Heuristic Spaces

‘ Heuristic Spaces’ Artists statement audio file.

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ARTIST STATEMENT

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‘Heuristic Spaces’ includes images , video and audio I captured of 18 Home-Educating families across Cornwall, in the South-West of England during the Autumn of 2019 .

Visually illustrating the families varied personal reasons for choosing alternative education and what they feel it brings to both their family’s and their children’s lives.

The families stretch and encompass a wide range of philosophical beliefs around pedagogy and heutagogy. From structured learners recreating a school at home environment, following the national curriculum, to radical unschoolers ; where children are free each day to follow their own threads of interest, having total autonomy of their own personal, spiritual, philosophical and educational choices, whilst the parents facilitate this way of learning and discovery in whatever ways are necessary.

At each meeting I witnessed new ways of learning and parenting happening. Capturing both the beauty and the potentials of an individualised education.

The images capture both the education in progress, the individualised philosophical methods and the glue that holds those methods together.

The case studies of these families are contextualised and set against, the current National media and government trend of the demonising of parents who choose elective home education as ill intentioned, not to be trusted potential abusers, who need to be part of a National register, inspected, made to follow certain subjects and pedagogical methods, and who’s children need to be assessed against schooled children in ability. These pedagogical methods, subjects and how culture of schools assessment of children, being some of the main reasons families make the philosophical decision to electively home educate in the first place.

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“I’m always struck by the fact that no-one ever says “But how will they learn to light a fire without matches, sew a dress or re-plaster a wall if you keep them at school all the time?” It’s always a focus on a very narrow range of school-approved skills.”

-L.Barrett. Home Educator-

Heuristic spaces – Daisy’s science experiment at home with mum.

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” But are you allowed to do that …. is it even legal ? “

– Most people who I told that we home-educated our children, would say this to me prior to the Covid school closures –

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AUDIO FILE

“The point is, we are trying to make sure our children are happy and free, so that’s how they look in the pictures.”

It’s like they’re interested but they …. I dunno … a lot of people would rather it didn’t look this utopian…. I think that’s the whole point… is …. they don’t want it to be rosy……but the point is, we are trying to make sure our children are happy and free, so that’s how they look in the pictures.”

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2019 – 2021 quotes from Robert Halfon chair of the Education Select Committee.

” Children in school have to do exams and SATs and what you are saying is some children will not do that….surely it is wrong to say to one group of children “No you do not have to do any exams, this is fine, if you do not want too.”

-Robert Halfon – Chair of the Education Select Committee enquiry into Home Education 24.November.2020.

“Get rid of GCSEs, which seem to me pointless.”

-Robert Halfon. Chair of the Education Select Committee. 11.02.2019. BBC News. –

Robert Halfon, the chairman of the education select committee, said a growing number of Tory MPs felt GCSEs and even A-levels should be scrapped.

-Robert Halfon Chair of the Education Select Committee. 31.01.2021 The Times –

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Heuristic spaces – Athene & her partner are in a band that travels around the U.K and Europe every year and Arlo accompanies them.

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“I’m just appalled that it’s taken so many years for all political parties to suddenly realise this is a problem, this should of never of got to this stage, for so many years, god knows how many children’s lives have been ruined, by behind the scenes ‘supposed’ home tutoring, so I am going to vote in favour of this.”

Councillor Jump of East Riding Council during a live streamed council meeting where council members were voting on whether to petition the government to bring in a mandatory register of home educators. Many Elective Home-educators are opposed to this as it is seen as the start of further interference, monitoring and erosion of legal rights.

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” Are you a qualified teacher? but don’t you have to follow the National Curriculum?”

-Anonymous, to a home-educating parent-

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Heuristic spaces – Adele and family at home

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“We need to know who these children are, where they are, whether they are safe and if they are getting the education they need to succeed in life. There is a clear case for the Government to introduce a compulsory register for all home-educated children, without delay.”

Anne Longfield former Children’s commissioner for England 04.02.2019

“Our investigations have revealed thousands of children are ‘off the grid’ because they are being home schooled. The numbers are rocketing and no-one knows how they are doing academically or even if they’re safe. “

Anne Longfield former Children’s commissioner for England 04.02.2019

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“Is that Home Educated Child hidden, missing or Invisible ? ” – Used with permission by Anonymous –

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Heuristic spaces – Evey’s 1-2-1 art lesson which she has once a week with a local Cornish artist.

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Heuristic spaces – Esther’s daughter attends a gym class regularly each week.

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Heuristic spaces. Caths’ family home.

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” My eldest left primary school at the end of year 6. A new head teacher had started a couple of weeks previous so didn’t know us at all. One of the things he said that always stuck with me was “but how will she do science without access to a Bunsen burner?” I told him; we live on a farm and she can set fire to things whenever she likes. “

– Anonymous – Home educating parent. –

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Heuristic spaces – Lisa at home.

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Heuristic spaces – Angie’s home – dog training and dance class.

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Heuristic Spaces – Jade and Matt’s home.

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Heuristic spaces – Kirsty’s home – family read a-loud time.

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Heuristic spaces – Kym’s home – cold coffee and breakfast, home-educating two children with a newborn baby.

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Heuristic spaces – Magda’s family walk in the local woods.

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Heuristic spaces – Rosi’s home – L’s self-led project.

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Heuristic spaces – Saskia’s home – L waiting on her brother to play monopoly

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REFERENCES

Fig 1, 1996 education act. Legistlation.gov.uk. Chapter 56. Available at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/pdfs/ukpga_19960056_en.pdf HIGHLIGHTING THE LEGAL RIGHT TO EDUCATE YOUR CHILD ‘OTHERWISE’ THAN AT SCHOOL.

Fig 2, EHE guidance for local authorities. HIGHLIGHTING SPECIFIC SECTIONS THAT ENSURE PARENTS
CAN FOLLOW A PEDAGOGICAL ROUTE OF NO FORMAL LESSONS, IN A CHILD-LED OR AUTONOMOUS WAY,
AND THAT THIS IS TO BE RESPECTED AND JUDGED ON OUTCOMES NOT THAT IT IS OUT OF THE SOCIETAL NORM. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791527/Elective_home_education_gudiance_for_LAv2.0.pdf

Fig 3, “Is that Home Educated Child hidden, missing or Invisible ? ” Infograph. – Used with permission by Anonymous source

Robert Halfon quote 1, -Robert Halfon – Chair of the Education Select Committee enquiry into Home Education 24.November.2020.

-Robert Halfon. Chair of the Education Select Committee. 11.02.2019. BBC News. –

-Robert Halfon Chair of the Education Select Committee. 31.01.2021 The Times –

– Anne Longfield former Children’s commissioner for England 04.02.2019 Dispatches channel 4 – Children’s Commissioner for England calls for a compulsory register of “off the grid” children . Childrenscommisioner.gov. Available at https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/2019/02/04/huge-increase-in-children-disappearing-from-schools-to-be-educated-at-home-childrens-commissioner-for-england-calls-for-a-compulsory-register-of-off-the-grid-children/ (Accessed 22.02.2021)

KYM AND FAMILY VIDEO

HEATHER POEM FROM LOST WORDS https://www.thelostwords.org

‘Heather’. Macfarlane, Robert and Morris, Jackie. 2017. Lost words. Penguin ; London

Day ‘0’ (The banana boat song) from Beetlejuice.

Belafonte, Harry. 1956. Day ‘0’ The banana boat song.

LARA VIDEO

Poem that Rosie and Lara are reading.

Rosetti, Christina. 1830-1894 . ‘The caterpillar’

This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.