Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home education - good man Badman?

Am ploughing through the review, published today.

I have an amendment on the subject down for the Apprenticeships bill, and all and any comments on the report and on the government's response will be welcome.


Blogger Richard F said...

Dear Lord Lucas

Your support for us home educators is greatly appreciated.

As for the review I am shocked by the powers the government wish to give councils to oversee home educators. Graham badman has ignored our opinions and his proposals are an invasion of our civil liberties.

There is no other group of people that I know of whose homes can be accessed on request by any council and their children forcibly interviewed without there being any evidence of abuse.

They also clearly want to make a 'suitable education' into 'an education that the government thinks is suitable'.

If this legislation goes through the future of home education is in danger. With powers such as these councils could forcibly send any child back to school at the drop of a hat. It will all depend on the whim of the individual council and whether they are pro or anti home education.

I will be gathering home educators in my area and starting to campaign against this in the best way that we can.

We really need your help now more than ever!

Best wishes

Richard Felber

1:02 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

I feel we are equipping our daughter to have a practical hands on approach to her education by enabling her to see how we, as her parents may not have all the answers, but we can show her where she may find the answers for herself.
Reading, writing and calculation are not taught as separate subjects but inter-related into our daily life.
A prescribed syllabus is not able to offer this approach as it has to fit a "one size fits all" government mandate.
I can offer a child led tailor made curriculum to ensure my daughter is fully engaged in the learning process.
She will be fully equipped to take her education further as a young adult either in a formal college / university setting or via some vocational route.
The Badman report seeks to erode parental involvement in their child's education by insisting on Governmental prescriptive control over an educational system that is already failing most of our young people. Excellent teachers are leaving the profession over excessive target based teaching.
Mediocrity seems to be the order of the day - just watch any news item interviewing young teens over some disaster that has befallen their community and the first thing you notice is the inability to string two sentences together coherently.
The Badman report would like us all to attain to school standards. I feel this is dumbing down our approach to education and does little to inspire our children.
This report seemed to have been calculated to appear at the time when the distressing case of a little girl in Birmingham who had been abused appears in the tabloid press. The fact that she was in school until a few weeks before her death seems to be excluded from all reports. Rather sensationally it is stated that she had been withdrawn from school to home educate and therefore had somehow became invisible.
This awful case is one of child welfare and not of child eduction.
Vijay Patel, NSPCC Media spokesman, also stated publically that Home Education can be used as an excuse for abuse. When challenged, he admitted he had no evidence to back this up. As the NSPCC is reliant on government funding, I wonder who asked him to state this "fact"?
He did later retract this statement but only in an obscure faith based newspaper. Certainly not in any of the high profile newspapers that published his first statement.
Child abuse is rightly an emotive issue but I wonder who thought it would be appropriate to question a home educated child - alone and with no other adult present - to ascertain whether they were being abused. This is one of Mr Badman's recommendations.
This is insulting in the extreme and a very worrying development. Local Safeguarding Board's have highly trained social workers who work in this very sensitive field. Who thought that an untrained Local Education Authority employee would be the most appropriate person to undertake this task?
Does this also mean that every child who attends school will also be questioned - alone and with no adult support - to ensure they are not being abused at home. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of abused children attend school. Somehow, I think not!
The fourth enquiry in as many years seems to suggest that the very small home educating families appear to be a threat to the government although I fail to see why.
On the whole, we are law abiding, tax paying citizens who have taken a keen interest in our child's education and take very seriously our responsibility to care for our family both materially and educationally.
Responding to yet another review is a distraction from our family time and leaves some vulnerable children - who can read - fearful about being forcibly returned to the very establishments that failed them in the first place.
Kind regards
Jaki Parsons

10:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Badman report and the government response if implemented will be part of the "drip drip" erosion of civil liberties of this government. It is a gross overreaction, will cost a lot of money and it is very unlikely that it will achieve what the government claims. (so a bit like identity cards!)

9:24 pm  
Blogger Carlotta said...

I would like to second everything that Richard F has written here and would add that after only a few days since the report has been published, it is already clear from both email lists, blogs, and in local HE groups, that his views are widely replicated in the home education community. There will be wide-spread opposition to the implementation of Mr. Badman's recommendations.

The government regularly pronounces that it is eager to give a voice to children, and yet in this instance, they seem intent on ignoring it completely. When recently polled on the subject of whether they would like to see an LA official, 77% of home educated children said that they did not want to have anything to do with them. It seems that the government doesn't actually care one jot about children's rights to privacy or to freedom of association, or to parental duties to protect their children's rights.

1:36 am  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

Lord Lucas,

The remit of the review according to the letter to Ed Balls at the start of the document included "safegaurding" and LA provision, and yet child safety isn't mentioned until Section 8. The first recommendations are about educational provision, which Badman decided was part of the review. Surely then the review should have been mandated to research this rather than "safeguarding"? So shouldn't the discussion hinge upon whether the review over stepped its remit rather than the particulars therein?

Unfortunately, Badman's "opinion" on the educational provision can be summed up with this quote from the review:

"I am not convinced by the existing research studies on the
outcomes for home educated children both in this country and

He alone is not convinced. And this is in Section 10 about what must be researched further. Surely if there are recommendations early in the review about education they should already have been researched?

Notice that having access to the home, and to the child without a parent being there come under the education part of the review, and not the safeguarding part. Why is this? Should the government be able to enter our homes with no suspicion of illegal activities?

That's before we come to the themes that run through the document, such as the assumption that children are kept at home all the time and interact independently with no other children or adults.

Why has Badman chosen to back up his argument with emotive quotes rather than data? Quotes which, incidentally, assume that a parent is responsible for delivering government targets and policies, such as ECM. Surely families have a right of autonomy from the state?

I have done three posts on my blog about the issues I have with the review if you wish to read further:

8:26 am  
Blogger Carol G said...

Dear Lord Lucas

I agree with the parts that said that some home educators are forced into it by local authorities that do not want to give the right help to children with disabilities or special needs. These children have often been severely damaged by schools trying to make them fit into a particular box or act a particular age. "Inclusion" often means that schools treat all children the same regardless of special needs. This can mean that they are punished and excluded for having conditions such as ASD.

Carol G

9:36 am  
Anonymous Beth Bodycote said...

Dear Lord Lucas,
I agree with the comments already posted here wholeheartedly.
I ask you to support Home Educators and do whatever you can to stop the recommendations made by The Badman Report being brought into action.

Home Educators are not child abusers, we are parents who love our children, hate to see them distressed, scared and struggling at mainstream school and so have decided to do something to improve things for them.
It is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children have an education which is suitable to their needs and abilities - Schools do not provide this for the majority of children and it is this that the Government should be concentrating their efforts on.
The Government should not be trying to take away responsibility from parents, we know and love our children and want nothing but the best for them - WE should be able to decide what that is.

If LEA's are given the powers to interview Home Educated children to find out if they are happy being Home Educated, surely ALL School Educated children should be asked how they feel about learning at school AND be given the option to learn at home?

If LEA's are able to inspect the homes, educational provision and attainments of each individual Home Educated child and make a judgement about its suitability and success, surely ALL School Educated children should have the same individual assessments made?

Also surely all School Educated children should have the same assessments made, that Home Educated children are expected to have, when they are out of school - holiday times, weekends etc - surely their parents need to be checked out too, to prevent possible abuse while the children are away from the gaze of 'trustworthy adults'in schools!


Please, please help if you can, this is not right and it should not be allowed to happen.

10:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son was so badly bullied at school he tried to kill himself. he has been left deeply traumatised by school. The school in question offered no support for him and only saught to judge him by his disability and label him stupid. The LEA have never been in our home nor will my son speak with them.Instead I meet the LEA at the library. We are autonomous and have no written work as such to show anyone. two years out of school and my son is learning at his own pace and in his own way, aften by reading books, talking and visiting places relevant to what he is reading about. he would not see a person from the LEA nor would I make him.

I have a history of depression caused by the fact I was badly beaten several years ago during a mugging. This of course means that the gov will see me as being vulnerable and unable to provide an education.

In my opinion this review takes away several civil liberties/children's rights and human rights and is just wrong.

This country is severly going downhill and I worry what is happening is seriously going to damage potentially thousands of families.

Also think of the costs involved in implimenting all these reccomendations of Mr Badmans. Also, if thousands of children are going to be bullied back into the school system.....where are all these places going to come from? How much do hundreds/thousands of new schools cost to build not to mention the staff to teach at them?

My children want to stay with their parents and be educated by their parents.

11:04 am  
Blogger Elizabeth (My Reading World) said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

Thank you for showing your support to the Home Education community. As I’m sure you are aware-we are not a cohesive community. We have all come to home educate our children for a huge variety of reasons.

We chose to home educate our children before they were born, and it had nothing to do with the current UK school system. We have not been ‘forced’ to home educate—it is a way of life that we have freely chosen to live. As a child I enjoyed school and can’t think of any ‘bad’ events—but I always felt I could learn more at my own pace, and if I followed my interests. We educate our children at home as we feel it is providing them a loving and stable environment where they are free to explore the world at their own pace. I have two very clever and extremely happy children. I have nothing to hide—but I want the sanctity of my home life to remain as it is and I do not want my rights to do so taken away.

I see this report as eroding away the civil liberties of not just home educators, but all families. If they want to talk to my children alone without a family representative-then they will have to apply that law to all families in the country. I’m sure no one thinks, or can prove, that child abuse in the home only happens Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm.

Why do I need to submit a 12 month plan—are they planning on extending the school year? If they actually learned anything about home education during the review—they would have realized our children do learn year round. They are with their ‘educational facilitators’ 24/7. Learning does not occur during school hours only. To say you cannot learn without going to school is absurd. That would mean no one would learn anything from the day they are born till they entered school, and that you couldn’t possibly learn anything when you left school.

Why do they think our children are hidden? I’m sure every museum throughout the country will vouch that they have booked numerous home education outings. Our children are the ones that are enjoying all the wonderful things the UK has on offer. We are out and about every day. Our children interact with all walks of life. They have private and group lessons, they join in the Scouts movements, they see the shop clerks, run errands with their parents, go to home education group functions, and numerous other events throughout the year.

We are not hiding our children; we are not abusing our children. We are taking full responsibility for our children’s happiness, their well being and their educational provisions, as is our legal right. I have never, and will never, abdicate this responsibility to the State. The State does not love and cherish my children—only we, as their parents, can ensure they have a safe and happy life—not some unseen bureaucracy.

Many thanks for your time and help with this issue.

Best wishes,
Elizabeth F.

11:12 am  
Blogger Catalonia13 said...

Firstly a heartfelt thank you for your support.

Much of the review is flawed, innacurate and based on his opinion of HE which he clearly does not agree with, it was a bit like asking a vegetarian to produce an unbiased report on eating meat!

but anyway ... 2 things really stand out to me

1. If he believes HE children have the right to chose to go to school (against their parents wishes) then it must follow that schooled children have the same rights and that they can choose NOT to go to school, to not allow the same rights to ALL children would be utter discrimination.

2. If he believes that the LA must have the right to interview HE children annually (and without a parent present if they so deem it necessary) then every pre-school child in the country must also have an annual visit just to make sure that they are not being abused, I mean ... it would be wrong to wait until they are at school to find out wouldn't it!? ;)


11:18 am  
Anonymous S Harley said...

Dear Lord Lucas,
Thank you for your support, it is most welcomed.

The recommendations concern me greatly. Recommendation 1 - The right of a local official to force entry to the home and interview a child alone purely on the basis that the parents have exercised their legal right to home educate shows that LAs consider home education in and of itself a 'safeguarding' issue and would grant LA officials greater powers than our police force holds.

Whilst to an outsider the recommendation that the LA can 'revoke' or 'refuse' permission to home educate on safeguarding grounds may sound reasonable. Home educators, however, know and can prove (FOIA requests of LA responses to the many previous consultations for example) that many LAs consider Home Education in and of itself a 'safeguarding' concern.

