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Category Archives: political
i am afraid i am contacting you again about the government and their management of the home education review. As you know, I, and many other home educators, utterly dispute the majority of mr badman’s report. The statistics are unsound, and the bibliography very small and biased.
However, we are still awaiting a report from the select committee who were asked to assess this review,
and also the report on the following stake holder consultation on implementing this review
‘Home Education – registration and monitoring proposals. An eighteen week consultation with stake holders, 11 June 2009 to 19 October 2009. The Government hopes to publish a response by the end of November’
at the select committee hearing, the dcsf stated that
‘I need to say at this point that I am not able to go into very much detail about the proposals on monitoring and registration today. As you know, they are out for public consultation, which ends on 19 October. We will have to consider carefully the consultation responses before proceeding. I would like to emphasise that no firm decisions have yet been taken.’
yet they are proceeding.
I was therefore astonished to find it still in the Queens speech as a bill in hand, and horrified to find it placed within the safeguarding children part. these are children at home with their parents. unless all parents are automatically assumed guilty by the state now, this is an outrageous slur.
‘• Safeguarding the vulnerable – strengthening the powers of local authorities and others with regards to registration, inspection and intervention will mean effective systems are in place to protect those that most need it. The Bill will introduce a new home educators’ registration system and take new powers for Secretaries of State to intervene in youth offending teams that are failing and potentially putting young people and their communities at risk.’
my children are not within the most vulnerable, and do not most require protection. they are loved and cherished by their family. i cannot and will not accede to this over presumption on the governments part. I will not agree that they have authority here over my family. I would like to point out that we are very law abiding citizens, my husband is xxxxxxxxxxxx, and I am xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, so not the most likely candidates for civil disobedience. this goes too far however, and i will not agree.
there is a parliamentary group with Graham Stuart MP as chair for home education, and I would ask you to please help represent us, a minority group with so much to lose here. if you read the memorandum submitted by paula rothermel to the select committee, you will see that Mr Badman primarily wanted to see if home educating parents had munchausen by proxy, if you read that from ofsted, you will read that they recommend all home educating parents should be CRB checked before they are allowed to proceed. I am level 2 child protection trained as part of my work and, like many other professionals, highly committed to a high standard of child protection. However, I find all this astounding, child protection gone mad. there are already perfectly adequate, joined-up services which run as well as staffing levels allow for child protection in this country. forcible annual assessment of a further possible 50,000 children at an estimated cost of 34million [governments own figures] does not seem to me to be reasonable.
chris myself and SB have already submitted. this is the last one, submitted on behalf of a group.
It is disagree all the way through! and these are our agreed reasons.
We are a regular meeting parental co-operative for skill sharing. Amongst us, we follow a variety of educational models, including autonomous, child led, montessori, classical and structured. We welcome the diversity within the group.
This consulation respone has been thoroughly discussed and agreed in our partnership. We had no areas of disagreement on the consultation outcomes.
We believe the current position of home education, with the checks and balances already present is perfectly suitable for the task. We believe that the parent retains the rights and responsibility to ensure and education suitable to the age and aptitude of the child, including any variation due to special educational needs, and to provide an education fit for purpose to the community the child will engage in. We do not agree to any alteration in this. The recommendations suggest more of an annual licensing with continual need to revalidate and reprove the suitability of education. We believe this is unnecessary, will be counterproductive, particularly for some educational philosophies and is entirely against the ethos of home education.
Amongst us, we follow a variety of educational models, including autonomous, child led, montessori, classical and structured. We welcome the diversity within the group, and do not give credence to the review that some of these paths may be more ‘worthy’ ‘efficient’ or ‘suitable’ than any of the others. Instead we believe that the educational models a family uses often varies over time to suit most closely the learning requirements of the child within the family, rather than external constraints of teaching an aspect at a particular time.
