Response to West Cheshire Council Letter re: EYFS Parental exemption

Here is our response to the West Cheshire Authority letter featured in the previous post. I’m publishing this: we feel it is vital the dynamics of the process and a human experience of it are made clear (in the public interest and with due regard to issues of privacy). F.L. Copy follows:

Dear xxxx,

Thank you for your letter. As a mother I am also a leader. In a sound democracy leadership qualities are important, although of course leaders (and parents) make mistakes too. But leadership qualities count for nothing without due  consideration for the values of  truth, integrity and human rights.

Here are some of the simple truths that have become clear to us from reading your letter:

1. You enclose a guidance leaflet. I don’t recall having seen this before. It does not appear to be widely available. We feel it may be of use to many other parents who might wish to do what we are doing. As you say, (under the Human Rights Act I believe) we have the right as parents to request an exemption from the EYFS learning and development requirements for our child. At the same time, in a practical sense we feel rights are fairly meaningless if they are hedged about with difficulties and shrouded in bureaucracy.

You stress the value of ‘transparency’ so do let us know how you plan to publicise and distribute the leaflet so that we can share this information with other parents who may be interested in the process and make this easier for others who might want to follow our lead. I would also welcome a hyperlink if you have one, so that in the public interest I can publicise this information on my blog.

2.  You stress that it is up to the school to make the decision on granting an exemption. We are uncertain at this point about  the nature of the  ‘guidance’ you are giving to the school (the process is not transparent) and how this ‘guidance’ might influence their decision.

3. From reading your letter we are left with the impression you seem to be trying to direct us towards another school. As we both know the EYFS requirements apply across the board – our values remain constant regardless of setting. You say we have the right to request an exemption – why should we be expected to take our child away from the teacher she has become attached to, and her school friends only to apply for another exemption elsewhere?

It appears from your letter that you ‘support the principle’ that we have a right to make this request but not the practice of this right.

4. You stress the value of hearing our views ‘first hand’ but we note you did not attend the exemption interview yourself. You make no mention of the substance of our ‘ethical, moral, religious, educational, philosophical and political’ objections in your letter – nor do you refer to the clarity of what we said – which gives us the impression that our convictions were not conveyed to you adequately by your colleague who did attend the meeting. Whilst I ‘think it possible I might be mistaken’ (Quaker Advice and Queries –  17 ) – I would hope this is not the case.

Frances Laing

Copy Ends.

See this link for Quaker Advice and Queries

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