Should this recommendation become law, what is to stop the LA simply stating that they cannot 'safeguard' any home educated child effectively and then force them into school?

We've all seen how the understanding of the ECM objectives have changed over time from being ideals for an LA to 'promote' to being something that each child 'must achieve'.

The consequence of this is official intrusion into the home which was foreseen as a danger by The Noble Earl Howe during the Lords debate on the Children's Bill on 15 July 2004. He stated the following:

"Emotional well-being is surely quite distinct from mental health and social well-being. It is different from protection from harm and neglect, which is a negative, not a positive, concept. If there has to be a choice between the noble Lord's two amendments, Amendments Nos. 18 and 19, I prefer Amendment No. 19, first, because it is neater and, secondly,

because it is an outcome which does not in any way presuppose any kind of official intrusion into the home. That is not, I am sure, what the noble Lord wants to see but it could be thought to be a consequence of making the provision of a secure and supportive home environment a specific target for local authorities and their partners"

That consequence is here and now, and must be stopped.

Thank you again Lord Lucas for your support,

Yours sincerely
S Harley

11:23 am  
Anonymous Jax said...

Would be interested to read your amendment, is it available online anywhere, or do we have to wait for the relevant sitting?

The Badman review is a farce, and one calculated to inspire anguish and terror amongst home educators. We jumped through all the hoops we were required to, and our voices and opinions have been completely ignored. The state has powers to safeguard children, and would be much better advised to focus on getting use of those powers right - witness the number of children where multiple agencies were aware of the difficult situations they were in, who nevertheless died practically under the noses of their social workers. It was not that those social workers had insufficient powers, it was that they didn't use them efficiently or effectively. How is moving an entire extra category of children into an at risk status going to help those children truly at risk?

And education is a separate thing from welfare. The power grab that the government is undertaking, that the state will determine what a suitable education is, removes all responsibility from parents, where it currently and correctly resides. The state is the parent of last resort, but at the moment appears to want to be the first. Please stand up for us and prevent this occurring.

11:25 am  
Blogger Fee said...

What depresses me most about the Badman report and its instant acceptance from the Government is that even if they press forward and change the law relating to home education, the measures will only increase the confusion for the ocal authorities. I have only experienced one inspection in ten years but I have support other people through their inspections and I have found local authority inspectors to be ignorant of and uninterested in the differences between home education and shcool education. They are largely hostile to home education because they don't have open minds about it. Things are bad enough at present, where their only responsibiity is to look at educational provision, but it will be much muddier if they acquire responsibiity for inspecting the welfare and other aspects of chidren's lives.

I have always thought that the baance of power between LAs and home educators was about right: they are subject to the same welfare controls as other parents, and the responsibiity for the children's education was that of the parent and not the authority. I think it is a foolish government that would change that system without good evidence that it isn't working currently, and I do not believe that the Badman report does that.

I would be very interested to know why the review was truncated to four weeks instead of the usual 12, and why everyone who wished to see Mr Badman in relation to the review wasn't allowed to do so.
Fee Berry

11:35 am  
Anonymous Annegret J. said...

Dear Lord Lucas,
I would like to second everything that Richard F and Jaki Parsons have written here and strongly endorse their comments. I am a translator and resesarch adviser and being polyglot myself decided to incorporate different languages in my childrens upbringing. To cut a long story short none of our local schools thought this was such a good idea and none was responsive, inclusive or helpful. I am now doing it myself with two girls already bilingual in every aspect at age 5 and keen to learn another. I have encountered many schools where the idea of teaching history to primary children is the world cup victory Germany versus Britain - i am afraid i beg to differ. In my initial search for a primary school i only encountered one teacher who had knowledge of 'foreigners' such as Goethe. I am sure (well i hope) there are some excellent teachers in the 'business' of teaching but i for one witnessed astonishing lack of knowledge coupled with ignorance and arrogance. I suppose if the governments teaching record was a full success story I might be inclined to listen but with a +/-50% GCSE pass rate for the whole of the country all cannot be so perfect with the state education. Thank you for reading this comment. All the Best, Annegret James

11:48 am  
Anonymous Janet said...

These recommendations are heavy-handed, seeking to give LAs a great deal of power over home educators. There are several issues in this review that are alarming, particularly the issue of interviewing children alone, how frightening that would be for a child/children to be left with, in many cases, a complete stranger to answer questions posed to them just because an LA official feels it is 'appropriate' to do so. The freedom for us, as home educators, to provide an education that is unique to our own child(ren), reflecting their needs and interests is under serious threat. I do not see how these recommendations can possibly foster good relations between home educating families and LAs.

12:11 pm  
Blogger jac said...

Dear Lord Lucas

I hope you will look at the wider issues raised by this review. Already the govt have placed enough suspicion on home educating parents to worry the rest of the population (who often know nothing about the process and have all sorts of predictable ideas regarding what home education means). Labour whipped up a lot of anxiety about child abuse and arranged marriage (laughable really) in the press earlier this year and despite the fact that anyone can see how ridiculous it is, it's hard to rebuke it. Most people (myself included!) are fairly conventional in their ways, and feel rather worried when things are done differently. But now I find myself defending home education to 'intelligent' people I know against fears of paedophilia. Unfortunately you can't libel a group, but if the same sort of remarks were made against any other loosely defined group - black people for example - there would be justifiable cries of racism.

When I read Badman's report, I have to confess to being far more shocked than I had anticipated. I am not involved in politics and was astonished to see a 'review' that amounted to no more than Badman's paranoid, stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Where was the evidence? It's so flimsy, so easily taken apart. Is this really the way govt operates? If so, it's very worrying. If I wrote a business proposal for the organisation I work for and it read like Badman's review, I would be laughed out of the building.

Ed Balls wants every child in state education - however hopeless state education is. IF he could shut down the independent sector, we all know he and his friends on the left would have done so (except for the children of many labour MPs like Diane Abbot perhaps!). It is far easier to target individuals and the child abuse angle couldn't be more efficient. I know, from my experience in home ed and the people I meet, that many people are deserting state education because they know it's failing. And I personally think the govt five outcomes are jolly good for children and best met by me in the home. The govt knows that home ed now offers an opportunity for parents to avoid state ed and that people are now ready to make the sacrifices of time and income involved to ensure their children get a decent start in life. This is why Balls and his ilk are more worried than ever before about home educators and being militant left, they are taking a militant approach.

What is particularly offensive is that Badman has visited home ed groups, seen perfectly reasonable children doing perfectly reasonable things and yet he ruthlessly sweeps the truth under the carpet and continues on his way with this vindictive campaign. O, if only the energies of Balls and Badman could be so directed at the people who do abuse children (think Islington care homes) and the school system that is sending children out into the world unable to read and write.

I think there are sufficient numbers of home educators in this country to rally to their cause.

And the broader issue of invasion of privacy I think is the one most significant here. Are we really going to give social workers and LEA officials the right to demand entry to hour homes and interview our children? Is this the society we live in now? Prove yourself innocent of child abuse? It's insane.

I hope on this issue of personal liberty at least that those, like yourself, who are involved in politics will raise this area of profound concern to anyone- noy just home educators.

All the best


12:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lucas,

I have no idea what having "... an amendment on the subject down for the Apprenticeships bill" means, but I can safely say this about it; whatever amendment you table, whatever legislation is voted on, we will not, under any circumstances, obey anything that results from the Graham Badman review of Home Education.

I understand from comments here that you are friendly towards Home Education, thank you for that, but it is frankly outrageous that we have to rely on the good will of members of both houses to retain and exercise our God given rights.

Bloggers and commenters have thoroughly explained why this review is absurd on its face, so I will not repeat their views here. I advise you to use Google and find them for yourself, instead of waiting for people to deliver the facts to you. You will find a population of very angry people who have had enough.

This review should never have happened. Its conclusions are flawed, and HMG has no moral right to implement them, any more than it has the moral right to arbitrarily kidnap children or kill people on a whim.

None of us are relying on the political process to protect our rights and safeguard our families. It is clear that whatever consultation is made, the results will be ignored. It is also abundantly clear that this sham government is hostile to every family in Britain, and that it does not care in any way about the opinions or rights of the individual.

I assure you that these proposals are going to fail spectacularly; you may convey to your evil colleagues in both houses who oppose us and desire that we deliver up our children to be abused by them that they should consider themselves put on notice. We will not allow ourselves and our way of life to be arbitrarily destroyed by the extension into the law the prejudices of two corrupt men.

12:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Badman report is based on the smear that home educators are potential paedophiles. From this initial presumption of guilt, Badman goes on to prescribe a set of recommendations which disgracefully erode civil liberties. Badman's most appalling suggestion is that LA officials are entitled to forced entrance into our homes and the removal for questioning of our children. This is criminality dressed up as governance. A whole way of life is about to be destroyed unless we can in some way get this wiped clear. The suggestion that parents must provide a plan for learning covering twelve months hence is an absurdity, when so many parents respond daily to the educational needs and interests of their children. It is also, by the way, a violation of their human rights. Badman is wrong about everything. I have never seen so much anger in such a normally peaceable community.

1:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

I was astounded and physically sickened by what I read in the report and the proposals for the registration, criminalisation of non compliance (thus making criminals of otherwise law abiding citizens striving to do the best for the children), monitoring, compulsory interrogation of innocent children (note: not criminals) without their parents present, scrutiny of education provision by parents against what a school feels should be achieved and when and otherwise intrusion of local authority into the homes of again, innocent, law abiding citizens who have, for one reason or another decided that the state is not equipped to educate their children. Where exactly are we living?
I am a home educating parent of two children, one of whom is autistic. I am horrified to think that we should have to be submitted to procedures befitting the interrogation of paedophiles. What exactly is Mr Badman/Ms Morgan et al. trying to achieve by subjecting my young autistic son to such intrusion? He was already showing signs of depression when we withdrew him from school after one term. Where are our rights to privacy? Our civil liberties? Where is it written that by choosing to withdraw from the mainstream you are immediately under suspicion of acting nefariously? Is this Nazi Germany where we will eventually no longer be able to home educate at all because the government wants no assertion of individuality, no deviation from the norm, wants to make sure we are all under control?
Will school attending children be subjected to such treatment so we are on an even playing field? Will school attending children be advised of their rights NOT to attend school in order to achieve an education.
Fortunately my young son is achieving way more than he would ever have been allowed to at school so we will have already surpassed what the school would have seen as possible. But otherwise holding up an independent education against the benchmark of school (and quite possibly an attainment projection written subjectively by people who may feel spurned by parents choosing otherwise to the school's 'expertise' (as myself and many of my acquaintances have experienced).
I withdrew my older son from school at the end of yr 9 at his request to try and educate himself. He saw how well and how happy his younger brother is. He had spent all of his time at one primary and high school being shouted at, berated and belittled by teachers who thought their main role was 'control'. (At primary school his teacher tore up his work and called him stupid, his Head Teacher pushed him against a wall and made his nose bleed). He had, over the 3 yrs lost the ability to think, had developed a real aversion to learning and was put off the sujects he had loved and been passionate about. A local authoritarian may not like our home based education but in the last few months we have seen the re-emergence of our son, not the anti-social thug who came in from school everyday and hid in his room. With these new proposals this would all be for nought. It wouldn't (as a work in progress) be up to scratch.
The government and the local authorities need to stop confusing welfare issues (abuse) and education. we have systems in place for protecting children that need using properly (I refer to the many times Victoria Climbie and Baby P were seen by professionals, and the fact that Eunice Spry was deemed fit to be a foster parent way before any considerations of home education were raised).
No amount of legislation will protect children from those who seek to harm them, all this new legislation will do is persecute families and children who are otherwise seeking to live their lives in the way they see fit with no harm to anyone.

1:29 pm  
Anonymous A Brand said...

Dear Lord Luca,

My biggest concerns are those over the loss of civil liberties. But bloggers before me have raised that issue, and I could not put it in better words. I wonder though, it is home education now, what will we lose next?

