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Home Education UK

Est. January 8th 2000

Page last updated 22-Apr-2014   Home>About

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Intro

Since 1870 the state has increasingly usurped parents rights and responsibilities as educators of children arguing that such a policy is in children's best interests. In reality mass state education has always been in the best interests of state and industry. The state originally decided that education should be compulsory not because of a widespread concern that children were ignorant but rather to control a perceived, rampant immorality among the working classes and to provide day care for children  so as to free up parents to labour in factories. The system adopted, and which currently prevails throughout the globe, is formally known as the 'Prussian System', first devised in Prussia following a crushing defeat at the hands of Napoleon.

The Prussian system of fore-shortened lessons controlled by a system of bells in strictly hierarchical institutions with military style discipline was intended to create a malleable working class with sufficient education to obey and follow the orders of those above them, no matter how arbitrary, whether in industry or the military. So successful was this experiment that it was speedily adopted around the world by states adapting to the industrial revolution. So universal was it's spread that few today can conceive of any other form of education.

As WWII came to an end the education system in the UK was reformed by the Education Act 1944 into three parts (grammar schools, technical schools and secondary schools), formalising a class driven education system intended to provide labour resources in proportion to the demands of industry. In today's scientifically advanced, 'white heat of technology' driven economy, industry needs graduate technicians, so the drive is on to provide industry with 50% of its labour force with a degree.

But all this is now changing, there is a quiet revolution underway as ever more parents find that in an information and resource rich society it is possible to provide a suitable, flexible and enriching education tailored to their child's individual needs and aptitudes from a home base in a way that schools could not dream of providing, should that ever have been state's intention.

I believe that one day we will regard the second half of the nineteenth century, and the whole of the twentieth, as an educational dark age, lit only by the likes of Ivan Illich, John Holt, John Taylor Gatto and our very own Roland Meighan and the thousands of parents led by pioneers like Joy Baker who chose to home educate their own children outside the state system.

The home education community in the UK is estimated at around 80,000 thousand children (2010) and growing. In short - school's out.

Me

I am Mike Fortune-Wood, I home educated my 4 children between 1992 2009. Over the years I have received significant amounts of help and advice from other home educators and I am happy to offer help to others in return. I have been involved in supporting home educators since the mid 1990's when I was involved in editing the Elective Home Education Legal Guidelines.

More recently I was involved in Home education research on behalf of a charity called Personalized Education Now for whom I wrote 3 books on home education. I have provided training to Local education authorities on issues relating to home education and I edited the Journal "Home Education" the UK's only independent home education journal concentrating on research and information. I also founded the HE-UK, HE-Cyrmu, Learning Unlimited and School Refusal mailing lists.
Mike Fortune-Wood

I should state clearly that I am not a legal or educational professional, though I do have such persons I can approach for support or information should that prove necessary. Any support I offer is on a goodwill basis.

I do not normally charge home educators for assistance but would be grateful for any donations to maintain this web site and my other work.

I hold a degree in economics and social sciences and also have an HTEC in electronics and instrument technology. I have worked in the chemical industry, the aerospace industry and for Cambridge University Biochemistry labs as well as the Home Office and a large homeless charity in london. Currently my 'other' work is publishing poetry and fiction.

AIM

I aim to provide support to people home educating or considering home educating in the UK. Additionally, where practical, I will also provide support for home educators in other countries. I do this by providing online information and resources to home educators.

I intend this site to be no less than the finest online resource for home educators in the UK and be a focus for the UK online home education community.

Service Quality

I intend to maintain a site of the highest quality and standards. I hope to provide accurate, on topic, accessible information. I hope to respond promptly and accurately to questions.

It should be noted however that I am an individual who very occasionally takes a break from the computer, I have even been known to go on holiday, and so while I try to ensure that questions are responded to in less than 48 hours, I can make no promises regarding this response.

I undertake to maintain the privacy of anyone contacting me through this site. Except where I have good reason to believe that in my judgment there is significant risk of serious harm to a child. In line with the Children's Act, I do not consider education to be a welfare issue.

Not being an organisation I cannot arrange a comprehensive complaints procedure. However in the event of a complaint I hope to treat it fairly and with an open mind. If I cannot resolve the issue I will take the advice of other respected members of the home education community into account, particularly those with responsibilities for online provision before coming to a final decision, which is final.

Equal Opportunities

I do not distinguish between people of different races, gender, sexuality, creed, philosophy, ethnicity.

Specifically I make no judgments regarding peoples reasons for home educating (within the parameters set below).

I hope to make this site accessible to all visitors. Text should be clear and all graphics should have "alt" labels.

Parental & Children's Rights

I recognise that children have rights, such as those laid down in the United Nations Children's charter. In particular I recognise the right to education and the right to live without violence or the fear of violence.

Therefore this site opposes physical punishment in any form. I will not promote any form of activity, information, or group which advocates physical punishment for whatever reason.

I also recognise the right of parents to determine education for their children in line with religious and philosophical beliefs worthy of respect in a liberal democracy as identified by the European Convention on Human Rights, in case law and in UK law. However, where a child offers an opinion regarding their education it is that which I will address. I will not, therefore support a parents wishes in opposition to the child's stated preference.

Development

I am committed to responding to changing needs and circumstances by continuing to develop new resources.

Collaboration

I am pleased to collaborate with other organisations and individuals working to the same or related agendas. If you own a not for profit web site supporting home educators, or have an idea which you think could be developed within this site please contact me.

I can host sites for home educating communities in other countries, particularly where home education is persecuted and setting up such sites may be 'problematic' (there is no fee for such a service other than those I directly incur).

The British Library UK Web Archive

I am proud to announce that in 2004 H-E UK was selected to be a part of the British Library's UK Web Archive preserving web sites that "reflect the diversity of lives, interests and activities throughout the UK, and demonstrate web innovation."

You can see here how HE UK has changed and developed since 2004. Sadly the first 4 years of the site has not been preserved.

Acknowledgements

This site has largely been a community effort, so I would like to acknowledge: Andy Blewitt, Neil Taylor, Ian Dowty, Jan Fortune-Wood, Christine Waterman, Martin Gibson, Keith Lawler, Jos Underhill and many others for help with the content of the site and their encouragement to maintain it as well as their dedicated service to the home education community in general.

©2000-2013 Mike F-W

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