished by being themselves on their own learning journey…

  12. Zoe
    01/02/2018 at 11:56 am

    What, people don’t trust you? Fancy that! Outrageous that they didn’t respect your privacy. Welcome to the future of a Home Educator.

  13. Katie Fisher
    01/02/2018 at 12:54 pm

    I was present at the meeting (and not recording anything myself, other than taking notes by hand). But I had assumed that the meeting was being recorded by Lord Soley. I’m surprised it wasn’t – when I worked for a Local Authority and held meetings like this with (for example) parents, it was standard practice to record all meetings so that everyone present could have an accurate record of what was said, in case there was any dispute afterwards. It would have been difficult to remember / note down all the points made at the meeting without a recording to refer back to.

    I was someone who made comments about my own children, but of course, I limited those to matters I was happy for other people to know about, otherwise I wouldn’t have made them in such a context.

  14. Graeme Evans
    01/02/2018 at 2:09 pm

    Dear Lord Soley

    I refer you to your article in the Times (February 1 2018, 12:01am). I am sorry to have to say this; the emotive misleading opening paragraph in your article does not paint you in a good light. Using a tragic situation in another country where the facts are at best sketchy (at this time) to promote your view that home educated children in England are somehow at great risk while being educated otherwise than at school is shameful. I am extremely disappointed that you feel the need to sink to this level.

    May I suggest you read this for balance:


    I draw your attention in particular to the following paragraph:

    ‘Moreover, the data just aren’t there to support any logical connection between homeschooling as a school choice option and child abuse. In published studies among such experts as the World Health Organization, the U.S. Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, the American Psychological Association, the Mayo Clinic, and others, none of these sources list homeschooling as a risk factor for child abuse and neglect. In other words, there is no evidence or data to even suggest that homeschooled children are being harmed or at risk of harm at a rate higher than children in other nonhomeschooled and private schooling communities.’

    Do you have the data to support your contention that home educated children in England are at any greater risk of harm or neglect than schooled children? If you do have such data please share it thus allowing the public to make its own assessment of the relative merits and pitfalls presented by your bill.

    Respectfully yours

    Graeme Evans

  15. maude elwes
    01/02/2018 at 2:43 pm

    This strikes me as a matter of ‘trust.’

    Was it made clear to those attending the meeting it was not to be discussed outside the event? That as a ‘private’ meeting it was to be held in camera?

    If the worry is people made reference to their children and circumstances, which they wish to remain anonymous, the record can easily remove any revelations on behalf those children and their families.

    Trust is not a one sided contract. The people attending obviously feel what they are being subjected to would be politically unwelcome to the democratic society we live in. They therefore feel strongly that its content should be made public in order for the people in our democracy to know exactly what is going on and why, in matters relating to their children’s welfare. Obviously they feel very uncomfortable and powerless in feeling muffled this way. Secrecy is not transparency. A democracy has a duty to expose intentions laid out by those in positions to make peoples lives untenable, before any bill passes though parliament can add changes previously hidden. It is too late once it has passed into law.

    • Katie Fisher
      12/02/2018 at 11:01 am

      maude elwes, I attended the meeting and neither Lord Soley nor anyone else present suggested that information shared at the meeting should not be disclosed to anyone outside of the meeting. Some people introduced themselves by name; others did not do so when they made comments about their children, so parents commenting could indeed remain anonymous if they wished.

  16. maude elwes
    01/02/2018 at 4:36 pm

    I read this shocking account of the mess in our schools. The government of this country is not fit for purpose. The parents of these children, so horribly betrayed, have every right and ‘duty’ to be sure their children are ‘educated’ in a way that will lead them to a full life suited to their ability.


  17. Charlie
    01/02/2018 at 5:03 pm

    Your Bill would create a power to assess a family who have not presented as having a problem. Under Human Rights legislation Social Services are not allowed to assess a family in the absence of evidence of a problem. The same applies to investigations of home educating families. The message you are sending out to individual families is that you do not trust them. You want local authorities to have the power to look for a problem that has not previously been identified. As you have chosen to publicly distrust law abiding parents you can hardly complain when they distrust you and your Bill.

    It is hardly surprising, therefore, that families decided to record the meeting. Recording a meeting is not illegal but was obviously necessary in the absence of minutes. Parents who are obviously very aware of privacy issues will certainly not breach others privacy.

