EHE Draft Guidance Consultation – Campaign

Sean McDougall you’ve done an incredible job with the Draft EHE Guidance Consultation Campaign and Petitions. On behalf of all the trustees and networks of the Centre for Personalised Education thank you for your vision, commitment and leadership! Inspiring stuff.

Sean’s latest social media post reproduced here……

EHE Draft Guidance Consultation – Campaign


Please feel free to cut and paste this text into local groups.

As you know, there is significant interest in holding events in Westminster and nationally to counter the idea that home educators are somehow invisible.

In this post, I’m going to propose a day of action and invite you to participate. We have chosen Wednesday 18 July as (1) Prime Ministers Questions is on that day, meaning all our MPs will be in Parliament, (2) there is no football that day, meaning that the news agenda will be less crowded, (3) it precedes the summer holidays, and (4) it allows us to give all the relevant people some notice (you, our MPs, the media, the police, parks authorities etc).

The theme of the day is visibility and the major focus will be on a series of picnics to be held around the country. We invite home educators everywhere to use this day to spread understanding of home ed and to highlight our concerns about the draft guidance. Let’s see if we can get #homeed #insight trending on Twitter!

The news ‘hooks’ will be the picnics, presentation of a letter to a senior politician and presentation of the national petition direct to Stephen Bishop. In London, and some regional centres, we will have experts on hand to do interviews covering all the key topics – the importance of educational diversity, the lack of evidence to justify change, the dangerous consequences of introducing the new policies etc.

Here are three specific events to show you what we hope to achieve:

1. Westminster. This will be the focus of our attempt to get national news coverage by having home educators, academics, lawyers and others available right on the media’s doorstep.

We will offer broadcasters the chance to film the day, interview experts and ask home educators for their views. For print media there will also be a series of photo opportunities on the theme of visibility. For instance, one will show a group of home educators handing over a letter to one of the following: the Secretary of State for Education (Damien Hinds), the Minister responsible for Home Education (Lord Agnew), or one of the MPs who has read out the local petition in Parliament. Another will be set in St James Park, allowing a much more informal presentation of home education.

We invite up to 75 people to participate in this event to show the full diversity of home education. Anyone volunteering must accept that the purpose of the event is to show that we are visible. That means that people will be photographed. While we may be able to accommodate a small number of people who do not want to be photographed, the overwhelming majority must be willing to be in a group shot with an MP or Minister.

Throughout the afternoon, we will also be asking MPs whether they can offer tours of Parliament on the day, this creating opportunities for them to realise that we don’t have horns growing out of our heads. We hope to have 50 people at a picnic in St James, with another 25 in Parliament – and if we are lucky we will be able to rotate through the groups all afternoon. See below for explanation of the numbers.

I am hoping that some people will agree to travel to the event via the all-stops train from Crewe, with more home educators getting on at different stops and all heading for the same carriage. We have a cameraman who can potentially film the journey as part of the ‘story-telling’ of the day. This train stops at places like Stafford, Rugeley, Lichfield, Nuneaton, Milton Keynes etc so it could turn into quite a party! But do read about the local events too.

In case you are wondering why we intend to hand over a letter: Ministers are not allowed to accept petitions but can accept a letter drawing attention to the existence of the petition and asking the Department to accept that we are not invisible. The actual e-petition will be given to Stephen Bishop (see below) and a copy may be given to an MP if Ministers refuse to meet us.

The Royal Parks Authority have agreed that we can host a picnic for about 50 people at St James Park, which is about five mins from the Department of Education and less than 10 from Westminster. They won’t charge for this event, and if we can rotate people in and out of Parliament we may be able to push the number to 75. There is no charge for this and no need to notify anyone so long as we do not break the limit.
We tried to organise a picnic in Victoria Tower Gardens, a park directly adjacent to Parliament, but the Royal Parks Authority say there is building work on at the moment and the public are using it in such numbers that they couldn’t fit more than about half a dozen people together. But that’s still half a dozen that we may be able to utilise.

2. Darlington. At midday on Wed 18th July, home educators will hand over the actual e-petition (the one with 15,000 signatures) direct to Stephen Bishop at his office in Darlington. There is a good chance that this will also attract the regional broadcast and print media, so we need a good group of people to take part.

Ideally, there will be a picnic-friendly patch of grass directly in front of his office window but, if not, we hope that people will be able to find a nice place to relax and show that we are not invisible. Parks in Darlington are unlikely to have the same limits in place as London.

Handing in the e-petition is a key news hook to generate both local and national coverage as it ties the activities to a specific day and allows the media to talk about other things happening around the country.

If you live in the vicinity of Darlington and are willing to help/ attend, please let us know.

3. Everywhere else. If you have ever been to a ‘not back to school’ picnic, then this is your invitation to organise something similar for Wednesday 18th July.

The idea is to focus on all the regional media outlets – Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, Newcastle Chronicle, Birmingham Evening Mail, Yorkshire Post, London Evening Standard etc – and invite them along to the event to learn about our concerns.

As with Westminster, people need to accept that if the media turns up they will want to take photos or film. However, the regional media will be more likely to accept ‘offers’ – for instance, don’t film kids in red T-shirts, and they are much more likely to use pre-supplied quotes from experts, so we will create a list of people they can talk to. Obviously, they will want to talk to local home educators too, but that won’t be a random process. If you are willing to talk to the media, please let us know below.

Please think about combining picnics if you live in a big city – go to a big central location, invite the major local newspapers and make sure that journalists get to see loads of people making themselves visible. That will result in coverage that will significantly influence MPs. We want them to be saying “We need to stop talking about these people as invisible. We need to show them some respect. Let’s put this consultation on hold.”

Remember, this is a ‘soft’ story – we are simply demanding the right to be consulted and protesting about being described as invisible, linked to presentation of hundreds of petitions and a big national one. We will supply experts to rebut any questions about radicalisation, abuse and photographers can make sure that only the people at the front of the picture are in focus. Just wear nice bright colours!

We will publish a task list and ask for volunteers to help with each bit.
We may create separate posts for the major cities and the different events to help manage communication.
Timings for picnics may be shaped by the local newspaper – for instance, if they go to press at 2pm, they may need the photo by 12. We will update you asap.
Use #homeed #insight if using Twitter or Facebook

THANK YOU to everyone who has shown such an interest in this. We love the idea of everyone in the country having a chance to make a show. Given that 305 MPs received a petition, this is the perfect way to set up meetings with them over the summer.

About the author

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress | Two Thirds Design