The review lacks intellectual rigour, independence or impartiality.
If you study the report, you will surely have noticed that it is laced with “I believe(s)” (16 times actually, as it has been pointed out to me) although we have been told there would be a strong case. Personally, I have not seen a strong case at all, but a very opinionated view on home education. I doubt very much that any of the interested parties, such as the Humanist Society or the Church of England which were quoted, have an actual experience of home education or know any personally. The only known quantity is the schooling system, which is perceived as the non-plus-ultra, and from that corner, every service other than the home education community, argues. Can I point out, that no representative from the home education movement sat on the panel.

The evidence on abuse carried out at the hands of home educators only gets a vague mention: ‘local authority evidence and case studies’. To me, it is not clear from that, whether the concerns are based on fact or are merely imagined. From where I stand, educational matters and welfare matters have been thrown into one pot to get what the LAs wanted. All previous reviews have come to the conclusion that there is no concern about home education, only now that it has been linked with welfare issues has this changed.

I strongly believe that since ECM there has been a ridiculous increase in measuring and quantifying of children, and home educated children are an unknown quantity which some civil servants can just simply not cope with. It seems to be that LAs have put their wishes into the shopping trolley and got what they wanted – more control. The governemt’s 21st Century School is an ambitious dream envisioning migration within educations and more community based education, making the learning experience even more uniform as it already is, but again we seem to be the spanner in their works. I argue we need more diversity not less to serve all our children’s needs, and therefore we need to protect home education and all its sides whether it is a structured or an autonomous approach.

Finishing off my rant with Mr Badman’s conclusion. He mentions that Britain has one of the most liberal systems when it comes down to home education. He consoles our loss of rights (not just those of parents but of children alike) with the fact, that in many European countries home education is banned. In Germany since 1930! Being German myself, this sets me off. The NAZIs just did not want to leave anything to chance. It was their way of exercising absolute power – knowing, if children are brainwashed just enough they will turn against their parents. And many parents ended up in prisons because their own children snitched. Other European countries have had communist regimes, again a ban there made sense to them because of total control. Now, we are being reassured, that home education remains the right of the parents. But put interviewing the children alone into perspective. Scary!

I truly believe that one can measure the state of democracy of a country by its diversity in education. I cannot stress enough, that it is important, that home education must be part of that, whether structured or autonomous.

Thank you for listening.


1:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas
Thankyou for your support and interest in home education.
As a home educating parent of five children I am appalled at the lack of understanding and unsubstantiated prejudice that has been shown by Mr Badman in this review on home education. I have home educated my children for thirteen years and have always had a good relationship with my LEA. If this review is put into action all trust with the LEA will be gone. I would feel the need to pay for someone to film the whole visit, I would feel the need to have legal representation present. All this linking home education to abuse is working against the British presumtion of innocence until proven guilty. Rather we are being treated as guilty purely based on the fact that we home educate. This whole report is based on prejudice and lies. Even the statement that more home educated families are known to social services is evidence of the persecution we as home educaters face. Parents are often reported to social services just because they are home educating, an investigation takes place with the family being vindicated, but in the statistics these families are now known to social services. Furthermore many home educating parents choose this route because they have children with special needs whose needs have not been met by the school system, again these children will bring the family into contact with social services. To use these statistics to claim more abuse goes on in home education is I'm sorry to say institutional persecution.
Sylvia Lowery

1:56 pm  
Blogger Big mamma frog said...

Our family is still reeling from the report and the ignorance it demonstrates about home education.

Our family has made an active choice to allow our children to grow up following their interests and passions, to learn at their own pace, and without being subjected to the intrusion of testing and monitoring. As the saying goes 'the pig doesn't get any fatter by weighing it'.

I wonder if the government has plans to monitor and inspect all those parents with preschool children too? Or school children during school holidays?

I don't know anyone in social services who would agree that a yearly visit by a stranger would be effective in identifying cases of child abuse, or providing an environment whereby a child might disclose abuse.

And of course there is the huge risk of false-positives caused by an inefficient system that is driven by targets. If you are searching for a needle in a haystack, then making the haystack bigger isn't the solution.

Recommendation 7 proposes a change in the law to give designated local authority officers the right of access to the home. This right is not even extended to the Police and Social Services unless there is probable cause, and defies the European Convention of Human Rights article 8.

Are we to be persecuted for making a minority choice in the education of our child? We have never asked the LA for funding. We have never asked the LA for resources or facilities. We fund home education ourselves, often through outstanding resourcefulness and with considerable hardship.

And where is the money going to come from to administer this uneccessary and intrusive system?
No doubt it could be better spent providing funding for grass root organisations that do a great deal of unspoken work to support families in the community. I'm not speaking here about the turgid machinery of the Sure Start Centres, but the small independent voluntary organisations where people meet and communities self-regulate; these are exactly the sorts of places where children ARE seen, where parents are supported and any concerns ARE noted and acted upon(isn't this the whole intention of this monitoring?).

If these recommendations go through then I suspect huge numbers of home educators will go underground. And I very much doubt that any of them will be voting for any party that supports this report.

2:45 pm  
Blogger Norma said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:51 pm  
Blogger Susie said...

The Badman Review - FAIL!!

70 odd pages of opinion presented as fact.

No quantitative analysis ... countless "I believes".

Anecdotal 'evidence' in place of any real evidence.

Recommendations that represent a shocking assault on civil liberties.

The right to enter my home? The power to compel me to leave my child in the company of a stranger?

I am left speechless. And I will not accept such invasions.

When my son reached the age of 5 I contacted my LA to find out what I needed to do to register him as home-educated. It took 5 call transfers and lots of head scratching before I was put through to the right person's extension. I left a message but never had my call returned.

6 months went by.

I called again and was finally able to speak to the person concerned. They could not say why they had never returned my calls. They disparaged the Home-ed community and made it plain they did not 'support' the concept.

The thought that this same person may have some influence in my son's life fills me with dread.

The standard of education that my son receives far exceeds the quality of education that he would receive in a state school ... we tried for 6 weeks and were both appalled!

The home-ed community is full of people who go to extra-ordinary lengths to do the best they can for their children, that they are being treated in this way beggars belief.

I believe an exceptional society is one that cherishes its exceptions for they are often the vanguards, the visionaries and the history makers.

The home-ed community is a magnificent example of this. They should be respected, cherished and learned from not mistreated and looked upon with unfounded suspicion.

I hope this government is quickly unseated and this nonsense report is consigned to the recycle bins.

3:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The review starts by saying that it is the parents responsibility to educate the child, then goes into some detail on how to strip said parents of that.
It claims there is no evidence that home education is being used as a cover for abuse or forced marriages/slavery, then goes on to recommend measures intended for the detection of these things 'just in case'.
It talks about 'the rights of the child' but makes no definite explanation of how the recommendations are going to facilitate these - many in fact could be viewed as a stripping of those rights. It talks about bringing home education in line with the 5 goals for childhood, goals which are themselves, woolly, poorly defined and in the cases of many children, unobtainable (a terminally ill child can never achieve 'health' for example)
It talks about the need for 'structure', 'goals', and 'expected outcomes' and appears shocked at the 'lack of overall organisation' in the home educating community, a mindset that is fixed firmly in that of large organisations and the National Curriculm, despite knowing that these are two important reasons people choose to home educate.
It recommends powers be given to LEA's and Social Services that are discriminatory (in that no other sector of society is obliged to suffer them, and they are being put in place 'on the off-chance' rather than for a specific problem relating to a specific family implying a belief that this sector of the community is always suspect) and draconian (in that they are highly reminicent of powers granted to law enforcement in police states - right of access to homes, right to interview children without parent present, right to refuse home education to a particular family without the need to give a reason, etc)
It is designed to make entering the home educating way of life more difficult - parents need to register annually. If one forgets to do this, will there be fines, compulsory school orders? 20-day grace period before schools de-register a child they are informed is to be home educated in case 'circumstances change' which effectively gives the school the right to spend those 20 days badgering the family, while the first visit is recommended to be within a month - a month from when the school de-registers, or from when the parents state their intention to do so? If the former, that is effectively 1 week after school is a thing of the past.
No allowance is being made for a period of 'de-schooling', something that is agreed to be necessary for a child who is taken from school no matter what the circumstances, or for the very real fear that officialdom strikes into the hearts of many children who are taken from school -imagine how it would feel to a young child taken from school because things are unbearable to be faced with the prospect of an interview with a stranger, possibly unsupported, who has the power to send them back to the place that harmed them if they say or do the wrong thing.
It feels very much like the pre-cusor for introducing measures to ensure home educators follow the National Curriculum regardless of their culture, community, beliefs etc.
It states that LEA's have failed to help children who were in danger in the past because the current regulations are not good enough. It fails significantly to address the very real problem that the people who work for LEA's are very often unaware of the law and their own powers within it, a far more likely reason for these failures. It begs the question, if they failed to understand what they could and couldn't do under the current law, what mis-understandings and failures will occur under the far more wide-ranging ones proposed here.
Louisa Bird

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Training is mentioned for LEA workers in home education, though no actual details are provided as to what types of education, how much training, what things the workers will be expected to look for etc. However, the definite wariness of autonomous home education suggests very much that the author of the report does not expect training to be given in this.
Assumptions are made about things that were not specifically investigated. Autonomous education being one. The author has assumed this is 'a bad thing' without looking at evidence. He has done this in more than one area where the only true evidence for the reliability/effectiveness of a type of education would be to look at the finished product ie. the adults who were once home educated children, because looking at something half-way through gives no good indication of how it will turn out. The author fails to grasp this, it comes out clearly in his apparent horror at the idea of autonomous education yet he seems to have made no attempt to find or talk to any adults who have been educated in this manner to determine it's effectiveness.
It dismisses statements by home educators because they are all too different ergo you must look at all home educators to see what works and what doesn't. However he makes no recommendations for looking at and discovering what works, merely makes the assumption that he already knows and that it must be applied to all children everywhere.
The report makes a number of uses of the quote 'an effective education is that which achieves what it sets out to do.' No where does the report explain that this legal definition was made on behalf of a school that was charged with not providing a suitable education. This bias towards schools is heavy, often with concerns that are equally applicable to school children being stated as peculiar to home educated ones ie. abused children in schools are seen every day by non-relatives yet very few cases of abuse are detected by teachers. The assumption remains that because they are 'seen' they are 'safe' Most home educated children are seen regularly in the community, at clubs, events, out shopping etc often by people who have known them for years as well as strangers, yet apparently this type of being 'seen' is not good enough, a special visit by a trained officer who can request to see the youngest of children alone is required for these. Being 'seen' by a teacher who has usually known the child for less than a year in a class of 20-odd other children on the other hand is adequate, according to this report.
Louisa Bird

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very concerned by this report. It is a huge interference in my life and has a big whiff of 'guilty until proven innocent' about it. The burden of proof will rest with me to show my children are recieving a good education, while the pressure to alter how I educate to fit the model expected by the report so that I am 'allowed' to keep educating my own child is massive - if my methods are judged unfit (and the report shows definite leanings towards judging of methods rather than looking at how a child is thriving) then I would be forced to send my child to school or go to prison. The inclination is to alter the method than allow the school system to take the child as the lesser of two evils, creating a compromise on te educational phillosophies and ideals I live by. This is highly coersive and makes a mockery of 'the parent's responsibility to educate the child' as it would not be the education I would choose for my child.
I am also concerned by the idea of people coming into my home to judge me. I do not live a particularly conventional life which would be an immediate black mark against me by others who have little experience, understanding or patience for anything outside the norm. I have friends who had a particularly bad experience with social services (for entirely different reasons)after they approached the service for help - lies were told by professionals and while they were later exonerated and the liar reprimanded, the scrutiny their family was put under and the hoops they were made to jump through during this time caused lasting damage to everyone in the family. I would not willingly allow this kind of interference into my household simply because an officious person has decided they need to do so for their records.
There is already a relationship of suspicion between home educators and the LEA, partly because of the circumstances many children enter home education under and partly because while some are making great efforts in trying to learn about and help home educators and their needs, a number of LEA's have workers who are ignorant of the law, make assumptions and judgements based on the school model and their own personal beliefs and biases and who can appear more 'the ememy' than 'support'. If the measures recommended in this report go through, that relationship will only deteriorate as their role will become that of police to be mistrusted and feared, not partners to rely on and approach when help is needed.
I am certain that a number of these recommendations are illegal, or verging on illegal, especially if implemented the way I believe they will be. It attempts to paint parents in an irresponsible and incapable light while patting us on the head and saying 'It's all right, we will take care of your child for you.' I do not wish to abdicate my responsibility, and I certainly do not want it snatched from me.
Louisa Bird

3:51 pm  
Blogger Maire said...

