Letters to the Editor: Adoptive parents need home education help

"The best thing about today and when we have 'taken over' before is knowing that we are being trusted by the museum. I know the museum staff are happy that I will do a good job. It gives me confidence to do things which I am nervous or scared about. Then when I do the thing I realise I am quite good at it and the museum is right to trust me."

We are adoptive parents and we are home educating, either by choice or as a last resort (Vulnerable children bear brunt of school exclusion increases, CYP Now, August).

Most adopted children have had traumatic experiences in their early childhood, and live with a legacy of learning, developmental and social challenges.

Some of us have chosen to home educate because it allows us to tailor education to our children's complex needs.

Some of our children have been excluded from school - adopted children are 20 times more likely to be excluded than their peers. Others have been quietly told that home educating was the only way to avoid a permanent exclusion.

Many home educators have to give up their jobs and are paying for tutors, activities and materials, all without the benefit of the thousands of pounds that schools receive to support adopted children.

Families who home educate should be supported with funding along with a constructive relationship with local authorities.

Home education should always be a choice, not a last resort. Children who have had a tough start in life deserve an equal chance to learn.

Group of 18 adopters who home educate

Tribute to dedicated training services chief

Practitioners in Yorkshire and those who came into contact with him on national policy issues will be sad to learn of the death of Frank McMahon after a short illness. Frank was the owner and director of YH Training Services, a training provider operating out of Scarborough that has supported thousands of disadvantaged young people and unemployed adults across Yorkshire and Humberside for more than 30 years. 

YH delivers a number of training programmes including apprenticeships and functional skills and Frank was always keen to support and work with regional employers to offer employment opportunities to young people.

Notable examples of this were the company's relationship with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the Whitby Fishing School. He was also a local champion of Study Programmes for 16- to 19-year-olds, which aim to individualise all learners' education and training experience, while enhancing their employment prospects.

Nationally, he was one of the founders of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) in 2002, and he worked as a very good vice-chair, colleague and confidant to me and served AELP diligently over many years.

Frank was not afraid to make constructive challenges in the formulation of our national policy inputs where he also made his mark as a member of government bureaucracy reduction taskforces for the further education and skills sector, calling for an end on the "requirements for endless signatures". Frank will be sorely missed.

Martin Dunford, chair, Association of Employment and Learning Providers

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