  18. Not a chance
    01/02/2018 at 5:21 pm

    Many people choose to record people in positions of power or authority because on previous occasions they have been lied to, their words twisted or blatant lies been told about what has happened. I am thinking of meetings with head teachers, social workers, local authorities, education welfare officers etc.
    Trust is earned and many home educators have had precious few experiences that have given them any trust in the people who have the potential to cause a huge amount of damage to the way they have chosen to live.
    Your bill as it stands will do NOTHING to protect those in genuine danger. Children in schools are neglected and abused every day of the week. They are seen by teachers, doctors etc and the abuse still happens. Many people choose home education exactly because the schools system has let them down so badly.
    Your bill is pointless and will not save any children at all but will degrade the quality of life for every home educating family.

  19. Amie Miles
    01/02/2018 at 7:02 pm

    I am rather shocked that you still believe that there is an absence of a “national group to represent home educators”. Do you not believe the 4 major informative groups I mentioned previously on your blog are good enough to “advise and inform education authorities, government and other bodies.”

    It is for the latter reason many of these groups were set up, because the Local Authorities were not providing the statutory information which they were contracted to do, in fact even yourself Lord Soley still wrongfully refer to it as ‘home-schooling’. We are not in America Lord Soley so I would appreciate if you could use the British terminology as many of your peers will also confirm, the term is “home education”.

    My main problem with your bill is and has always been the fact it is filled with intent and not born from a factual background.

    I appreciate you wish to ‘fix’ a problem which you believe to have arisen I really share your enthusiasm, however it is your presumptions that leave me somewhat worried. No concerned.

    You see I was born in the 1980’s when Social Services don’t communicate with others when they had an issue with a child and suspect abuse. I was abused at school by my teacher and when I received by social file I found out that the teacher who abused me knew damn well that he was charged with observing and protecting me. Not much has changed in 30 years Lord Soley, Victoria Climbe was a child who changed the way we think and of the abuse she received the every child matters green paper was created, to protect children who were ‘missed’ by every professional, school included! Baby P was not yet of school age, I myself was ignored despite being at a school and suffering abuse. The Rochdale news shocked the nation! Those children; also IN schools!

    It is statistical fact that no child in history was ever home educated without being previously known to social workers, health visitors, GP’s and their local authority. The children in America – were registered with their local authority, the story of Dylan in Wales was also deeply saddening yet Social Workers were involved and yet failed to save him.

    In all these cases Social Workers failed to protect the children despite being alerted to their need for support and help.

    Logic would therefore dictate that it is the work of social services and the way in which they communicate and act on these cases that needs improvement. NOT home educated children, and if you look at any good local authority you will see that they include links to supportive agencies like educationalfreedom.org.uk, edyourself and education otherwise.

    I am embarrassed that you would not see that your bill instead needs to focus on LA’s duty to provide this information and present a better worded policy for monitoring and support of parents. Local authorities need to work as a team for their local communities rather than hunt down and humiliate.

    I challenge you Lord Soley to fix an error in the law NOT to chastise every decent parent in the UK with your lack of current knowledge.

  20. tandej
    01/02/2018 at 8:10 pm

    It would appear from feedback on home ed groups that you were aware the meeting was being recorded and you yourself were recording it by dictaphone for later transcription.

    Granted, the ‘unauthorised’ use of recording devices by the ‘representative’ group you met with was not wholly ‘within the spirit’ of the meeting, but to focus the feedback of this meeting on this indiscretion seems to be a diversionary tactic to undermine the rights of home educators.

    I, for one do not condone the recording of this meeting, by anyone! Did you make it clear at the beginning of this meeting that anything spoken would be recorded for your ‘notes’? Did you explicitly state that no other recordings (and therefore no evidence to support or refute your ‘summary’ should take place?

    The home-ed community is on the defensive. Appalled by the tactics being used and sensational new reports being referred to as evidence that closer monitoring of home ed provision is necessary.

    The ‘sample’ group you invited to meet with you are not representative of the home ed community as a whole. In fact, the majority of home educators were thoroughly dismayed at the choice of people invited to your meeting to represent them. People with self-serving agendas, and different ideas and concepts to themselves.

    The majority of home educators want to be left to get on with the successful home educating provisions they create. Have you ever looked in this? The positive aspects of home educating? The successes, academically, emotionally and morally that result from an education provision that not only allows but enables a young person to dictate their future, rather than having it dictated to them and suffer the consequences of not fitting into the ‘one size fits all’ box. The statistics on mental health that show that individuals allowed to think freely and find their way – their way! show stronger mental health than the epidemic of self-harm, self-questioning, and regrettably, self-demise apparent in youngsters who are ‘in the system’?

    The home educating community is enabling generations of ‘free-thinkers’. Individuals who can look at a problem and use their resourcefulness to solve that problem rather than be labelled a failure.

