Saturday, 26 June 2010

Thoughts on meeting with Helen Sadler

Never got round to a more sophisticated interpretation of my meeting than this.

Pleasant but has her own agenda which is not in our best interests

Says she wants to help new home edders as do I

Acts surprised when say literature does not reflect the law but think she is bluffing

Means it is a real battle on and cannot rely on her to work to make stuff reflect the law

So need to approach councillors

How does one approach the Ombudsman?

Who is answerable for the policy documents?

It is clear that whoever implemented the new policy took little or no notice of our contribution to the consultation.  At a glance the policy and information pages seem to have changed very little and still misrepresent the law and imply that the LA has more power and responsibility than it actually does.


Anonymous said...

To approach the Ombudsman you have to have made a formal complaint to the council and received a rubbish or no response.

They sound like typical bureaucrat heads. They decide what the law is, and they are in charge of you.

Quite honestly, I'd be delighted if that type lost their jobs. They might be a little less convinced that they know best then.

Maire said...

Me too, thanks for the advice.

Anonymous said...

Ombudsman will only look into complaint if he/she thinks it is a serious complaint about the council and ombudsman does not judge a council over its policy on home education unless it is a serious breach of the law or does real harm to you! you also have to show you been though the council complaints department and what reply you got and follow up! Ombudsman tends to side with council! I dont think your get any where with it! Ombudsman are ex council staff to!

Maire said...

Thanks Anonymous, why am I not surprised!

Anonymous said...

also not geting an answer to a complaint is not enough for the Ombudsmen to rule in your favour! He will agree you should get a reply but has no power to make the council reply unless he?she feels real injustice has been done to you.Ombudsmen is only intersted if he/she feel a real injustice has been done to you did you know that having a school attendance order served on you is not an injustice no matter that you have provided evidence of an education,

councilors tend not to be intersted in home education as well! so i very much doubt your get any where with them your local councilor may make some kind comments but he not really do anything!

Anonymous said...

you ask?Who is answerable for the policy documents?

the cabinet for your council and for education you would have a county councilor in charge of children service's the Cabinet tend to rub stamp what ever the county councilor for children service tell them! he/she gets the advice from LA staff! who often are not keen on home education! in many cases the Cabinet has no idea that home education goes on in they area!

Maire said...

A local councillor did contact a home educator at the time of the consultation as he didn't want it to be just rubber stamped. I sent him my view but it doesn't look like he had any luck with it.

When I have got my head around what the precise situation is I will be contacting him to find out what happened and if there is anything else we can do.

I have recently been told that they might have some support in case law for asking for a yearly update and am waiting for info on that!

Anonymous said...

Maire says-local councillor did contact a home educator at the time of the consultation as he didn't want it to be just rubber stamped. I sent him my view but it doesn't look like he had any luck with it.

was this local councillor a member of the party that has control of your council? if he was not he has no chance what so ever of changing council policy on home education!

if he was he still find it very hard to change policy as it is agreed by the cabinet and he has to follow that policy or he/she is in the wrong party!

councilors have no real interst in home education because we are to small a group! you may find the odd one who is willing to listen but he/she are often not members of the party that has control of the council! and really can not do anything but send the odd letter of support but they often just do not understand and seek advice from LA staff and then change they mind over the support they give you!

Maire said...

I will have no expectations then Anonymous. I can see I have a lot to learn.

Anonymous said...

Maire says-i will have no expectations then Anonymous. I can see I have a lot to learn.

yes it does sound like you have a lot to learn about councilors and the way councils are run Maire!

Councilors always ask for advice from the LA officers over home education! if you phone your councilor about a street light not working he contact the highway officer for advice and then in almost every case he go along with this advice! all councilors when elected are given booklet with contact numbers of all Local authorthy officers and they jobs its like a bible for them! any problems and they can phone or email for advice! councliors also belive in the system and find it very hard to see that they council is doing it wrong! and the final check on them is to obey along party lines!

all you be able to get is the odd letter of support and for some counclors it will come as a shock that home education is allowed and goes on in they area! you send letter to counclior he be on the phone to the welfare officer to ask him what is home education!

your blog is very good i enjoy reading it but you do have a lot to learn aabout councils!