As comment I am copying a letter sent by my husband and myself to Ed Balls and our local MP.

Dear Secretary of State

Review of Elective Home Education

We wish to raise with you a number of concerns about the recently published Review of Elective Home Education in England:

1. The Review fails to make a strong case for its recommendations. There is 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 times.

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 analysis a lengthy quotation from the Education Division of the Church of England that is in support of further reform, whilst one of the quotes from a home educator is less than complimentary about local authority staff. The use of quotations is not ‘neutral’; they serve to highlight certain views merely by their inclusion.

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.

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 our first point, this undermines the legitimacy of the review.

continued in next comment

4:04 pm  
Blogger Maire said...

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 future.
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 you, in your letter, were wary of the review’s cost implications.

Indeed, it logically follows from this ‘principle’ that parents of all pre-school children must be registered and inspected annually; even that visits are required of children attending school during vacations.

You also need to know that the conduct of the review was not as professional as you would undoubtedly have hoped – for example:
• 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; and
• The on-line questionnaire used to gather home educators and others’ views was badly designed involving leading and poorly constructed questions.

In addition, the review process has angered and alienated many home educators. The review’s report and your letter 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.

The home education community is a vocal and organised, if disparate, group, thus since we posted an earlier version of this letter on our blog it has formed the basis of many letters to your Parliamentary colleagues. Many in the home education community will oppose the ‘core’ of the proposed changes, not least because you and your Government have been let down by the poor quality of the review’s report.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Prof. Bruce Stafford
Mrs Maire Stafford.
(sent by email)

4:05 pm  
Anonymous Amanda said...

I am terrified and disgusted at the findings of Graham Badman's report. But I am most repulsed by the acceptance without question on Ed Balls behalf.

The thought that someone could force their way into my home and interview my children without my presence is an outrage.

How will we as a country ever afford to do this and isn't it just taking away already over stretched resources from the children that really need it. All I hear on the news when home education is talked about is abuse? I know for a fact that some LEA representatives quote Baby P as a reason that home educated children should be seen and interviewed but surely he was seen by everyone and was still failed. This review as far as I can see is an attempt to gather our children together under state control and to prosecute anyone that stands in the way.

Surely our civil rights are being infringed? Even the Police don't have the right to interview my children alone.

I will never forgive the Labour Government for this and will do anything I can (even vote conservative!) to see them out of power.

4:06 pm  
Blogger In His Service said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

Thank you for taking an interest in this matter. We really need your help!

I am sure you are familiar with the terms of the review. Consider this example of apparent bias from the report - the authors chose to include the following quote from the Church of England submission,

"…that children and young people not in formal education are missing the benefits and challenges of learning in community with their peers. Children who do not go to school may not experience the social and cultural diversity encountered there; they will not learn how to deal with the rough and tumble of everyday life…”

(Actually, the review was not asked to explore whether home education was a good idea.)

However, in the same short submission from the C of E, the following can be found,

"We have seen no evidence to show that the majority of home educated children do not achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes, and are therefore not convinced of the need to change the current system of monitoring the standard of home education. Where there are particular concerns about the children in a home-educating family this should be a matter for Children’s Services."

This second quote, NOT included in the report, actually answers the question the review was asked to investigate, but the first quote doesn’t. Why do you think the first quote was included and not the second?

I could write at GREAT length about all the other truly shocking things in this report, but others no doubt will.

Hundreds of home educators are deeply concerned about this report.

My children have never been so happy and confident or learnt so much since I took them out of school. Please help us to protect our families' freedom.

Thank you


4:09 pm  
Anonymous Jack Crowe said...

I would like to ask how the Badman report, and its subsequent outworking, would be implemented in the actual case of a child who was so badly bullied at his Primary School by the Headteacher, that he developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome and severe anxiety as a result. He finally fled the building when the intimidation became too much, and now hardly dares walk past the school gate.
Having been happily homeschooled for a few months now, he has learnt much that he was unable to absorb during his time at school, as he was so fearful. A letter of complaint to the Governors has received no response, and it has been decided that, for his peace of mind, the matter will not be pursued, but rather to build on the current progress being made.
The parent of this child would not like him forcibly returned to school by an untrained Local Education employee, and would not like him to be seen alone in a room by them.
Will this kind of situation ever be taken into account, if and when this intrusive and noxious report is actually implemented? I doubt it.
The only way around the issue of being asked to be interviewed alone, is for the child to insist that a digital voice recorder should be allowed to be used by them, and even this is not very satisfactory. If we have instances of Headteachers, and even nursery workers, abusing children, why should we put children who have already been traumatised by the system any further at risk?
As an earlier commenter said, learning is not just confined to school. The day I stop learning is the day I die! Home educated children do not spend all day in isolation, as some critics seem to imagine.
There are organised outings to museums, art galleries, Bletchley Park, National Trust properties, English Heritage properties, and various Botanic Gardens, to name but a few. These organisations even have group rates for home educated children, and, indeed, run special events for them, so they cannot be as low profile as Graham badman seems to imagine! There they mingle with a omplete cross section of the community. They are also involved in bands, working together with other children on projects, language study, music, drama and art. They volunteer in many areas of life, such as dog walking in a rescue kennel, visiting the elderly in their homes, and so on,and some run very successful small businesses, which is encouraged by schools themselves!
We would be so grateful, as Home Educators, if you could lend your support to us, as a varied and disparate group of people, who ultimately just have our children's welfare and education at heart. Thank you so much for taking an interest! It has cheered us greatly!!

4:16 pm  
Blogger moley said...

Lord Lucas,

Thank you for your support on this matter.

This review is an absolute outrage. Biased invective!

I am my family will leave the country before we submit to this authoritarian, outrageous erosion of our civil liberties.

My children's lives and their education are the responsibility of me and my husband and we will not be forced to inflict the pathetic failure that constitutes the state education system on them.

4:49 pm  
Anonymous Karen said...

The Badman Report is in my opinion a hurried, knee jerk reaction that shows a lack of understanding about home education and of child abuse. It shows this Government's inability to respond intelligently to the need for reform in Social Services and statutory education and a failure in their plan to stop REAL abuse. The Badman Report is flawed in its execution, inaccurate in its findings and many feel the results were already a foregone conclusion. He failed to include a literature review and he failed to include any home educators in the group of experts he consulted.

Badman was quoted in the Sunday Times (June 14, 2009 There's no education like home schooling) as saying "that child abuse cases were “roughly double” among the home-educated" This is blatantly untrue, he has given NO evidence for this. At best, this is a misquote, but at worst is being used to shamelessly misrepresent the truth to enable legislation to be brought in through fear. Not all Home Educators are abusers and not all abusers are Home Educators, in the same way that not all terrorists are Muslim and not all Muslim people are terrorists

The recommendations within this Report feel to us like an erosion of our freedom of choice and our wish to educate our children outside of the state system. They are targeting home educators because they see children in this environment as being 'hidden' and parents could be abusing their children and part of the Review was to identify this. If protecting children was the issue, this Government should act on recommendations from REAL cases such as the Soham case, which still weren't implemented 5 years after the case.

Children are not automatons to reach goals at set times. This is why the Government standards are already failing and most teachers will agree. These standards are why most home educators do not wish to send their children to school. Children are NOT all the same, they are individuals and have the right to an educational approach that meets their individual needs. The Government wants to give authorities rights of access that currently even social services do not have with children who are already at risk and 'known' as per the Children Act. The Government wants authorities to have the right to interview children alone, which is not in the best interests of the child and an unbelievable intrusion into family life. This Government is seeking to stop the discussion or spread of Home Education where it can....this is Freedom of Speech being swiftly denied and parents not being given a choice. This is deplorable.

Badman has been unbelievably selective in the opinions he quotes in his report, and failed to include research which strongly indicates positive outcomes for Home Educated children in his report eg(How Children Learn at Home by Alan Thomas, Harriet Pattison; Continuum; 2008).If Badman had looked properly he would have found considerable evidence of the positive experiences of home educated children.

The Report also highlights the illegality of home education in Germany but Badman fails to expand on this to explain that it was introduced by Adolf Hitler in 1938 to gain control over what children were taught. Some see a parallel with these recommendations.

Badman has come up with no evidence to prove that Home Educated children are at a higher risk of abuse than children in school. In the high profile cases where children have been killed through abuse, the children were actually already known to Social Services, at school and at risk and THEN removed from school. There is no case I am aware of where a child not known to Social Services and Home Educated has been abused in this way.

Most parents who home educate belong to community groups of Home Educators and the children are far from hidden. They attend outside groups too and gain social skills with adults, children of different ages and their peers alike, but this has not been mentioned at all in the Report.

4:59 pm  
Blogger DM said...

Dear Sir,

I'm an American home educator, the editor of a home education magazine, and the author of "Don't Worry! A Guide for Relatives and Friends of Homeschoolers." I would be very happy to send you a copy of the book, if you'll let me know where to mail it.

The last issue of my magazine focused on home educators all over the world. Though laws may be different, home educators are just the same everywhere: we love our children, want what's best for them, and are doing everything we can to fulfill their needs.

--Deborah Markus

5:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas
Like others here I would like to thank you for your interest in and support of home educating families.

I am appalled and frightened that a report based on one man's personal opinion -he says I believe something like 16 times- can be made the basis of any law that allows strangers into our homes unwanted and uninvited.

No one should have access to my children that I neither know nor trust. I will fight this tooth and nail.

Badman seems almost proud of his stated ignorance of the methods and philosophies of home education. He shows shocking disregard for the rights of families and the welfare of children in his report.
His view that some 'professional' equally lacking in an understanding of home education can tell us what to teach and when to teach it is beyond vile.

My children are doing well. I want to keep it that way and I have the right to do so.

It is utterly disgusting that I need to be writing this at all. As others have pointed out in other European countries home education is limited because they have suffered under socialist Governments. While Badman seems happy with the situation in Germany he fails to acknowledge the law there from the 1930s was made by the National Socialists to ensure all children received the propaganda.

Shell Scott

5:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

Thank you for asking the Home Ed community what their views on the Badman report.

I have read through the comments left already and agree with them all. They have said everything I feel - that the report is badly written, lacks intelligence and is biased in favour of school.

I chose to Home Educate for a number of reasons: Primarily the state system is so bad I don't want to inflict it on my children. I can't afford private school.

I have also watched my neices and nephews go through the state system being stressed by SAT's, government interference and stupid rules (like my nephews who can't go out and play in the snow because they might injure themselves). They live near the Penines, it snows a lot!

My other nephew, now at Uni had to study English and Maths only for most of the year in order to get good results in his SAT's. Hardly a broad curriculum. Yet this is a state funded school.

My neice is at a specialist Arts and Drama school, but when she took her options couldn't take dance and drama because the timetable wouldn't allow it. She took her Chemistry GCSE a year early and got a B. She was really pleased, but the school said she had to take it again to get an A in order to bump up their results.

I also do not like the way schools institutionalise children.

I could go on, but I am digressing. My point is, that I can create a curriculum that suits my children's interests and needs. I can let them learn in a world that they will live in rather than locking them away in a school.

Yet the Badman report has an underlying suspicion of Home Education and wants to undermine this. Why? Because people like him and Ed Balls want to control the youth.