We do not agree with compulsory registration when we are exercising our lawful right to educate otherwise than at school . In particular, this scheme you propose for compulsory registration appears to more closely be recognisable as a yearly ‘license to practice’ with an excess amount of information required, and the possibility of being denied. Also, it appears that you would apply penalties to those failing to register or not providing complete information which may lead to criminal proceedings. All of the above makes the scheme abhorent to us, and we would strongly recommend a voluntary registration scheme, where the likelihood of parental co-operation is gained by the means of suitable resource offering, rather than a compulsary scheme based on forced co-operation with penalties.
We disagree completely with compulsary registration as detailed above. in addition, we are uncertain as to why the information is wanted, what it will be used for, the security of whichever database system is used . We also oppose the strange requirement to queue ‘in the flesh’, presumably with appointments, to so register. It seems to us rather that we are in supplicant role.
We disagree with the compulsary register. Parents would only need to keep up a voluntary register if it suited them and their family, and if they found it useful. This would encourage local authorities to find ways to engage productively with the home educating community.
We find the idea of criminalising law-abiding parents for the sake of a register of dubious use abhorent. This entirely heavy handed approach is one of the many areas in this report which completely jeopardises any possibility of harmonious and equal relationships between the legal guardians of the child, who are legally responsible for ensuring and education is provided, and the local authority, who may, or may not, wish to assist in this process.
We understand that this has been discussed previously in 1996, when at the time, it was felt that the parent would then be conflicting with truancy regulations, and therefore in breach of the law.
Although the school may wish to provide the local authority with achievement data to support the educational provision for the child to date, we believe that educational prolepsis is not widely successful, and becomes valueless when the child changes educational models.
We agree with the stance of AHED and we do not accept there is any need for new legislation, and hence there would be no authority for the DCSF to issue such guidance. Should new legislation be introduced in spite of the clear case to not legislate, to allow DCSF to issue statutory guidance in this area would undermine parliamentary process. The details of any such scheme should be set out in any primary legislation introduced, which parliament can scrutinise. If this does not happen then DCSF can change the regulatory framework without consultation, once again taking more control away from individuals and handing it to government departments.
We feel that those for which there is a substantial safeguarding concern should have family plans drawn up through the correct case conference route, at which home education status may be considered. This should be outside the remit of registratrion, which we dispute.
We disagree entirely that there should be any compulsory visits to the home regardless of the amount of notice given. Home education possibly should be retitled family centred education as much of it is not spent within the home at all, but out and about at museums, group events, at parks, countryside etc. Since it is not confined to a desk in a room, it seems pointless to inspect any part of a house for signs of education, as you perhaps would in an OFSTED inspection.
The home is a secure environment for a child, and many would be discomforted by strangers entering as part of a licensing interview. This may be particularly the case for those with special needs, or who have withdrawn from school after a traumatic event.
We absolutely, therefore, disagree that there should be any compulsion for home visits.
Absolutely not. Especially after hearing the response of Mr Badman to the select committee. if there should be an issue of child protection, this should be escalated to the appropriate team to manage thereafter. in the majority of instances, children are not interviewed alone then.
if this is purely to ascertain the child’s willingness to be home educated, this is truly shameful. this suggests that the government mistrusts and misbelieves that home educating parents are acting in the best interest of their child.
We will not submit to this outrageous, abusive and disproportionate demand.
Again, no please see question 9. We believe all the checks you have suggested are disproportionate and emphasise that the government does not wish parents to remain the prime carers of their children, with the prime responsibility for their welfare. It emphaisis the distrust that the government holds for parents, and their commitment to try and force everyone down the same pathway. We reject these proposals to trammel our ability to provide a unique education, tailored to our children’s individual ages, aptitudes and desires for the future.
Am submitting as so tired an early bedtime needed!!
chris is blogging thurs and fri – hopefully – as they were really great days! so i am going to make a start on today!
i got up really late as work has had my nose most definitely to the grindstone, and i had some sleep deprivation to catch up on! the girls were playing beautifully together, and although it is prob the KOD to blog it, they seem to have gone through their grumpy with each other patch and are enjoying each others company again. i *could* worry that this means SB is playing lots of ‘baby’ games with BB, but I like the games they play together, and i am not in a rush to push her game playing older!