Anonymous said...

also a lot of people do not know that a councilor does not have to respond to any letters you send to him he can if he wishes just ignore you! and they is nothing you can do to make him respond! of course most councilors reply with a standard holding letter while they await answers from the LA officer!

Maire said...

I can imagine that discovering all this has been a very depressing and disillusioning journey Anonymous, thanks for sharing this information. I hope you managed a good solution to your problem in spite of this.

Maire said...

Glad you enjoy the blog, I have a lot to learn about lots of things but that's OK because I love learning. : )

Anonymous said...

Maire says-can imagine that discovering all this has been a very depressing and disillusioning journey Anonymous, thanks for sharing this information.

it was very depressing to learn all of this.That is why i like to share it with others so you know in advance!

councilors/LA staff head teachers also mix with each other as well going to each others houses for dinner etc. and things can be said about a family but are not recorded! councilors know a lot of the teachers heads in they area!
also sly phone calls can be made to a councilor an LA officer could phone councilor saying im worried about this child its not in school! or that family are a problem or they cant home educate! councilors are often school governors or have been in the past as it looks good on they CV!

anther thing they do is pretend they agree with you say one thing to you and anther to LA staff!

is it good to learn what i have told you? or is it better to not know? be blessfully unaware like most people are!

It has made us very distrustful of people but also much stronger willing to stand up for what we belive.

we left alone now by our council i think we in the pending tray right at the bottom of the pile!

keep up the good work with your blog very intersting what you write i hope i helped you understand a bit about councils.

Maire said...

You have, I can aim to change them but be prepared to be satisfied with being left at the bottom of the pending pile lol. Glad you are not being harassed now.

Anonymous said...

did you know that a school attendance order can be served on parents of a home educated child and the council can then leave it like that!

Maire said...

Do you mean and never enforce it? I must say I have been pondering what she will do if I refuse to respond to her latest request for evidence of progress.

Totally gets my back up, what planet is she on thinking that after 33 years of parenting with outstanding educational outcomes for the older children we would suddenly say you know what, bored now, going to prevent this one from getting an education!

It is an insane waste of our money!

Anonymous said...

Maire ask -Do you mean and never enforce it?

Yes a council does not have to enforce a SAO it can just leave it hanging over you! or it can let it run out for a young child and re issue a new one for a new school and then not enforce that to. this goes on a lot!

keep everthing in writing with your LA and if possible if your children understand get them to write something down about they not phone them as you will have no record of what was said!
also put in a request for all information held on your family in what ever format a data request to your council i belive with most councils you can do this online now.

Anonymous said...

Ombudsman Mrs C Knowles ruled on 26 March 2007 in her view a prinipal injustice will arise if and when the council chose to enforce the School attendance order it has now served and if it does the reasonableness of its action in serving the order will ultimately be a matter for the courts to determine. i must disappoint you therefore by saying that i do not seee a basis on which the Ombudsman can pursure your complaint i will send a copy to the council of this letter.

note here words chose to enforce when i phoned her she said it is not an injustice to have SAO served on you even if the council refuses to assess the education you are giving to your child! its up to the courts not the Ombudsman i all found out with data request that all councils have an officer who is trained in dealing with Ombudsman and the Ombudsman appear to be of first name terms with this officer!

Ceri said...

Hi Maire,
I think you've got it spot on, but I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt over the literature.
I think you're right and Councillors/Ombudsman are the way to go. If we can find out who is above Helen - who has responsibility for the lit - that would be good. I've had good results complaining when I copied to the head honcho of the council. It got passed to complaints and sorted extremely quickly!
Happy to do whatever I can to help :)

Anonymous said...

Ceri saysI think you're right and Councillors/Ombudsman are the way to go.

Ombudsman only look into serous injustice Ceri not if a letter is worded wrong or if literature is incorrect!

councilors always ask the LA staff for advice! and then tend to agree with them!

i dont think the complaints department of LA will do any thing about Helen! most complaints departments just want to fob off the customers its very rare a complaint is upheld!?

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