The civil liberties recommendations are the scariest of all. I know New Labour has done a fantastic job of eroding away our liberties, but this takes the biscuit!

My other main problem with the report is that there are already laws in place for making sure children are educated and are not suffering abuse. I just don't understand how New Labour keeps introducing new laws when laws are already in place but not be implemented.

Thank you


6:25 pm  
Blogger Marie Vijendran said...

Dear Lord Lucas,
Thanks for your support on this.
As a home educator I share concerns regarding the Badman report with other people who have posted. More generally I believe that these attempts by government to safe guard children will in fact further erode community and any ability for community itself to self-identify child abuse will be made harder. Parents should not have to live in fear and be being treated as a suspected abuser unless they or their child can prove otherwise. It's important to all parents, not just home educators, that first and foremost parents are trusted to make the decisions regarding our children's welfare.

I have heard evidence already that we are driving people out of the country to Home Educate elsewhere and the rest of Europe who looked to the UK as a country with a sensible attitude to Home Education are in dismay.

6:47 pm  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

Dear Lord Lucas.

I cannot add to what has already been said, I can only tell you of our experiences. I have two sons, one attended mainstream school and was bullied very badly. It became so bad we had to call the police in to deal with it. In one case, my son had sustained head injuries and I was not even informed by the school. My younger son started school and very soon he was subjected to bullying. After a lot of thought we decided to educate otherwise. When I say we I am speaking of myself and my son, it was his decision that mattered the most to me. We have never looked back, my son has dyspraxia and his confidence was never very good, school eroded it more, now he is getting stronger and more sure of himself. We have had contact with two LA officers, the first was lovely, very understanding and sat with my son, listened and even complimented him, therefore adding to his confidence. However sadly she left and the next one was totally different. Everything we did was wrong, my son wasn't achieving his age expectations as at school! He did not seem to care thet we don't have to stick to the National curriculum. As far as he was concerned it was the only way to educate. We do use workbooks sometimes, my son loves to learn by investigating it himself, with books and the www.
The second LA officer made us feel like we were in the wrong, it took us a long time to recover from his visit and we never allowed him back again. To many of these LA officers do not understand home education, I fear that if these recommendations are put in place, my son will again have to be bullied by an adult, undermining his hard built confidence and for what? Because of someones opinion! (I believe said Mr Badman, what an appropriate name)

Please please help us, to keep our children safe and secure, as parents we know our children better than anyone. Someone who calls in for 20 minutes cannot know what is right for your child..

Thank you for taking an interest and thank you for the chance to comment on your blog.

Yours sincerely


6:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas

Thank you for all your support for the home education community.
We have been home educating for a year now, following our 5yr old daughter self harming after enduring 6 weeks of bullying at school (this was her first 6 weeks in school). We feel that it would be a good idea for LA inspectors to have to go on a training scheme by EO, to help the LA understand HEing, this would help our inspector, who only understands the national curriculum.

We also feel strongly that children should not have to have one to one meetings with the LA, without parents, and after talking to our daughter about this, she said 'please don't leave me with them i am scared', I think her main worry is the testing, and bullying after her experience in school she found teachers unhelpful and she could not trust them.

Thank you again for your support, and we do hope that we can come up with some ideas so that a balance can be formed between us all.

7:07 pm  
Blogger Norma said...

First of all I wish to say a big "thank you" for your support of Home Educators. This is really appreciated and very much needed,now more than ever.

It is not easy to know where to begin with the Badman Report. Suffice to say that "I reject the Badman Report in its entirety".

I would have thought that Gordon Brown's government had more important issues to spend time and tax payers' money on, than attacking home educating families, simply to win favour on the issue of child abuse. Child abuse is a deplorable and emotive issue and does need to be tackled. But, home education and child abuse have no bearing one on the other. The assumption that the two could be connected is at best an error of judgement and at worst a "red herring" for sinister control of hearts and minds. Home educators care for their children. Enough to give up all of their "free" time to spend with their offspring and to ensuring that they receive an education suitable to their ability. Enough to guide and nurture them to grow into free thinking, responsible and contributing members of society.

The Badman Report is not only illconceived, it is also poorly written with too many assumptions, dotted as it is throughout with the phrase "I believe". Mr Badman sights the German policy on home education! Presumably, this is meant to lend weight to a case for violation of human rights. Oh dear Mr Badman! Does Ed Ball's really want to take comments like that on board? I have to say that Mr Balls' response is almost worse than the report itself. What planet is he on?

Why are we being used as scapegoats? Why do we have a government in place that works against families and not for them?

I for one will not submit my children to the state! I could use much stronger phraseology, but I was raised to be polite.

If you are planning on meeting with any parents, I would appreciate being included. If you have any petition against the proposal, please count me in.

with warmest wishes
Norma a parent of two lovely boys who are educated "otherwise".

7:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas

As a former teacher I benefited from training pre National Curriculum, and teaching post implementation of the latter. I piloted SATs. I mentored student teachers from a range of colleges pre and post National Curriculum. What a change in aptitude and style I experienced of those individuals, some who will be teaching now.

I am now a Home Educator, though shocked and a little paralysed by the recommendations of Mr. Badman’s Review.

From my understanding, the Government wishes to ensure the protection of children at risk of harm. This then disseminates into numerous reviews at public expense on Elective Home Education, to establish if such harm is hidden, and to provide LA’s the guidelines they required to differentiate between the law and their remit to monitor.

Only last week have members of Education Otherwise received a copy of a letter of apology to the Home Education Sector from Philip Noyes of the NSPCC regarding the misleading claims in the media about abuse of children educated at home.

Very quickly subtle changes to terminology promoted by the political machine has changed the emphasis of the debate, targeting home educators, when in actuality it is the continued failings of Government in high profiled child protection cases, which indeed is still the issue.

I feel speaking on behalf of all Elective Home Educators, that the last thing we would wish is for a child to suffer any form of neglect or harm. We wish the best for our children. There have been other avenues at the Governments disposal to monitor the safety and well being of all children. Investigating the’ suitability of education’ for the majority of HE children should not override the original intentions of the Government in fulfilling the objectives of their Every Child Matters initiative. The reasons and philosophies of parent’s wishes to Home Educate are wide, as are the styles and methods adopted to ensure their children receive the best education. It is a way of life, a life choice with a lot of sacrifice for many.

Prior to the closure for the response deadline, I attempted to write objectively to all members of the DCSF including the Shadow Ministers and representatives in the House of Lords. Like many others, my voice has been lost, as the ramifications of this Review are of little consequence to those afforded privileged governing positions in our society.

Yours sincerely


9:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas
Thank you for supporting the homeschool community. We have also homeschooled as my son was badly bullied in school and that was not just by his peers he said he would rather be dead than have to go back.What a terrible thing for a child to say. I tried for years to sort it out but to no avail.He left school a withdrawn angry child. The situation upset the whole family . I have been left horrified and deeply upset by what I have seen going on in school.
There was an immediate improvement after taking my children out of school and things have gone from strength to strength.If we had continued to go down the school route I shudder to think what might have happened.
Home school is a viable option and has saved our family.

11:40 pm  
Anonymous Annabelle said...

The 'so called' Independent Review by Graham Badman is flawed throughout.

It was not an Independent review at all. It is based on Mr. Badman's personal opinions that 'school is the only way to educate' !!!! He has absolutely no idea just how successful Home Educators are and what wonderfully confident, decent, happy and intelligent young people/adults our children turn out to be.

Not one representative from the Home Education community was invited to be on Mr Badman's review panel. It was a one-sided review from the start!

I understand that a Review should take an official 12 weeks. I am therefore confused as to why it went through in lightening speed during only FOUR weeks?!

Home Educators were asked to complete a questionnaire if they so wished - however, the questionnaire was full of loaded questions - so very clever of Mr. Badman!

Mr Badman's report does not contain any facts - instead it is full of his personal opinions, which start with (sixteen times over) "I believe...."

The Home Education community are being persecuted for caring about our children's education - our children learn SO much more than the National Curriculum offers. We are 'producing' children/young adults that have such a broad base of knowledge that far outstrips schooled children. Our children are KEEN to learn and go on to great successes (but of course, Mr Badman did not look this)!

I have one teenage child within the school system. He has been turned against learning and education by his school/s/the National Curriculum and the SATS system, that we the parents are severely disappointed with the school system. I also have another child, who is now Home Educated. When she was at school she was bullied by two teachers. She was unable to keep to the pace of the National Curriculum (despite wanting to) and unable to remember anything as she was stressed and anxious all the time. Punished contintually by not keeping up to speed (because she was unable to) by being made to stay indoors every break time to finish her work, on her own - slaved to her desk (which is cruelty in itself) even though she needed help to finish the work. She was not allowed those few minutes a day to socialise with other children, just so the teacher could tick her boxes. One size education does NOT work for every single child. Now our daughter is Home Educated in the manner in which we see fit and suitable for her age and ability she is relaxed, happy, able to learn and remember, and KEEN to learn so much more, she is far out-stripping her older school brother in knowledge! If Mr. Badman truly understood Home Education and how it works he would leave us alone to educate as we, THE PARENTS, see suitable. At least WE care!

Mr Badman interfering with his prejudiced ideas of 'school system only' will only serve to shut down my daughter's thirst for knowledge, as shown by my schooled son and his peers.

Please do something now, to stop the state trying to control us all into their ideals. Let some of society actually turn out decent and education hungry young adults - after all, society needs a mix of people, and independent thinkers like our children are crucial to this world.

Our children are not hidden, they are mixing daily with other Home Educating families at organised events, educational groups, within the local commnunity, in various museums, outings etc.

12:58 am  
Blogger Rabhya said...

Dear Lord Lucas

My comments on the Badman review:

- it muddles educational standards with safeguarding children

- it relies on no sound evidence on whether rates of abuse, and importantly of access to opportunities to disclose abuse, are at all different for home-educated and school-educated children. (The review ought to cite evidence on WHERE child abuse is exposed - I am not aware that schools are a major source of such information, and most HE children belong to various groups and systems such as the NHS, i.e. would have access to trusted adults incl Childline)

- the idea that a local authority employee could interview a child where there is no suspicion of abuse and uncover any meaningful information is ludicrous. I work with these issues in the NHS and can say that it would be unethical as well as damaging, verging on abusive, to go round asking children at random whether they had been abused.

- it would be discriminatory to apply such processes ONLY to home-educated children, they would need to be universal to be fair, specially given lack of evidence of differential rates of abuse

- there is a fundamental flaw based on poor understanding and evidence that child abuse can be effectively addressed through (a) information registers, which are costly, cumbersome, not well used or all that useful, and represent an unwarranted degree of governmental control at the expense of individuals' right to privacy and autonomy, and (b) legal and quasi-legal processes of investigation and redress which actually fail miserably to uncover and prevent abuse

- re educational issues, many parents chose home-education because of the inadequacies of the education system, so how does it make sense for those who run this system to be put in charge of setting standards and regulating ALL education?

- finally the tone of this review, with its accusatory attitudes is unfortunate at best, and being cynical I would say that this govt wants to be SEEN to be doing something about child abuse, and is picking on an easy target in a bullying way, to whom it can extend its absolutely pointless obsession with registering and regulating everyone and everything - and it can't even look after the information it already holds!


7:21 am  
Anonymous Jill said...

I simply don't have enough time to read all these responses, or to construct a response able to articulate the strenghth of my feelings about these outrageous recommendations. I'm adding this mini-response to ensure that I'm at least registering some level of objection, and demonstrating the level of opposition that exists.

10:17 am  
Anonymous R.W.Williams said...