We had some postcrossing cards arrive – woohoo!! so put them up on our display. this is gradually encouraging sb to remember continents, and what countries may be found where. OK, so we have not had any arrive from africa, antartica, australasia or asia, but we have sent one to taiwan and australia! SB has started writing more of them as well.
will start the day and perhaps rewrite as i recall! oh i think we started with SB doing recorder prac, and then duets with me as i had got a yamaha recorder treble to match hers. we love duetting. though gina says sb practiced stuff she has been able to do for ages rather than the new things! whilst we were doing this, BB got out a science kit – first electronics, and worked through the book making all the circuits [they are v simple, but i was still v proud as this includes putting batteries in!]
SB did some verbal reasoning and then galore park science – which had an experiment-recipe to make, so we got ingredients. SB fancied crafting before that though, and BB and chris went outside to mend her bike burst tyre from too much skidding!! SB made some dried flower pics which we laminated. unfortunately we seem to have destroyed the laminator when tried to laminate a sweetie wrapper pic. hopefullly chris will take apart and it will work again? we did a short piano practice, concetrating on rhythms.
we then made the rock cakes – these show sediment being laid down over time and creating dinosaur fossils. good fun to make and eat! might remember that idea for a group geology session one day!
so we collapsed infront of tv to cuddle and snuggle, and sb broke the video – it has been a breaking kind of day! so i read rome in cross section to her and bB and we looked for and spotted things and related them to the roman mysteries books. finally watched some mickey mouse dvd, had dinner and then it was bedtime.
my evening work, again, has been home ed politics. making sure i have done as much as i can, writing to mp, dscf, select committee, filling out consultations etc and asking others too.
please, if you haven’t
I will not give up. I will write persistent letter/they work for you emails to my MP, and also the DCSF. I can’t afford to just give in. I will not under any circumstances follow a chosen curriculum – however woolly it is made out to be, because i do not believe that there are any facts that are more worthy of knowledge at any particular time than the facts my child is interested in hearing or reading about then. I will not seek your permission or approval to home educate and I retain the right to provide an efficient and full time education suitable to my children’s ability and aptitude: I believe that I can fulfill this whereas your schools cannot. I will never let you speak to my children on their own. they are not criminals – otherwise they would have representation. they are minors under MY care.
Your review was flawed and would fit well into a totalitarian state. I will never make the mistake of voting labour in the future. The statistics are worthless and biased: all school children, let alone the home educated know that to do statistics you need a numerator and denominator for your groups. You do not know the number of home educated children and freely admit elsewhere that the total home ed population could be at least double the known population. This would make there no statistical difference between the groups – not that i am sure there is statistical significance in your figures. Your LA sample is still less than 50% and you have not sampled the others – whereas using the FOI act, home educator groups – with no resources other than their own time – have. you have not listened or responded to any of the 2000 home educators, children and others in agreement that responded to the review request originally. your bibliography is paltry – requiring you to rely on ‘beliefs’ rather than facts. Now you carry the juggernaut on, trying to define education! I await to see how twisted the next review is as well. I wonder what it is about home educators that makes you so desperate to control them?
As for monitoring, l blog the formal what is done as a record, but despite my blog sounding at times like school at home, it is v child led – though not autonomous – but my child wants to do science, so sees the need to do maths, loves reading etc etc. and often turns down offers to get crafty/sewing/musicy stuff with mum!! So yes, we would probably pass your ‘tests’, especially with an ex-teacher DH. But, I have no intention of co-operating with your ever increasing mission creep and information demands. I refuse. No Thankyou, I choose to retain my parental rights.
I am not a great wordsmith, and am unlikely to ever sway hearts and minds. but I am someone who just doesn’t know when to stop where my children’s benefit is concerned. DO not expect me too.
