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Home Education

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Making Contact - Building a Relationship with the Press

Firstly - why do we need to build a relationship with the press?

We may hope that the forthcoming DfES Consultation on 'Suitable and Efficient Home Education' will result in no further action being taken, but the reality of the situation is that we cannot afford the luxury of sitting back and just hoping that 'no further action' will be the end result.

This Consultation may well be just the beginning, and if indeed it is, then we need to make sure that we are at least level with the game if not one step ahead. Like it or not the Press play a very active part in many of the important decisions that are made at government level. The Press have a say and a sway and we need that sway in our favour. For this reason we need to start building a relationship with the press now. We need to sell Home Education and we need the Press to buy it.

This has got to begin locally and really it could not be easier to start building a relationship with the press - just so long as you have something that they want - and that is always something that other people will want to read, hear or see.

If this Consultation does lead to something that may well have far reaching implications for all of us who home educate, then we need to have built the foundations for a case in favour of home education. We may never convince the masses to take out their children and follow our lead, but the press can help to convince the masses that we are 'nice' people who care about our children and are doing what we know to be best for them.

The press can help the masses to understand that they have nothing to fear from home educators.

If that sounds really over the top then please stop and think about it. People often fear what they do not understand. So we have to help them to understand that we are just like everyone else, only we have chosen to 'accept' the responsibility of educating our children. Your local media is a good place to begin this quest. With their help we may yet be able to reach far more people then we realise, and if the impression that they are left with is a positive impression then we are moving in the right direction. If we can manage to get public opinion on side then we are winning the battle - should it ever take place.

You start to build a relationship with the press by having positive news to give them. The more positive aspects of home education that you can feed to your local press the better the case we are building, in our favour.

It would also be a good idea to make the press aware that Home Educators come in 'all shapes and sizes' and our methods of educating our children will all be different. 'One size does not fit all'. Home Educators are fully aware of this and this could well be one of our 'Unique Selling Points'. We have a clear understanding that 'Every Child' is different and the type of education they receive really does 'Matter'. We don't have to tick boxes just to fill them up. We are already delivering a 'personalised learning' that truly does wrap around the child and is meeting their needs; whatever their age, stage or development. HE is turning out well rounded and socially adept young people with all of the necessary life skills to take their place as a valued member of their community.

It is worth pointing out that parents who decided to home educate their children who have Special Educational Needs often choose HE because they want to address socialisation, life skills and offer a curriculum that enables their children to 'fit in' to mainstream society as adults.

Keep your eye on the press and if any BIG news stories break that you can utilise then do not hesitate to run with it. Education is a 'Hot Topic' and it will always be a 'hot potato' subject which will attract media attention. Most of the headline news stories at the moment are not good headlines for any case that the State is trying to build against HE. It is up to us to make the most of every bad news story that hits the news - we can use all of them to our advantage.

Talking to your local press is not as scary as you may think and there are ways to make it easier which are listed in our 'How to make contact with' information. Local reporters are often local people and that can help.

Building a relationship with the Press can actually be fun and it can be educational to not only for us but for our children. We could use those bridge building techniques to visit your local paper/radio station. That's making news without even trying.

If you can make your voice heard and have something worth saying and listening to, the press will add you to their list of contacts and you may well become what they call an 'opinion leader' and they will begin to seek you out for your opinions. Just be clear that what you tell them you won't mind seeing or hearing.

Finally if you need any help or advice at where or how to start building a relationship with the press you can contact the home education campaign team.

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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