Dear Lord Lucas,
Firstly I would like to add my gratitude to you for your support and your kind request for feedback from our community regarding the Badman report.
Like many that have posted before me I am also sickened and shocked at the outcome of this review. I decided to home educate my son before he was born. On becoming a single parent I decided to walk away from the opportunity of an illustrious career to concentrate on creating a stable, loving home and childhood for him thus maximising his opportunities in his life as a child and as an adult.
The government has already deemed my son a second class citizen by revoking his basic right to have a parent at home full time in comparison to his peers that are from two parent families. The government now seem ready to withdraw further rights from him. He is slowly ploughing through the report himself and one of his comments were ‘I have more rights if I were to be arrested by the Police’. If a child of 13 years of age can realise that this review is flawed I am astounded that an individual in such a position, experience and status could be the author of such a document.
I would ask you to remember that Education Otherwise is only one home education body and that only a small proportion of home educators hold membership with this organisiation. I hope that if you do have time to read through the responses to your request and I would ask you to contact the Chairs of all the home education bodies in the UK for support for any recommendations and action you may wish to take.
With Sincere Gratitude
R. W Williams

3:16 pm  
Blogger emma said...

here is the letter I sent to Ed Balls today (part 1). Even since writing it I can think of another 45 objections to the review and the ensuing consultation!

Review of Elective Home Education

I am writing to express my concern about 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” and about your acceptance of the report.

The report is flawed on many levels. It is not evidence based or impartial. It in no way reflects the views of the home educators who responded to the review. It is not based on expert opinion – Mr Badman has no personal experience at all of home educating and has either failed to read, or has failed to understand, the academic literature on the subject. It lacks moral rigour also – appointing a previous head of Kent Childrens’ Services and current chair of the government-funded BECTA hardly inspires one with trust in its claimed independence. Since Badman publicly stated that the status quo could not remain long before the review was completed, the findings were partially pre-judged. The on-line questionnaire used to gather home educators and others’ views was badly designed involving leading and poorly constructed questions. The LA questionnaire had ten times as many questions as that for the general public.

The review was explicitly set up to find out whether Home Education can be used as a cover for child abuse. It is curious, then, that the report does not offer any analysis of the actual number of suspected and found child abuse cases involving home educators. The claim that ‘the number of children known to children’s social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to their home educating population’ gives the impression of skeletons rattling in cupboards. Badman fails, however, to mention the common but ultra vires practice in some LAs of routinely referring HEing families to Social Services as soon as they come to the LA’s attention, the prevalence of referrals by neighbours concerned to see children not in school but not understanding that Home Education is legal, and the number of HE families where there are SN of one kind or another (and this certainly IS disproportionately high with relation to the total number of HEers, reflecting the woefully inadequate SEN provision offered within many schools), and therefore, automatically, a case worker within children’s services. There is no reason to suspect that any of these Home Educating families known to Social Services have given a single social worker a moment’s pause for concern about safeguarding, without Badman producing evidence. For Badman to produce no evidence, but to spin it this way is surely dangerously close to defamation?

The recommendations do not follow either from the clearly stated remit of the review or from the evidence (such as it is) presented within the review. 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 future. The review does not find evidence that Home Education is being used as a cover for child abuse, but proceeds to recommend the urgent provision of laws which intrude on the private lives of innocent families in order, supposedly, to protect against child abuse.

3:26 pm  
Blogger emma said...

...part 2

The review recognises the diversity of home educators, but fails to take this in to account in its ‘one size fits all’ recommendations. Those families who practice “autonomous home education”, following the interests of the child rather than a parentally-imposed curriculum or plan, are particularly vulnerable under the proposals, which demand that LAs should see plans for the year ahead. I cannot plan what my children will be interested in in 5 minutes, let alone in 6 months! But I can guarantee that, following their own interests and facilitated by their parents, they will be learning effectively and efficiently, in line with their ages, ability, aptitude and any SEN they may have, as per the existing Home Education legislation. The freedom to pursue such an effective child-led education will be a hostage to the prejudices of the LA employees under the proposed new legislation.

The most outrageous of the recommendations is that LA employees should have the power to insist on interviewing HEed children alone, with the caveat that they could be with a trusted adult (not the parent) if their SEN or communication difficulties deemed that appropriate. In a recent poll, 77% of Home Educated children said they did not want to meet with LA personnel. Are their preferences to be completely disregarded? Who deems the SEN or communication difficulties of a child to be sufficiently severe that a trusted adult be permitted to be present? Are we really expected to accept the proposal that LA staff should have unsupervised access to our children when there are no grounds for welfare concerns? Badman has advocated extending powers to LA staff which not even the police or social services have – the power to interview children alone when there are no grounds for suspicion.

This is the statement of opposition currently doing the rounds. I endorse every word of it:

It is NOT acceptable for the state to have ultimate control of the education of our children

It is NOT acceptable for the state to make ultra vires judgements about the welfare of our children and then act in loco parentis

It is NOT acceptable for the state to operate on a presumption of guilt

It is NOT acceptable for the state to demand access to our homes without reasonable suspicion that an actual offence has been or is about to be committed

It is NOT acceptable for the state to demand access to our children without reasonable suspicion that an actual offence has been or is about to be committed

It is NOT acceptable for the state to demand unsupervised access to our children

These are all contained within the recommendations of Badman's review document, which you have accepted in full as "proportionate and reasonable".

3:26 pm  
Blogger emma said...

...part 3 (final part)

I have a vision for the future. It involves an immediate and unequivocal withdrawal of your support for the review and a cancellation of the consultation process which, presumably will lead to legislation (although it is hard to see why you are consulting us, yet again, given that Badman so signally failed to listen to us earlier this year, given that we have been consulted on EHE-related legislation repeatedly in the last 5 years and you know perfectly well that public opinion does not support your legislative agenda, and given that you have already given your public support to Badman’s heinous recommendations and will presumably do your level best to put them into action, however well argued and sensible the consultation responses are). It then involves you publicly stating that you will not tolerate LA staff acting in an ultra vires manner towards Home Educators, and that you will look urgently at the practices within Children’s Services which have led to children known to be at risk – Baby P, Kyra Ishaq, Eunice Spry’s foster children and Victoria Climbie, to name but a few – being so abjectly failed by those who had a duty of care for them.

The final part of my dream involves you treating the EHE community with the respect we deserve. Rather than saying that the only proposals in Badman’s report which are problematic are those which involve providing services, please remember how much money we save you every year by not taking up the school places to which our children are entitled. Just a fraction of that money would provide access to exam centres, free swimming lessons and the like, for those HEers who choose to avail themselves of those opportunities. Insist on the LA EHE staff being those with sympathy for and understanding of the area – retired Home Educators rather than ex-teachers, for goodness’ sake.

Statistically, EHE children out perform their schooled counterparts on every measure (and if you haven’t read any of Paula Rothermel’s research then it is about time you did). We are a beacon of excellence. Why are you alienating us (and losing Labour thousands of votes into the bargain) when you should be sending researchers to find out from us what it is that we are doing so successfully, so that you can do something to address the pitiful literacy figures and the pitiful GCSE results that your schools achieve every year?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

3:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas

As Richard F has so eloquently put, you support for us who choose to Home Educate is greatly appreciated.

I, for one, am appalled that a Government can change a law without an act of parliament! By implementing and enforcing "recommendations," they are circumventing our very democracy. Has this country now become a Fascist dictatorship?

The police cannot interview minors without a parent/responsible adult present so why should civil servants be given that power? Can you imagine a 5 year old being interviewed alone?? What about all the legislation already in place that purports to protect children from such distress - what about the risk of abuse there?? If no other adult is present where are the safeguards??

Would this Government actively put Home Educated children into an unsafe situation?

And what about training for the LA employees? Are they to take Child Psychology classes, enhanced CRB checks, Special Needs training for those children with such needs - how are they going to interview an autistic child alone? Where's the money going to come from to pay for all this?

Also what about those children who have been excluded from school for anti-social or violent behaviour? Are they to be interviewed alone and forced back aswell? - which school will want to take them?

They want to implement this by September - how??? The long term ramifications have NOT been thought out thoroughly.

The whole thing needs to be scrapped - go back to the drawing board Mr.Badman.

The monitoring system already in place is NOT failing children - the EDUCATION system IS! Why do they think 15 children a week are being de-registered in my county alone? Parent's are voting with their feet and this knee-jerk reaction to scare parents into sending their children back into a crumbling, outdated system is simply pathetic.

Since taking my children out of school and starting on the wonderful journey that Home Education is, our family unit has become so close - (Isn't that what this Government wants - FAMILY VALUES??? Or is it the values THEY think we should have?) every day is an adventure and my children are blossoming as individuals with an empathy and tolerance for people of ALL ages. They are no longer introverted and scared - a product of state education - and have a wide circle of friends, more than when they were at school!

Simply put - Home Education WORKS. Leave it alone!

1:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Badman Report, whatever the motives that lie behind it, is thoroughly pernicious in its effects. Currently a parent has the right to educate a child at home, but the State wants to take away that right by making it a concession from the LEA, if you successfully jump through all their hoops. (And what's to stop them changing the hoops at any time to suit the State's objectives?) Moreover, the Report, if adopted, will grant legal access to someone's home without any evidence of wrongdoing, purely on the basis of a parent exercising a right enshrined by existing legislation. Currently not even a police officer can enter my home without a warrant if I choose not to let them in, and a warrant can only be issued with reasonable grounds for suspicion i.e. some evidence. Thus the Report gives sweeping new powers to the State, and the age-old presumption of innocent until found guilty is swept away. Further, the Report gives right of access to interview the child without the parent being present; in what other situation does any officer of the State have such a right without their being some reasonable grounds for suspicion of wrongdoing? If this is not an abuse of power, and a curtialing of civil liberties, what is?

And then there's the sheer arrogance of it all: the State is effectively saying that they know what's best for my child. Does the State love my children more than I?Does it know their moods, their strengths and weaknesses, their preferences and desires better than I do? Even to ask these questions seems ludicrous, but those are the assumptions behind this Report. There are only two experts on my children: my wife and I!

The State needs to back off and know its place. The State exists to serve us, not dictate to us. The parent must be trusted to know what is best for the child, not be treated with suspicion. If I break any existing laws with regard to my children - God forbid! - let the full weight of the law come down on me! If I put them in a cupboard for seven days, give them scant food, and beat them black and blue, let the law rescue them from me!

But if I educate them in a way that is different to the local State school; if my idea of religious education differs from that of Joe Bloggs down the road; if I do rather more or less drilling of basics such as the times tables than other home educating parents; if I allow one child to concentrate more on artwork than another, because they enjoy it more, and show more aptitude; what has that to do with anyone else - my wife excepted; her views are as important as mine - let alone the British State?

Ultimately, we are all answerable to our conscience and to God before whom we will give an account. I love my children, and I am doing my best before God to give my children what I deem to be a good education. Now to many this will seem like a very risky stance; what will people do if they are not accountable to others?
There are two things to be said in reply: I am accountable to others - to my wife for a start, and to my children (in a rather different sense): I will have to be able to look them in the eye when they are adults and be able to tell them that I did my best for them. Also, as I have said, I have to satisfy my own conscience (no small matter), and most importantly I will have to render account to God. Let no-one make light of these accountabilities!

Of course there remains risk in allowing parents the right to home educate; but there's a risk in bringing children into the world in the first place - risk that they'll catch some dreadful disease, that someone will attack them in the street, that they'll be upset by a friendship that goes wrong; and so there's a risk that a parent will do a poor job of educating their child. But in my book there's a greater risk that the local State school will do a poor job of educating a child (not least because it uses, necessarily I suppose considering the numbers involved, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach). Don't recent statistics and failed schools bear that out?

1:13 am  
Blogger Annkrozeika said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

I would welcome your support and ask you to do whatever you can to stop these recommendations going through.

I know what is best for my child, and that is an education otherwise than at school - just as Mr Badman and Mr Balls know what is best for their children (if they have any). How can they presume to tell me that I should give the local authority a plan of what education will be taking place over the next 12 months, when I know that my child does not like to plan things so far in advance? She learns so much better when the learning is spontaneous - she decides what she learns each day and the idea of trying to timetable her learning into 12 month 'blocks' is utterly ridiculous. Her learning covers all of the National Curriculum subjects but it is at her own pace and after removing her from school I quickly realised that she will not learn when forced to sit and do work on a subject that she is not in the mood for that day, instead we will leave it for another time and concentrate on something that she wants to learn. Her education is suitable to her needs and abilities, however when she was in school her education was completely unsuitable - she was held back in the subjects she excelled at and recieved no help at all in subjects she struggled with.

