Rumour and misinformation

I was accused a couple of days ago of spreading rumours about who might or might not be involved in the drawing up of the new guidelines for home education. The difficulty is that because of the way that this is being done, almost everything to do with this business is rumour and speculation. Now the truth is, many people want to know what is going on about these guidelines. They wish to know who is involved, what their terms of reference are, whose idea the whole thing is, who elected these people to do this job on behalf of other parents and many other things besides. Apart from Tania Berlow, none of those involved are prepared to identify themselves. This means, inevitably, that we must fall back upon guesswork and cloak and dagger to find out what is going on. This is far from satisfactory.

I have been sent various pieces of information and also misinformation about all this. The most recent bit of misinformation was a copy of Alison Sauer's Business accounts and credit rating, together with the claim that Mrs Anon, who regularly posts here, is Alison Sauer's secret identity! This is of course completely untrue, but it does make me ask myself why people would be going to such lengths in order to muddy the waters!

How could this current situation have been avoided? Very easily really. If the people who had agreed to undertake this work had set up a blog specifically devoted to the new guidelines and announced that they welcomed everybody's views on the subject, that would have stopped all rumours before they had even begun. It costs nothing to set up a blog like this one and they could have named themselves and explained precisely what they were doing and why. Such a blog could then have been advertised on the main HE Internet lists and then the whole thing would have been open and above board. This would have stopped all the rumour and speculation from starting. Instead, Tania Berlow has become the public spokesperson of the group and the only source of information about what is actually being done. This is far from satisfactory, because Tania is a woman who never uses one word where twenty will do and despite all he posts on the Badman Review Action Group and elsewhere, we still do not really know what is happening.

As long as the group who are directly involved in putting together the new guidelines are refusing to speak publicly or post on any of the lists, the gossip, rumour and innuendo will continue and indeed increase. I dare say that readers are itching to know what Alison Sauer's accounts said, but the answer is really very little. There is something a little puzzling and that is this. We are told that she has trained fifty local authorities in matters relating to elective home education. According to her accounts though, nothing much has been going on with this company for the last five years or so. It also has a very low credit rating. This is curious. Apart from North Yorkshire and Lancashire, can anybody name a local authority which Sauer Consulting was involved with? I suppose the implication of whoever sent me this document is that Alison is not as successful as we are being told and that in fact she has not really done as much in the way of training as has been claimed. Since the original email was headed 'Financial motive', I guess that we are intended to think that she is desperate to drum up some business. Of course, this informant is not very reliable and has some reason of her own to try and confuse matters by pretending that Mrs Anon and Alison Sauer are one and the same person! This suggests that we should treat anything being hinted at but this person with a good deal of caution.

Just to complicate matters a little further, there is a suggestion that a vacuum will soon be left by the demise of Education Otherwise and that a large Internet group is hoping to fill this gap with a national organisation of their own. It is being hinted that this would be for financial reasons, rather than for the good of home educators. Clearly, the next year or two will prove interesting for those involved in home education and it seems likely that changes are very definitely on the way in one form or another.