    People who cannot make it ‘your-way’ so find a way (against all odds) to make things work ‘their-way’, and inevitably, ‘their-way’ is a way that works for more people.

    Is that what your afraid of? Not being able to control young minds and fill them with your agenda?

    There will never be a ‘representative body’ for home educators, because no such thing exists. The whole philosophy behind the physical emotional, financial and practical restraints involved in home educating a child is that whatever the downsides, the upsides are that one has enable a child to be resourceful and find their strengths – not only to survive, but to thrive in a world which decided they weren’t ‘good-enough’ to fit into the world others decided for them. A philosophy that treats an individual as an individual and devises an individual program of learning for that individual. Rather than an agenda of learning that serves no-one that the government in power at the time.

    Perhaps that is what you are most afraid of?

    Free-thinkers who haven’t been conditioned to repeat ‘en-route’ the ridiculously small and concentrated syllabus deemed sufficient to qualify as ‘education’ and look beyond what they are told to learn to what they WANT to learn. An ideology which any of us would subscribe to given the chance.

    Yes, there will always be the odd sensationalist story of a family that ‘took this constitutional right too far’ but that a story equally found as odd and unfamiliar in the world of home educators.

    As with so many government policies and agenda these days, the desire to deal with and pander to a minority groups sup-cedes the needs and wants of a majority group, and to cite an isolated case as a representative example of a vast majority group is morally and indefensibly wrong.

    In all published cases of child abuse or indoctrination that has cited home education as the cause, and has motivated a desire to ‘regulate’ home educators, the focus of the problem has been missed. There has ALWAYS been another ‘regulator’ – previous schools, health practitioners, social services, the local community, who have witnessed questionable practices and chosen to ignore them, yet the practice of home educating a child has been enough of a ‘unique identifier’ to focus the attention on.

    Home educating children is not the problem, society as it currently operates is!

    • Dave H
      02/02/2018 at 3:29 pm

      I think the choice of people to invite was based purely on those who had expressed interest in the subject by writing to Lord Soley. Those who sit back and do nothing are going to be stuck with the result arrived at by those who participate. This is not just a home education thing, it is true in wider life – those who do not vote in a general election get stuck with the government chosen by those who did vote. The UK is leaving the EU because the majority of those who made the effort to vote decided that way.

      To those who were unhappy, get up and make your own voice heard. That way you can at least contribute to the debate. I would also note that this is one reason most of us are opposed to a small representative group, we want our own views to be heard, not just those of a small group. In Lords terms, I guess we’re all sitting on the cross benches, not aligned with a party.

  21. Kat
    01/02/2018 at 8:40 pm

    Unfortunately this behaviour, secret recording, puts many of us off attending-which is very unfortunate as it certainly does not reflect the majority.
    It would be excellent if further meetings at least attempted to ensure that only parents currently Home educating attend. Also, I think separately would be appropriate and posssibly through other channels, an attempt to invite currently Home educated teens to independently respond with their views is missing at the moment from the debate.
    Personally I do not think the idea of a national group is possible with such a diverse community with no existing communication channels. We range from those forced to home educate due to SEN or off-rolling, those who have been let down by school, those who are philosophical Home educators and many more inbetween. Many like myself are simply teachers who value education highly but have left the current system to give our children the education we believe in. I am very concerned as to who would be representing the views of the community, and possible business interests a party could have in doing so. Whilst I can see the convenience of correspondence if there was such a group, I do not believe this (potentially self selecting) group would provide accurate or meaningful dialogue.

  22. Chloe Newby
    01/02/2018 at 9:46 pm

    I made a recording of the meeting for my own personal records, and did not do so in any way ‘secretly’, since my recording device was on the desk not half a metre from Lord Soley himself. As far as I am aware, nobody made a recording with any intent to publish it, merely to keep an accurate record of what was said to refer to in case of later confusion.
    Second, there was no indication in the email sent to those invited that the meeting was private, on the contrary the meeting was stated to be ‘in Parliament’, which to myself as a layperson implies the opposite – that such a meeting will be on the public record. The idea that meetings which may affect legislation can be held behind closed doors with no accurate records kept seems absurd, and in future I hope very much that Lord Soley will keep all his meetings in relation to this bill transparent. The issue of the privacy of attendees could be addressed either by clarifying the public or private nature of future meetings beforehand, or by redacting names from any records made.

    • 02/02/2018 at 11:35 pm

      I think that you are ‘right’ to say that such things as “the privacy of attendees should be protected”.

