Disowning home educators

I have noticed many times over the last year or two how eager some home educating parents are to distance themselves from other home educators who say or do things which might give a bad impression of home education. This happened to me actually. Because my views were disagreeable to some home educators, it was claimed that I was not really a home educator at all, but a home schooler! More seriously, the claim is frequently made that Khyra Ishaq's mother, Angela Gordon, was not really a home educator. The grounds for making this assertion are that she failed to comply with Regulation 8(1)(d) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. I doubt that many ordinary parents are aware of this regulation and it is widely ignored anyway. Technically, the only way to remove a child's name from a school's register is to deliver written notification to the proprietor. Families moving house seldom bother to do this; they just tell the school that their kids will not be attending there from next term. Because Angela Gordon was not familiar with Regulation 8(1)(d) of the Education (Pupil Registration((England) Regulations 2006, it meant that when she told her child's school verbally that she was removing her daughter, the child remained registered at the school. Theoretically, therefore, Khyra Ishaq continued to be a a pupil at the school and was still on the roll at the time of her death.

This is of course absurd. Angela Gordon was a most unpleasant and deluded woman, but there is no doubt that she did intend to teach her children at home. She bought workbooks and made at least some attempt to start teaching them. The job quickly proved beyond her, but she showed every sign of meaning what she said about educating them at home. It seems rather cruel of other home educators to reject her on the grounds of her unfamiliarity with a minor regulation. Somebody commenting here a couple of days ago also denied that Eunice Spry was a home educator. In this case, the woman was registered with the local authority and received visits twice a year. It seems to me that whenever something goes wrong with home education or when a home educator, as in my case, says things which parents don't like to here, the tendency is to deny that that person is a 'real' home educator at all. This is a dangerous notion! If we were all to adopt that attitude, then each of us would be able to select groups of other parents and deny that they were 'really' home educators; because they had different views to us or did things differently. There are bound to be a few rotten apples in any large group, whether it is home educators or accountants, teachers or travellers. These people do not discredit the group to which they belong, they are simply a universal human phenomenon. There are good people and bad in any class or group.