I need some time to tabulate this again, but this is the dcsf data from the HE ‘consultation’. does it look to anyone as if it has been reflected in Mr Badman’s recommendations? no? so what is a stakeholder consultation supposed to achieve then, obviously not democracy in action.
please refer to original on fOI site [thanks to the staffords]
How have respondents responded?
Response Types Responses
On-Line: 2081 99%
Off-Line: 0 0%
Paper based: 0 0%
Email: 13 1%
Total: 2094 100%
Key Responses: 0 0%
Confidential Responses: 960 46%
Acknowledgements Requested (Sent): 1123 (1123) 54% ( 100% )
Future Contact: 887 42%
Respondent Information Questions
Please specify in what capacity you are responding to this questionnaire
Options Responses Across Consultation
A home educating parent: 1418 68% 68%
Member of the public: 207 10% 10%
A home educated child: 199 10% 10%
Other organisation / capacity (Please specify): 162 8% 8%
Working in local authority with other responsibilities: 39 2% 2%
Working with children or families in another capacity(e.g. third sector): 37 2% 2%
Working in local authority with responsibility for home educated children: 31 1% 1%
Total: 2093 100% 100%
1 Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate? Please let us know why you think that.
There were 2013 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1618 80% 77%
Not Sure: 226 11% 11%
No: 169 8% 8%
System will never be failsafe/cannot protect everyone 42 2.1 % 2.0 %
HE parents report to/meet with LA/EWO already/Annual visits are adequate 101 5.0 % 4.8 %
More acceptance/recognition/support for HE 92 4.6 % 4.4 %
More checks/regular contact with LA needed 76 3.8 % 3.6 %
Existing systems/laws/safeguards are adequate 364 18.1 % 17.4 %
Children suffer abuse/bullying etc at school/look at school system 380 18.9 % 18.1 %
HE children are seen by wide range of people/abuse would be reported 210 10.4 % 10.0 %
HE child at no more or less risk than school child 253 12.6 % 12.1 %
This penalises/discriminates/is offensive to HE sector 118 5.9 % 5.6 %
Same guidelines/systems exist for HE as does for all children 137 6.8 % 6.5 %
Home Ed is fine as it is/no further intervention needed 92 4.6 % 4.4 %
Home Ed must register with/be known to LA 58 2.9 % 2.8 %
No evidence suggests they are at risk/where is evidence 159 7.9 % 7.6 %
Current systems to be improved/implemented properly 137 6.8 % 6.5 %
Parents are responsible for safeguarding etc 158 7.8 % 7.5 %
HE parents are caring/committed to childs best interest and safeguarding etc 223 11.1 % 10.6 %
2 a) Be healthy
There were 2049 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1954 95% 93%
Not Sure: 68 3% 3%
No: 27 1% 1%
HE children are healthier/more aware of healthy living 374 18.3 % 17.9 %
HE children have more opportunity to excersise/be outdoors etc 643 31.4 % 30.7 %
Food healthier at home than at school 362 17.7 % 17.3 %
No exam/testing stress at home 55 2.7 % 2.6 %
Away from risk associated with school (bullying/physical harm/germs etc) 247 12.1 % 11.8 %
HE children spend more time with parents/parents can monitor diets, spot illnesses etc 328 16.0 % 15.7 %
HE children prepare food/cook 185 9.0 % 8.8 %
HE children have less illnesses 59 2.9 % 2.8 %
Cannot ensure children stay healthy 100% of the time 76 3.7 % 3.6 %
No reason why they shouldn’t be/they are as healthy as school children etc. 424 20.7 % 20.2 %
2 b) Stay safe
There were 2043 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1936 95% 92%
Not Sure: 67 3% 3%
No: 40 2% 2%
Bullying/drugs/knives/underage sex etc associated with/experienced at school 678 33.2 % 32.4 %
Smaller child/adult ratio in HE 158 7.7 % 7.5 %
HE children learn independence/how to look after themselves 136 6.7 % 6.5 %
Parents & family monitor & supervise their child/offer best protection or care 672 32.9 % 32.1 %
HE child be at no more risk than school/other child 253 12.4 % 12.1 %
2 c) Enjoy and achieve
There were 2037 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1926 95% 92%
Not Sure: 75 4% 4%
No: 36 2% 2%
Children learn at own pace 363 17.8 % 17.3 %
One to one learning 130 6.4 % 6.2 %
HE children achieve good quals 155 7.6 % 7.4 %
Learning is personalised/tailored to child 723 35.5 % 34.5 %
2 d) Make a positive contribution.