      However, did you obtain prior permission from all other attendees and the ‘chair’ Lord Soley, to make such “individually-private” but nonetheless potentially-injurious recording ?

      [Please see also my reply to Dave H at the first Comment above].

  23. Marina
    03/02/2018 at 4:25 pm

    I am a newish HE Mum of 3, and find it very hard to swallow the fact that Lord Solely is suggesting that HE parents are more likely to be abusers. My Son was subjected to bullying at school, this was my reason for HE as the school system is not able to deal with these matters effectively. I know of many others with a similar story. We have been HE for 3 years now and all my children are flourishing and no longer feel threatened (especially my son) by any one. They all have great social circles as do I.
    Stop wasting the money on an enquiry that in my opinion is not needed and spend it on supporting schools and the teachers within them.

  24. anon
    04/02/2018 at 4:37 pm

    This just isn’t the right way forward. If you really care about Home Ed kids and their families, then you make it easier to take exams and practical assessments. You fight against the discrimination, so that they can mix in society without being stared at (nb most of us are highly visible). You have friendly libraries, museums and leisure centres with signs welcoming them. When you plan for schools, whether it is in terms of web resources, competitions or other initiatives, you make it available to all in private education, not just schools. If you really want to engage with Home Ed, then the negativity has to be disposed of, along with the blinkered thinking. Having worked in the FE sector, I can assure you that radicalisation is taking place through Islamic societies and friendship groups in FE and at Uni. Home Ed is by far lower in terms of risk than schools, in fact probably one of the lowest risk groups in society. In terms of abuse, the failings can always be traced back to those who were aware but did nothing. School attendance does not prevent abuse. Modern slavery has not yet been eliminated in our nation and neither has a DBS check prevented a teacher from filming up little girls skirts in the classroom. Abuse has not been eradicated from the so called ‘care’ system, far from it. The best thing you can do for Home Ed communities, is to normalise it instead of creating stigma and suspicion. I don’t agree with illegal schools, but great consideration should be given as to why the system cannot provide an acceptable education for children from monotheistic faiths?
    You need to research why people are feeling that the system cannot meet their needs? Why are autistic children not adequately provided for in schools? Why is bullying in schools still damaging and even snuffing out children’s lives in our nation?

  25. Anon
    04/02/2018 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for arranging the meeting Lord Soley. I am a home educator and I would like to say that it’s nigh on impossible to have a national HE group to represent us. I hope you don’t turn to any of the existing home education organisations, they are contentious, to say the least. You only have to ask how many members they have or how many people run their supposed organisations to conclude that most home educators don’t want anything to do with them. As home educators, we represent ourselves and no one else.

    As for the person commenting who referred to themselves as a professional in the field of home education (there’s isn’t such a thing), who seemed to think they had more right to a private meeting than being lumped in with the hoi polloi of all the rest of us normal home educators, well good on you. I’d rather you continue to keep them well away. They are a few familiar names that tend to crop up wanting a piece of the action and it’s not welcome by any home educator i know. I hope you keep the focus on those of us who are home educators, as it should be.

    • Anon
      06/02/2018 at 10:27 pm

      I completely agree with this comment. There isn’t a ‘professional in the field of home education’. The people that call themselves that seem to have an alternative agenda in mind. Please keep these people away from genuine home educators whose only focus is on our children.

  26. 06/02/2018 at 12:42 am

    If Lord Soley were genuinely concerned about the welfare of children in this country, he would be getting involved in setting the education system to rights. I believe far more children within the system are at risk than those out of it. It is for good reason that home educators have no faith in the system, no faith in politicians and no faith in their Local Authority. I hear daily of cases where the LEA overstep their remit, harass and intimidate home educating families, totally disregarding current laws and guidance. Taking into account that many families are only home educating because the system has failed them, and their children are at risk of mental, emotional or physical harm, this kind of treatment by so-called professionals only serves to cause further mistrust and suspicion on the part of parents. It would be ludicrous to even begin to consider changes to legislation around home education until the education system has got its own house in order, when the education system is partly the cause of the predicament parents find themselves in, in the first place!
    I don’t believe Lord Soley has considered all the angles, or is listening properly. All of the issues he says he is concerned about, in proposing this bill, already have a legal framework for officials to act. So far he has supplied NO data, NO actual evidence, NO actual statistics to back up his claims. He has extremely poor knowledge of the support networks that already exist in the home education community, and is unable to guarantee that there would be any benefit at all to home educators should such a bill be passed. He simply just doesn’t “get it”, and I suspect that the giant holes in his proposal will fail to stand up to closer scrutiny.

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