not too much of a good thing – flexi-schooling forever???

joineoWith the spring equinox just days away, I can’t quite believe it we’ve already got halfway round the year from when I was last posting actively!

As well as the already mentioned laundry mountains keeping me from my laptop, we’ve had to spend a lot of time helping mini marmalade cope with the impact of starting full-time school.  She seemed to settle in fairly well in September, but as each week has gone by her out-of-school behaviour and mood has got worse and worse, which is draining everybody’s spirit and letting school take over all aspects of our lives – this is not what we wanted!

Having spent many years attending Parent and Toddler groups at our nearest (but still an hour away) Steiner school, we would have liked to send both our girls there but the money and the driving were just too big an obstacle – it’s not very steiner-y to spend twenty hours a week in the back of a car, is it?  So we looked at local, state primaries and found a good enough place to send her. And despite all our concerns she has done really well – but at a pretty high price.  She seemed so stressed, so angry and so distant.  Even taking into account the big developmental changes she’s going through (she’s at the change-of-teeth/little adolescence stage) her behaviour was distressing.

We didn’t want to take her out altogether – although we’re not averse to home education, I wanted to see if we could make school work first – so I suggested that our daughter be educated off-site (at home) one day a week.   I had to answer a few “we think this may be a slippery slope”-type questions, but being confident that the right thing to do was ensure our daughter has a positive attitude to education from the outset I made my case and we’ve been flexi-schooling for five weeks.

And then I discovered that the Department for Education have recently “reinterpreted” the requirements for school attendance, apparently because one particular government advisor perceived an “unfairness” in allowing part-time attendance.  So without consultation, without right of appeal the DoE has revoked ALL flexi-schooling agreements, whether for emotional grounds, for elite young sportspeople, or for children with serious illness.  Because they aren’t changing actual legislation, there is no need, the government says, for consultation or right of appeal.  No matter what the circumstances, you must attend full-time, with absence marked as illness or unauthorised.  Either that or you have to home-school.  It seems that one size has to fit all in the big society.

There is an e-petition you can sign about the issue  here.

If this is something you feel strongly about, I’d urge you to contact your MP to ask for more time, clarification and a rethink.

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