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Freedom for Children to Grow

The Law Relating to
Home Education

What Your Local Authority
Can Do For You

What Your MPs and Local
Councillors Can Do For You

What The Media
Can Do For You

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What Your Local Authority Can Do For You

Your Local Authority now has a duty to consult stakeholders and partners before implementing any new policies with regard to children and young people. This follows the 2004 Children Act.

Obviously parents and families should be key figures in any discussions about children's education and welfare.

You may only be aware of your local Home Education Advisor or "Inspector" but there is a whole tier of Children's Services which you can find out about quite easily. These people are opinion formers and executive decision makers and it is mutually beneficial for local home educators to make contact with them and to set up good channels of communication between the LA and the local home education community.

Here at Freedom For Children To Grow we have a number of ideas as to how you can put this ideal into practice.

We will have a regular feature and news updates on positive and inspirational success stories from people who are establishing a dialogue with their Local Authority because we believe that we all have much to learn from each other and can encourage and support each other to make the first move.

You can find contact details of the Heads of Children's Services at your Local Authority here. For example this is my Local Authority, Sheffield:

Code: 373
Chief Executive: Sir Robert Kerslake
Director of Children's Services: Jonathan Crossley-Holland
Address: Sheffield City Council, Town Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield S1 2HH
Tel: 0114 272 6444
Email: firstpoint@sheffield.gov.uk
Web: www.sheffield.gov.uk
This type of information is repeated throughout all the Local Authorities in England.

We can also address the Directors of Children's Services as a collective body because in February 2007 they formed a new professional association ADCS or Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Here are several articles about this from the Guardian:

"'Odious slur on social workers' challenged"

Alison Benjamin
Wednesday January 31, 2007
The Guardian

"For a professional organisation that has in its past incarnations tended to shy away from controversy, the newly hatched Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) has set out its stall with a counterblast against the latest political assault on social workers." "The ADCS will be officially launched next week. Its predecessor, the Association of Directors of Social Services, was not known for taking a high-profile stand."

We can get an idea of where ADCS are going by looking at things like the Social Services Research Group newsletter:

Children's Services Planning: Guidance and Good Practice

  • The revised guidance on Children's Services Planning from DfES, due to be published in February 2007
  • The work programme of the new Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS)
  • Outcome-based accountability and the planning of services for children and young people
  • Researching plans and the planning process
  • Good practice emerging from the 'planning for excellence' network
  • A health perspective on children's planning
Chaired by John Freeman, Joint President of Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS)
We are also aware that Elaine Haste, who is responsible for Elective Home Education and is based at the DfES office in Darlington, is attending Regional Local Authority Conferences. For example there was a meeting in Leeds at the end of March. It would be very useful if home educators could talk to their Local Authority to establish a dialogue with the representative from the LA who attends such meetings, as well as seeking to get an invitation on behalf of the local home educating community.

Home educators in some areas are already meeting with their Local Authorities and are setting up their own websites to spread the news. Here are links from Brighton and Hove Home Educators, Home Education in North Yorkshire and Worcestershire Home Educators Group. You can also read of the latest, positive meeting between home eductors and Westminster LA.

Education Otherwise Local Contacts recently met with a 4th tier manager in Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. This followed a phone call to the Director of Children and Young People's Services setting out the case for a positive working partnership between the Local Authority and the home education community. Historically home educators have experienced Doncaster as a "difficult" LA and there have been a number of clashes with the Home Education Inspector. We now feel that this is best resolved for everyone if the discussions take place at the policy-making level ( rather than on a case by case fire-fighting approach). We are quietly optimistic. Some positive outcomes from the meeting include an offer by the LA for us to play a major part in rewriting the council web page on home education and a suggestion that in future home educators might attend council board meetings on Every Child Matters and put forward the home education perspective. The Doncaster manager was also very interested in DMBC having an information leaflet produced by local home educators similar to the one which is given out by the neighbouring Sheffield authority.

Please let us know of any more and we will link to them here.

Food for Thought:
Home Education for Teenagers

In the News

The DCSF thinks school is the best place for children.
Here at Education Otherwise Campaign Website,
we beg to differ

Iris Harrison's
HE Diary

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