There were 2029 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1904 94% 91%
Not Sure: 92 5% 4%
No: 33 2% 2%
Actively/more involved in community 487 24.0 % 23.3 %
Charity/voluntary/fund raising involvement 186 9.2 % 8.9 %
No less likely than school/other children 157 7.7 % 7.5 %
They are confident/can think for themselves 269 13.3 % 12.8 %
More likely to make a positive contribution 372 18.3 % 17.8 %
Positive contribution to what? 133 6.6 % 6.4 %
They achieve academically/will pursue meaningful careers 61 3.0 % 2.9 %
2 e) achieve economic well-being
There were 1997 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1816 91% 87%
Not Sure: 144 7% 7%
No: 37 2% 2%
More involved in real life situations/shopping, banking etc 196 9.8 % 9.4 %
Can learn/pursue subjects & careers that interest them/not restricted by curriculum 275 13.8 % 13.1 %
HE children self-motivated/confident/independent etc 303 15.2 % 14.5 %
No different for School or Home Ed children 182 9.1 % 8.7 %
What does this mean? 119 6.0 % 5.7 %
HE achieve better academically 117 5.9 % 5.6 %
Where is evidence/do a survey/provide proof 39 2.0 % 1.9 %
No reason why they shouldn’t/of course etc 265 13.3 % 12.7 %
3 Do you think that Government and local authorities have an obligation to ensure that all children in this country are able to achieve the five outcomes? If you answered yes, how do you think Government should ensure this?.
There were 1985 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
No: 1157 58% 55%
Yes: 571 29% 27%
Not Sure: 257 13% 12%
This is the parents’ responsibility 656 33.0 % 31.3 %
Less interference from Govt/LAs 187 9.4 % 8.9 %
Govt/LA responsible when children are in schools 68 3.4 % 3.2 %
Govt/LA should only be responsible where parent irresponsible/fails to provide etc 85 4.3 % 4.1 %
These targets are not ensured at schools/Govt should concentrate on schools 210 10.6 % 10.0 %
Does not agree with the 5 outcomes 127 6.4 % 6.1 %
Govt’s role is provide support/resources/facilities for achieving 5 outcomes 286 14.4 % 13.7 %
Current systems/measurements are adequate 56 2.8 % 2.7 %
This is insulting/discriminiting to HE 32 1.6 % 1.5 %
4 Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be? If you answered no, why do you think that?
There were 2006 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Yes: 1162 58% 55%
No: 602 30% 29%
Not Sure: 242 12% 12%
LA/Govt to be more understanding of/trained in HE 463 23.1 % 22.1 %
General Financial help/help with books, sports access/subs, resources, libraries etc 576 28.7 % 27.5 %
Exam Centre access or help with costs of exams 411 20.5 % 19.6 %
Help not required/needed/procedures ok as they are 286 14.3 % 13.7 %
Too much bureaucracy involved with support 141 7.0 % 6.7 %
Less harrassment from Govt/LA 118 5.9 % 5.6 %
Tax relief/Taxes paid, or have saved the State money! 226 11.3 % 10.8 %
There is no current support 334 16.7 % 16.0 %
Funding for college/able to attend colleges/training 59 2.9 % 2.8 %
Resource centres 67 3.3 % 3.2 %
Flexi-schooling 50 2.5 % 2.4 %
Offer list of HE contacts/support networks/national facilities 149 7.4 % 7.1 %
5 Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be? If you answered no, why do you think that?
