Monday, 24 July 2017

Our first Local Education Authority visit

Its almost 3 years now since we took the decision to Home Educate our children. ER is now 8yrs old and AR is 5yrs old.
It would appear that when we de-registered from school we became 'lost in the system' and our local authority wasn't aware of our children! I had mixed feelings about this, on one hand we didn't have any random people with badges of authority poking around but on the other hand I was unaware if I was doing the best I could for my children.
The LEA became aware of my children being home educated after a trip to a Paediatrician over concerns that AR had some development issues, I expected to be under a lot of scrutiny given the circumstances but I didn't expect the Dr to write to the education to express concerns about my children not being 'seen'.
He explained that this was due to the fact that AR would need an educational psychology assessment and this would involve the LEA.
I frantically headed to the bosom of the Home Education groups via Facebook. This is my safe place. When I feel like a failure, when I have anxiety, when I need questions answered, when I need support these groups are my safe haven.
Many people on the group was advising that I didn't HAVE to have the visit at all and I could simply send a letter explaining my educational philosophy and that would be that. Others told me what questions I should ask the LEA should I decide to have the visit, what they would ask me and what they would want to see. Basically the choice was my own and thanks to the groups I could make an informed decision.
I decided to let them in and meet the children and see our work. I armed myself with a pen and notepad filled with questions.
A very pleasant man came to the door in a beat up old car which for some reason immediately put me at ease, had he been driving a Jaguar or something similar I think I might have felt intimidated, a feeling that never crossed my mind until he pulled up.
I walked him through the house to the living room where we do most of our school stuff. He took a seat opened his huge leather bound folder and after a quick introduction started the meeting.
My first thoughts was how informal it seemed to be, I quickly felt at ease but remembered in the back of my mind the advice from the group about being on my toes. He has a quick look about him and wrote in his notes, he explained he was checking if the area we chose for learning was sufficient and clear enough, I was bold and asked him if he could turn his folder a bit so I could get a better view of what he was writing which he happily obliged.
The next hour was a chit chatty conversation about what we do on a day to day basis in regards to learning. He asked about socialisation and physical activity.
Next he tried to chat with the children, I was on guard incase he asked any leading questions but he seemed fair and kind. He took a look at their work which mainly consisted of Reading Eggs worksheets and stuff from Twinkl stuck into A3 exercise books.
The meeting came to an end with him apologising for having no one visit since we decided to HE and telling us there was no issues and that he would be back in 12 months.

No comments:

Post a Comment