So what does #HomeCrazzyHome intend to do? Will we submit voluntarily to a visit? Meet with them elsewhere? Supply a report? What?
Honestly, we have not decided yet. And ultimately, that decision will be PanKwake’s to make…with our support. After all, she is the one with the most to lose here.
So, Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, how is that for her rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child…
Article 5 (parental guidance and a child’s evolving capacities)
Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and carers to provide guidance and direction to their child as they grow up, so that they fully enjoy their rights. This must be done in a way that recognises the child’s increasing capacity to make their own choices.
What I can say is…
I will demand that the Local Authority adhere to the law in all its dealings with #HomeCrazzyHome and PanKwake. Any communication with them will begin with a summary of these blogs…a reminder that ALL the law and case law says they may ‘reasonably expect’ are…
- consistent involvement of parents or other significant carers – it is expected that parents or significant carers would play a substantial role, although not necessarily constantly or actively involved in providing education
- recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations
- opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences
- access to resources/materials required to provide home education for the child – such as paper and pens, books and libraries, arts and crafts materials, physical activity, ICT and the opportunity for appropriate interaction with other children and other adults.
I will point out that the new Welsh guidelines specifically recognizes unschooling as a form of home education and it is not their right to judge the ‘suitability’ of our education upon any other standards or especially prejudices against unschooling.
I will also explain in detail PanKwake’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)…especially…
Article 12 (respect for the views of the child)
Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.
Article 13 (freedom of expression)
Every child must be free to express their thoughts and opinions and to access all kinds of information, as long as it is within the law.
Article 14 (freedom of thought, belief and religion)
Every child has the right to think and believe what they choose and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents to guide their child as they grow up.
I will point out that this is PanKwake’s opportunity to be heard…not bullied or intimidated, grilled or tested. And that I am more than prepared to pursue any UNCRC complaints through the Children’s Commission.
I will also want to know what specific training in home education practice and law they have received as well as Additional Learning Needs and autism. I will be very firm that while PanKwake is free to interrupt adults while they are talking it is not alright to interrupt her. While that may seem rude to some people, it is simply an accommodation for her autism. She has difficulties with short term memory and as such loses her train of thought easily, resulting in frustrations and ultimately meltdowns.
In all likelihood, we will meet somewhere else with the home education officer first. And only after covering ALL of this would we even think of allowing them access to PanKwake…IF she wants.
Otherwise, if we get the dreaded letter that others have received then we will respond with a short letter stating the law on ‘suitable education’ and directing them to this blog. I mean come on, folks…why should I do their job for them? There is about five years worth of evidence on those ‘reasonable expectations’ all laid out here.
If that does not work, then I can and will bury them under a fifty page plus report with cited sources and appendices that document those four criteria. I will not though deviate from those…that is ALL they are entitled to under the law and case law.
And like the family in Westminster we are more than prepared to take them to court to ensure that PanKwake receives the education that works best for her. Heck, at twelve we can probably drag the whole thing out in the courts until she is too old for them to do anything about it.
Dat’s the plan anyway…we just have to wait and see what they get up to first.