There were 1995 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
No: 1283 64% 61%
Yes: 477 24% 23%
Not Sure: 235 12% 11%
More/regular checks needed 131 6.6 % 6.3 %
Fine as it is 566 28.4 % 27.0 %
LAs need to understand/apply law accordingly/be trained 421 21.1 % 20.1 %
Guidelines needed 47 2.4 % 2.2 %
National consistency within LAs 87 4.4 % 4.2 %
We do not neeed monitoring 468 23.5 % 22.3 %
Mandatory registration 57 2.9 % 2.7 %
6 Some people have expressed concern that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude or other forms of child neglect. What do you think Government should do to ensure this does not happen?
There were 1812 responses to this question
Options Responses Across Consultation
Nothing 58 3.2 % 2.8 %
Concentrate on known/reported cases 155 8.6 % 7.4 %
This is scaremongering/exaggerated/out of proportion 161 8.9 % 7.7 %
More understanding of/awareness/tolerance/info on HE 186 10.3 % 8.9 %
Systems can never be failsafe 105 5.8 % 5.0 %
This happens to school children/Look at schools 686 37.9 % 32.8 %
Welfare & education not the same thing 57 3.1 % 2.7 %
Too much emphasis on HE/insulting/offensive/discriminative 515 28.4 % 24.6 %
This is Soc Serv’s role – refer to SS 80 4.4 % 3.8 %
Abuse would be picked up by doctors/neighbours etc 110 6.1 % 5.3 %
Where is the proof/evidence etc 616 34.0 % 29.4 %
Staffing issues (pay,training, quality of staff etc) 42 2.3 % 2.0 %
Proper support for HE (finance,books,sports subs etc) 25 1.4 % 1.2 %
Soc Servs needs overhaul/more resource etc 134 7.4 % 6.4 %
Govt to get own house in order 48 2.6 % 2.3 %
More awareness of warning signs 26 1.4 % 1.2 %
This is excuse to regulate/intrude on HE 113 6.2 % 5.4 %
Current systems & laws ok/or ok if implemented properly 225 12.4 % 10.7 %
HE’s good parents/caring/committed/give up time etc 201 11.1 % 9.6 %
Regular checks/on the spot checks/monitoring or registration 178 9.8 % 8.5 %
A work in progress, but popped on here. please please fill it in, even if without comment
Do you agree that these proposals strike the right balance between the rights of parents to home educate and the rights of children to
receive a suitable education?
i think that the dcsf has entirely failed to grasp that home education aims to provide children with a personally tailored,
individual education aimed to stretch them at their age, ability and aptitude. that actually the dcsf is interfering with what is
already suitably legislated for already. my childrens rights and mine are not things that need to be balanced. as a parent i work for my child’s
best interest, they need no other advocate but me.
Do you agree that a register should be kept?
i think a register will be unnecessary with the arrival of contact point.
Do you agree with the information to be provided for registration?
Do you agree that home educating parents should be required to keep the register up to date?
Do you agree that it should be a criminal offence to fail to register or to provide inadequate or false information?
i strongly disagree with the need for this to be an offence, particularly a criminal offence.
Do you agree that home educated children should stay on the roll of their former school for 20 days after parents notify that they intend
to home educate?
Do you agree that the school should provide the local authority with achievement and future attainment data?
Do you agree that DCSF should take powers to issue statutory guidance in relation to the registration and monitoring of home education?
i disagree most strongly. the badman report was biased in favour of his preliminary assumptions, and his ‘beliefs’, thus he
disregarded any published evidence of success of autonomous education, and the 2000+ submissions by home
educators and home educated children who very much disagreed with the style of monitoring success and achievement against promised
objectives he suggests.
Do you agree that children about whom there are substantial safeguarding concerns should not be home educated?
I think this decision should be made through a multiprofessional forum, where substantial safeguarding concerns are
shown to be actual, and interventions planned for the family.
Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises where home education is taking place provided 2 weeks notice is given?
i do not believe there should be a right to enter the home. i believe current arrangements under current law are
Do you agree that the local authority should have the power to interview the child, alone if this is judged appropriate, or if not in the
presence of a trusted person who is not the parent/carer?
i absolutely disagree with this. i think that children, whether deemed to be vulnerable or not, should not be interviewed in
this manner unless there are already clearly significant safeguarding concerns, and this has been passed through to child
protection. i do not believe this should be through the local authority education arm at all, and feel that ‘mission creep’ will otherwise see more
chldren upset and traumatised by interogation by strangers without understanding the reason or process.
Do you agree that the local authority should visit the premises and interview the child within four weeks of home education starting, after
6 months has elapsed, at the anniversary of home education starting, and thereafter at least on an annual basis? This would not
preclude more frequent monitoring if the local authority thought that was necessary.
i do not agree that they should visit the premises, i specifically do not agree that 4 weeks gives long enough for a
deschooling period for traumatised children, and wonder why home educators should be assessed more frequently than
schools – even known ‘failing schools’. i believe that the more frequent monitoring sets a position for harrassment of home educators. a
maximum of yearly information gathering – by visit or by educational information seems reasonable to me, and especially in the primary years
frequent visits appear to be pointlessly expensive, and biennial may be more reasonable. again i strongly disagree that this needs to be
visiting the home. i note that you have not discussed in this at all whether the local authority should set up committees with home educators,
should be suitably trained in home education and the many methods that may be utilised, nor have you discussed any of the scarce few
positives from the badman review – ie provision of rooms/ resources and exams. this strikes me that you plan to implement a draconian
monitoring system to absolutely guarentee a poor working relationship between home educators and the LA, without implementing anything
that may involve expenditure with a benefit for home educators. i think this is shameful. in my opinion, current legislation is more than
sufficient, both for educational welfare and child safety.
I sent this letter to my MP, as you can see, i did borrow somewhat heavily from the Staffordshire blog, as I am very time pressed at the mo, but still wanted to do something. i note how fabulous and active they are being, and will try and be so myself
Thankyou for all your correspondence whilst we awaited the review into
I wish to seek your support in opposing the reforms to current practice
proposed by Graham Badman in his “Report to the Secretary of State on
the Review of Elective Home Education in England” for the following
1. The Review fails to make a case for its recommendations. The
Secretary of State says it contains strong arguments, but there is, in
fact, little argument supported by evidence in the review. We would
have welcomed a well argued, evidence based review, as this would have
enabled an engagement. Instead there is assertion, but little analysis
and evidence – for instance, the review simply says ‘I believe …’ 16
2. The review lacks intellectual rigour, independence or impartiality.
Where evidence is presented there is an absence of critical analysis,
together with highly selective use of quotations from respondents. Thus
it includes without comment a lengthy, and somewhat naïve, quotation
from the Education Division of the Church of England, but does include
a quote from a home educator which is less than complementary about
local authority staff. The use of quotations is not ‘neutral’, they
serve to highlight certain views merely by their inclusion. In the
review, he notes that he is not convinced by any of the positive
research into home education in this country or others, despite this by
well respected researchers. however, no other data being available, his
lack of conviction is without empirical reference.
3. Evidence on abuse by home educators – a key argument used to justify
action (see below) – is absent from the review report. Somewhat
surprisingly given the review’s terms of reference there is no analysis
of the actual number of suspected and found child abuse cases involving
home educators. Indeed, there are no robust figures or trends presented
(even at an aggregated level), instead there is a vague reference to
‘local authority evidence and case studies’. Thus it is impossible to
tell whether the concerns about possible child abuse are based in fact
or merely imagined. I requested, through the freedom of information
act, the information from [my local] LA about welfare concerns amongst
home educated families, and they knew of no cases.
[link to the response on what do they know]
The review rightly points out that the number of parents opting for
elective home education is unknown. Yet it also claims that ‘the number
of children known to children’s social care in some local authorities
is disproportionately high relative to their home educating
population’. But given that the size of the home education population
is unknown, it is impossible to calculate the proportion, unless these
councils have made up a base for the calculation; in effect the
statement is meaningless.
4. This lack of evidence and analysis is compounded by the absence of
expertise amongst the review panel. In the absence of evidence, some
degree of confidence in the review’s judgements might rest on the
expertise of those involved. They could perhaps be forgiven for simply
making assertions if they had expertise or relevant professional
knowledge of the subject matter. Unfortunately this is not the case. No
home educating parent was on the review team. This does not accord with
a Government that wishes to listen to the public and empower them.
Combined with the first point, this undermines the legitimacy of the
review – why should what appears to be no more that the prejudices of
this group of people be imposed upon the home education community?
5. Furthermore the recommendations are not logically consistent with
review’s limited evidence.
a. The review says that many LAs are not performing adequately, but
then recommends they have more powers. Without an analysis of why they
are failing it would seem inappropriate to give them more powers; this
would simply create problems and maladministration claims for the
b. The review recognises the diversity of home educators, but fails to
take this in to account in its ‘one size fits all’ recommendations
6. A key statement from the review, informing its recommendations is:
“The question is simply a matter of balance and securing the right
regulatory regime within a framework of legislation that protects the
rights of all children, even if in transaction such regulation is only
necessary to protect a minority.”
This guiding ‘principle’ is presented with no provisos or limits. It is
highly risk adverse position, and assumes that all parents are capable
of abuse. This leads to recommendations that are disproportionate and
even the Secretary of State is wary of the cost implications.
Indeed, it logically follows from this that parents of all pre-school
children must be registered and inspected annually; even that visits
are required of children attending school during vacations.
7. I would like to draw your attention to one of the recommendations
being that authorised officers should have the right to speak to each
child alone, and only if the child is particularly vulnerable or
communication difficulties can they have a trusted adult. Personally, I
will refuse this right of access for strangers to interrogate my
You also need to know that the review was poorly conducted – for
• It was announced as a consultation on the consultation website then
when it was pointed out that it was not compliant with the Consultation
Code of Practice it suddenly became a review;
• The review outcome was partially pre-judged in advance, Graham
Badman, author of the review, publicly said as much when he asserted
the status quo could not remain long before the review was completed;
• The on-line questionnaire used to gather home educators and others’
views was badly designed involving leading and poorly constructed
In addition, the review process has angered and alienated many home
educators. The review report and the Secretary of State highlight the
importance of there being good relationships with home educators.
However, the review has undermined this objective; it has even been
counterproductive. Many home educators are now opting out of any
involvement with their local authorities after many years of effort to
improve relationships with them.
I realise that policy on home education is probably seen as part of the
‘backwater’ of political debate in Parliament, and that at present
other issues have higher media and public profile. However, the home
education community is a vocal and organised, if disparate, group, and
you might like to advise your colleagues to take an interest in this
issue as it has the potential to generate some very adverse publicity
for the party.
The review report can be found at:
If you or a member of your staff require more information or details of
sources, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I believe that
from the outset this review has been prejudiced against home-education
and home-educators, using supposition and flights of fancy to justify
draconian monitoring, registration and interrogation permissions which
far exceed those expected by children at school, and ignoring or
belittling all of the research and evidence in favour of home-education
or maintaining the status quo.
I look forward to hearing from you, and would be happy to meet with you
to discuss this further.
so, sorry for rampant plagiarism, but anyway, he has written back, suggesting this has been discussed in tory policy circles, and has forwarded my letter onto ed balls for further discussion.