School is not for everyone. One size does not fit all, but Mr Badman does not seem to realise this. If the local authorities do not accept our 12 month plan, we will not be allowed to register as home educators. This disgusts me, because I can see that home education has done my daughter the world of good. I have got back the inquisitive, curious, happy child with a thirst for knowledge that I used to have before school turned her into a depressed, bored, quiet, withdrawn and bullied child. If I am not allowed to register as a home educator because the LA are not happy with my 12 month plan, she will be forced back to school and turned back into that child, and that, to me, would be abusive.

The recommendations by Mr Badman are purely based on his own opinion. Where is the evidence and research to back up his opinions? Why should I have to listen to one man's opinions on how best to bring up and educate my own child who he has never met and knows nothing about? Would he listen to my opinion? No. I, along with a couple of thousand other home educators responded to the review questions with my/our opinions and they were not listened to. Not at all. This is clear from the recommendations. It begs the question: what was the point? It seems clear to me that Mr Badman had already formed his own ill-informed opinions on home education before carrying out the review, and he would not be swayed from those. He was supposed to be an 'independent' reviewer. He clearly wasn't, what with his state-educational background. The whole thing has been a farce.

If Graham Badman thinks that I will allow a complete stranger into my home to question my daughter without me present then he is deluded. When I talked to my daughter about this, she reminded me that I have taught her about 'stranger danger' and said she would not want to talk to a stranger. She also does not want to 'exhibit' (to use Mr Badman's word) her work to this stranger, for fear that they may think it is no good and make her go back to school (when actually, her work is of a very high standard). Of course, I trust that children who attend school will also be recieving these home visits? Just because they attend school 9am-3pm Monday to Friday does not mean they are not being abused or that they are recieving a suitable education. And if they don't recieve these intrusive visits that we will be subjected to, then that is a clear case of discrimination against home educators. The Police cannot enter our home without a warrant and a reason for having a warrant. How can local authorities suddenly be given the power to enter our homes when the Police cannot?

3:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lucas,

It is wonderful to see that a few voices of reason are still being heard.

Since it expresses my view very well, here is a quote from Spiked on line (thanks to Daretoknow):

"...the idea that there should be no opt-out available – that all parents have no choice but to submit to official control over their children’s education – cuts to the heart of the question of parental autonomy. The acceptance that parents can choose to educate their children themselves if they want to is a tacit recognition that state education is a service that parents can access for the benefit of their families. The new proposals shift that balance of power, so that state-monitored education becomes something that all children must receive – and in the case of home schooling, parents are mere practitioners, delivering an officially approved scheme of work. This means that the scope for parents to decide that, actually, the curriculum or teaching practice on offer within schools is not the best for their child, becomes much more limited."


"For all the nonsense talked about choice in education, our only real choice as parents comes from the knowledge that if our children’s schooling becomes really bad, we can always pull them out of it."

D Dhorne

8:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas

Thankyou for you understanding of home education. Sadly most people who do not HE are not fully aware of what HE is, often they are judge mental without looking into properly.

To us as a family HE is a gift that for so many years hundreads of families have legaly had the right to educate there children, my fear is that this freedom may soon be taken away.

I do not think the LEA care very much about making HE work they are more interestead in using there power to kick kids back to the robot education system which is failing badly.

If registration had to come in place I would not have a problem with a one of registration so the LEA new our kids where receiving an education. What I don't think they should have is more power to tell us what to do and when, as there ideas will often be different to ours.

Thankyou so much for your time

Rev C Jones

9:11 am  
Anonymous Lorraine said...

Dear Lord Lucus,

As a home educating parent I am extremely concerned about the Home Education Review by Graham Badman.

The recommendation that every Home Educated Child can be visited at 2 weeks notice and be seen by a local authority official without the presence of a parent, is disgraceful. A child is not expected to see a doctor alone, or dentist or policman, and should not be sent alone into a room with a stranger.

I can understand that local authorities want to ensure children are receiving an education, but this can be achieved by meetings outside the home with parents in the meetings. As it is most parents are happy to welcome LA representatives into their homes, as I have, in the current environment. However, the stringent proposals in Badman's report will put parents backs up and harm any good will that currently exists.

The proposals will make, what is for some parents, a very hard decision even harder. Yet home education is the best possible choice for many children. As a parent I agonised over my decision, but despite now only having one income, no formal teaching qualifications and little support, I have succeeded in educating my children, who are thriving. I may not have undertaken this commitment to them if these proposals had been in place 6 years ago.

There is no evidence that these proposals are necessary and are quite insulting when schools are failing children.

Badman does believe home educators should also receive more support which if the Government implimented would indicate far more positively that every child matters to them. Home educators undertake their responsibilities usually at much personal sacrifice and great cost, without clear access to exam centres or other resources. I home educate despite this because I want what's best for my children. I not only want them to be educated, I want them to be happy and I want them to know they can do something about a situation that doesn't suit them. They can make decisions about their lives, which is their right and which we can facilitate. It isn't the governments right to come along and decide what's best for them in the gise that it's the child's right.

It is frightening that the Government seems to think that home educated children are at greater risk and need to be seen. Who will these strangers be who think they can decide if my children are at risk? In fact most home educated children meet many people in the course of their week. My children have far more contact with adults, outside the home than any school child because very little of our week is spent at home, indoors. We are out with other home educators, relatives or friends at regular sport events, art, science, math & English sessions, museums, the theatre, the cinema, historical buildings, at workshops and picnics, BBQs, lunches, sailing, climbing, ice skating, bowling, skiing, etc. They also have plenty of contact with adults where I'm not present, at KipMcGrath, Cubs, Scouts, gymnastics, dancing, drama, football, tennis, etc., where other adults or children are present, such as in a school classroom environment. My children spend time with other people who are far better placed and able to see if my children are at risk. Just because a child goes to school does not stop them from being at risk of abuse. In fact, abused children are usually in school and already known to social Services. Children who are home educated are in most cases in the safest place they could possibly be, with the people who care most for them, their parents. They are also less likely to suffer the mental traumas and stress so common in schools these days.

It is extremely important that the Government does not erode the personal liberties of citizens. The home education review is just another example of how the Government are seeking unnecessary intervention in our lives.

I am very glad to know that home educators have your support.

Yours sincerely,

10:17 am  
Blogger OrganisedPauper said...

Thank you for your interest. Can you tell me a little more about the Apprenticeships Bill?

Goverment are rather good at bringing out new qualifications that are inaccessible to home educated children. Thank goodness for IGCSEs.

11:41 am  
Blogger Freedom to Choose said...

Dear Lord Lucas
I have educated my children at home for a number of years. They are well balanced, friendly, confident children who are well ahead of where they would be if at school. We tried school, they failed us, we withdrew.

The whole basis for the Badman report is wrong, and the government should be putting our taxes into improving the care of children who are really at risk, using the current system and actually acting on what they find, rather than branding home educators as abusers and treating us in that way. Instead it would be better to offer help to home educators by making facilities available. We do not need to be monitired more closely. Our children are regularly seen at local groups, sports halls, swimming classes, libraries and museums, where we are well known.

If these conditions outlined in the Badman report are to be inflicted on us and our children then the same should happen to all at school and preschool too. Most abused children go to school and there things are regularly missed or ignored, or it even happens there.
Please do all that you can to help us retain our rights.

2:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for giving us an opportunity to give our views.
I am very concerned about this report for several reasons the first and foremost being, there would appear to be very little research done to corroborate this hastily raised report. Using Baby Peter to allow this monstrous piece of legislation is incredulous as my understanding of the case involving Baby Peter is he was far too young for School so where is the link!!!???

I am amazed how undemocratic this is and equally amazed how there is so little evidence for their claims of Child Abuse.

Baronness Morgen should engage with the Home Ed community before making harsh and emotive claims for which she produces no evidence. The NSPCC have acknowledged they have no files at present and cannot remember one to date where Child Abuse was linked with Home Ed.

I find it appalling a stranger may have the "right" to enter my home to investigate child abuse without any reason and without me present.

We educate our children differently and without any grants or tax breaks and frankly with this level of intrusion wouldnt want any either.

This is not democracy and any rights I have as a parent are being overwritten

Please please help and give us our voice back and our basic right to choose for ourselves our way of life....

3:57 pm  
Anonymous Sereta said...

Mr. Badman wants to have access to our homes to see if our children are there against their will and being denied an education. I'm sorry but that sounds more like school than home-education. I ask my children every year if they want to carry on with home-school or not. How many parents with children at school ask them that question? Shouldn't Mr.Badman look into their rights instead?

8:36 am  
Blogger Norma said...

Hello again Lord Lucas, As a supporter of Home Education and someone who doesn't agree with would you sign our No.10 petition denouncing the Badman Review? You can find it at

It does have a spelling mistake, but that really doesn't matter and well done to the person who put this up. Many thanks Norma

10:12 am  
Blogger wifeymum said...

I would like to back everything stated by Richard Felber. There are so many ills in this report it seems untrue. Although there are some positive initiatives mentioned in the way of support for HE failies and children, however I seriously doubt that these factors will be put into practice. The Government has produced this report in the particular light they intended for their own agenda and outcomes, it is nothing to do with a balance between child and parents right, but further intrusive power for the Government. What if the children don't want to talk with an LA person on their own? will their rights be respected then?

This review needs to be stopped, we already have social services in place for safeguarding children. They are already unable to do their jobs due to lack of funding etc invest the taxpayers money here rather than this invasion of human rights.

10:14 am  
Blogger Lynn said...

Thank you for your support tof home-educators. One of the noticeable ommissions in Ed Balls reply to the Badman report is any commitment to give practical help to home-educators. We are being threatened with compulsory registration and inspection but are being offered nothing in return.

10:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

Thank you for showing your support to the Home Education community. As I'm sure you are aware-we are not a cohesive community. We have all come to home educate our children for a huge variety of reasons.

We chose to home educate our children before they were born, and it had nothing to do with the current UK school system. We have not been 'forced' to home educate-it is a way of life that we have freely chosen to live. As a child I enjoyed school and can't think of any 'bad' events-but I always felt I could learn more at my own pace, and if I followed my interests. We educate our children at home as we feel it is providing them a loving and stable environment where they are free to explore the world at their own pace. I have two very clever and extremely happy children. I have nothing to hide-but I want the sanctity of my home life to remain as it is and I do not want my rights to do so taken away.

I see this report as eroding away the civil liberties of not just home educators, but all families. If they want to talk to my children alone without a family representative- then they will have to apply that law to all families in the country. I'm sure no one thinks, or can prove, that child abuse in the home only happens Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm.

Why do I need to submit a 12 month plan-are they planning on extending the school year? If they actually learned anything about home education during the review-they would have realized our children do learn year round. They are with their 'educational facilitators' 24/7. Learning does not occur during school hours only. To say you cannot learn without going to school is absurd. That would mean no one would learn anything from the day they are born till they entered school, and that you couldn't possibly learn anything when you left school.

Why do they think our children are hidden? I'm sure every museum throughout the country will vouch that they have booked numerous home education outings. Our children are the ones that are enjoying all the wonderful things the UK has on offer. We are out and about every day. Our children interact with all walks of life. They have private and group lessons, they join in the Scouts movements, they see the shop clerks, run errands with their parents, go to home education group functions, and numerous other events throughout the year.

We are not hiding our children; we are not abusing our children. We are taking full responsibility for our children's happiness, their well being and their educational provisions, as is our legal right. I have never, and will never, abdicate this responsibility to the State. The State does not love and cherish my children-only we, as their parents, can ensure they have a safe and happy life-not some unseen bureaucracy.

************ ********* ********* **

I wanted to stress that we aren't all 'forced' to HE, what rules apply to my kids must apply to all, and our kids are our responsibility.

10:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

Thank you for showing your support to the Home Education community. As I'm sure you are aware-we are not a cohesive community. We have all come to home educate our children for a huge variety of reasons.

We chose to home educate our children before they were born, and it had nothing to do with the current UK school system. We have not been 'forced' to home educate-it is a way of life that we have freely chosen to live. As a child I enjoyed school and can't think of any 'bad' events-but I always felt I could learn more at my own pace, and if I followed my interests. We educate our children at home as we feel it is providing them a loving and stable environment where they are free to explore the world at their own pace. I have two very clever and extremely happy children. I have nothing to hide-but I want the sanctity of my home life to remain as it is and I do not want my rights to do so taken away.

I see this report as eroding away the civil liberties of not just home educators, but all families. If they want to talk to my children alone without a family representative- then they will have to apply that law to all families in the country. I'm sure no one thinks, or can prove, that child abuse in the home only happens Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm.

Why do I need to submit a 12 month plan-are they planning on extending the school year? If they actually learned anything about home education during the review-they would have realized our children do learn year round. They are with their 'educational facilitators' 24/7. Learning does not occur during school hours only. To say you cannot learn without going to school is absurd. That would mean no one would learn anything from the day they are born till they entered school, and that you couldn't possibly learn anything when you left school.

Why do they think our children are hidden? I'm sure every museum throughout the country will vouch that they have booked numerous home education outings. Our children are the ones that are enjoying all the wonderful things the UK has on offer. We are out and about every day. Our children interact with all walks of life. They have private and group lessons, they join in the Scouts movements, they see the shop clerks, run errands with their parents, go to home education group functions, and numerous other events throughout the year.

We are not hiding our children; we are not abusing our children. We are taking full responsibility for our children's happiness, their well being and their educational provisions, as is our legal right. I have never, and will never, abdicate this responsibility to the State. The State does not love and cherish my children-only we, as their parents, can ensure they have a safe and happy life-not some unseen bureaucracy.

************ ********* ********* **

I wanted to stress that we aren't all 'forced' to HE, what rules apply to my kids must apply to all, and our kids are our responsibility.

10:07 pm  
Blogger MissyLou said...

Graham Badman, keeps assuring everyone that he is the expert and is never wrong. I believe history teaches us that believing such statements from so-called ‘experts’ is a grave mistake. Simply accepting that Badman is the expert on education and children’s affairs likens itself to Hitler convincing others he was the worlds expert on the Jews and needed no lecture on how to deal with them. And what a surprise that Badman uses Germany as a model for how home education is managed. Just this week, the USA formally adopted a resolution that officially calls on the Federal Republic of Germany to "recognize the basic, fundamental rights of parents and allow its citizens to determine the educational upbringing of their own children." and further notes that "the Federal Republic of Germany infringes upon the parental rights of its citizens to direct their children’s education, using threats of imprisonment, seizure of their children, and other forms of coercion.". Home educators in the USA see Germany as sticking out ''in the midst of Western Europe for its harsh repression of parents, and of having this notion that home educating creates this parallel society, and they deem that as dangerous''. And yet Badman uses Germany as a model for his recommendations? I find this frightening. The argument presented by Badman is appalling to those of us who know too well the values and benefits our children receive from an education that is individualised and addresses each child's gifted and special needs. A state run monitoring system could never be qualified enough to make recommendations to parents on how to better educate their children in the home, because it is a 'state' system based on a standardised National curriculum that is administered by state-teaching methods that are in dire need of improvement,and uses error filled textbooks that are poorly outdated. Parents who home educate their children are stepping away from 'standardised' and 'average' education. So the very idea that now the state will come into our homes and make recommendations of how us parents can 'do better' by our children is insulting, to say the least. Badman's review does not even mention that across the globe, home educated children demonstrate extremely high standards of academic achievement and citizenship. We are all aware that the state suffers already to sufficiently manage the current departments that are SUPPOSE to protect children from abuse; i.e., social services, and many more that are funded by our tax paying money and yet continuously FAIL to protect children from terrible abuse. My opposition to Badman's review is not a matter of not wanting the state to see closely how well our children benefit from home education, it is more an opposition us smart parents know will bring unqualified monitors into our homes who bring their professional errors and poor judgement with them. There have been too many miscarriages of justice to now justify this so-called monitoring of home educators that seems more of a sanction to state fund witch-finders, whilst distracting the public from the true issues that relate to child abusers.I'm only left to wonder ''what is the real purpose that Badman's recommendations?''. We must have full support in opposing these measures that chip away at our personal freedoms.Home education is a fundamental right of parents and all freedom-loving nations should protect it as such.

1:10 pm  
Anonymous Jax said...

Lord Lucas

On reflection it seems to many of this that this review is not independent and impartial, and that Graham Badman reached a pre determined outcome. He quotes selectively from submissions to the review to back up his beliefs and make it appear that other organisations agree with him, and he does not appear to have found any evidence to back up the theory that home educated children are more at risk.

Is there any way via parliamentary or other means to challenge the process of this review? From the very start it has seemed to be aimed at a prejudged outcome and that does not seem reasonable at all.

You can reach me via my blog as linked.

11:20 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Lord Lucas, Once again, a huge "thank you" for your work yesterday at the The Grand Committe in the Lords. You are really speaking up for all of us who choose to exercise our freedom and to "educate otherwise" than at school. Your support and that of others like you, is going to be increasingly important in the coming months. We need people who "speak the lingo", to help get our message across to those who continue to ignore our voices. Kind regards, Norma

4:23 pm  
Anonymous Julie said...

Dear Lord Lucas

Thank you for actually listening to the concerns of the home educating community.

I have only been educating my son at home since January. At first it was because we felt we had no other choice. My son was attacked at school and despite talking to the school face to face we felt very let down by them. We tried getting him into other good senior schools in the area with no luck. He was very depressed, had no confidence, could not sleep and had an upset stomach all the time. We had no choice but to remove him from the system and educate him at home. He is now very happy and has lots of friends in the H.E community. The tutor he sees for his dyslexia is very impressed with his progress in reading and spelling. We can work at his speed and not 29 other children's. After 4 months I let the LEA into my home, meet my son and look at his work. I was told I was doing a good job. My son would never want to go back to school.

If this legislation goes through then relationships between home educators and councils will be severely damaged.

We have already been made to look like child abusers in the press just for wanting what is best for our children. Many children are home educated because the "one size fits all" in schools strangely does not fit them. We do not need the authorities to push us into strict timetables and subjects just like a school.This just wont work.

My son is not hidden from society. Every week he attends clubs, workshops, teams, tutors and cadets.
All with fully trained people.

So thank you for being the voice of reason. Someone needs to speak out on our behalf against The Badman

5:27 pm  
Anonymous Claire said...

Dear Lord Lucas

Thank you for all you have done to help try to balance all the negativity that the Home Educating Community has been subjected to over the last week.

I have read the previous 69 comments and agree with what other Home Educators are saying so will only add comments which are new.

When my children where at school my daughter (in Reception Class) asked me why she went to school when she learned far more at home. She also found that nobody understood her, I suppose because we had never talked down to her and she had always been very grown up for her age. My son (year 4) had become unable to communicate with adults, hated reading, had low self-esteem and was becoming overweight. After careful consideration (and a very scary feeling of jumping off a cliff) we decided to Home Educate.

Four years on, my daughter has taught herself to read fluently and my son enjoys reading, not only to himself but to my daughter as well. My son now talks easily to non-authoritarian figures and has the confidence to stick-up for himself when he sees injustice. He also is much fitter and is steadily loosing weight. There is still far to go, I feel, before the damage done by pre-school and school can be fully overcome but we are getting there and the children are having a wonderful time learning things, well beyond what I ever expected to teach them. I do not want the progress that they have made destroyed by restrictions on the way they learn or by them feeling insecure in their own home.

The fact that Badman started life as a science teacher only demonstrates how poor an education our children can expect to receive in some schools. A real scientist would
• properly reference research that has been carried out in this area
• consider a 60% response rate from local authorities unacceptable and do more to collect more evidence
• not use quotes out of context and selectively
• never make statements that “the number of children known to children’s social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to the size of their home educating population” after admitting that “It is a cause of concern that although approximately 20,000 home educated children and young people are known to local authorities, estimates vary as to the real number which could be in excess of 80,000.”

Teachers like this have given the teaching profession a bad name and as a result they have become heavily regulated by government. The problem with this is that, good teachers are now not allowed to use any initiative in what they teach, when. All state school teachers have to teach according to a week by week curriculum and some only need to use “100 photocopiable worksheets for numeracy/literacy – year X” to be seen to be offering a “suitable” education. Many teachers know that they are not offering children a diverse and exciting education but they will not fight for their rights to teach as they see fit because, at the end of the day, it is only their job.

As a mother, I will fight for my children’s education because they are my flesh and blood and I want to see them achieve their full potential.

I LOVE my children.

9:17 pm  
Blogger Random Musings said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

Thank you for your continued interest in Home Education. I would like to tell you about one area where the DCSF can assist very quickly and easily.

At present the DCSF produces numerous books, leaflets, and information sheets which are made available free of charge to school educated children via DCSF publications (outsourced to On requesting a copy of a 'free' publication for my child I was informed that only schools can order these for free and that families have to pay!!!

I managed to speak a member of the DCSF marketing team (eventually, after prolonged discussion with prolog over the data protection act preventing them giving me a contact number for a government department!) Who helpfully offered to send me a copy.

However setting a guideline which allows HE parents to request DCSF publications free of charge would greatly assist all HE families. After all as taxpayers we would only be requesting what we have paid for already!

I would be happy to give his details to you but of course would not wish to publish them without permission.

12:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord Lucas

I am absolutely furious with a response from the DCSF. They are talking as if ALL the recommendations are already law!!!! What do they know that we don't?? Please read the following that was a reply to a fellow Home Educator's letter (my quotations for highlighting the fait accompli attitude):

Thank you for your email dated 15 June about the Home Education Review. The Government’s main priority is to ensure that children are safe and we believe "registration and an appropriate level of monitoring is the best way to achieve this." I can assure you that we know the majority of people who chose to home educate have the best interests of the children at heart. We think that a high proportion of home educated children are already known to local authorities, so for most home educating families this shouldn’t be a burden. The registration process "will be" straight forward and there is no suggestion that home educators will have to prove they have particular qualifications or expertise in order "to be allowed" to home educate.
> We can understand that you want privacy, and indeed that is guaranteed through Article 12 of the human rights act. However, it is important that local authorities "make sure that children are learning in a safe environment." An annual visit to most families "should be all that is needed." "Local authorities will be able to exercise discretion as to whether it is right to see children alone and this is something we will need to work on with home educators." There are situations where children will need support, particularly where they have special educational needs or communication difficulties. This is a sensitive area where more work is needed. If you wish to take part in the current consultation you can do so by using the following link:
> Yours sincerely
> Matthew Tedford
> Public Communications Unit


How is it this Government can contravene Article 12 of the human rights Act as quoted above?

No school can interview a child officially, without the permission or attendance of a parent or guardian, so why should a local authority be allowed to single out Home Educated families?

As a white paper, it is already, in effect, draft legislation - how has this been allowed? Why are we not being listened to? Where has the democracy gone?

I know it will reach you after the third reading in the Commons, but what, in reality, can you achieve for us by that late stage?

I feel as if I have been transported back to Nazi Germany in the late 1930's, and I am a Jew wearing a yellow star.

8:07 pm  
Anonymous Claire Anderson said...

Dear Lord Lucas,

I live in the US and this issue doesn't affect me as much as those in the UK but as a fellow world citizen and as a homelearner in my senior year, it astonishes me that the UK ( a very open-minded and wonderful place from what I've heard) would even consider the idea of making home-schooling illegal. If all of us were the same, school might possibly work for everyone but we're not. We all have our own styles of learning and for some school is a fine match but for others, learning in a more self-directed way works a lot better where in school they would have a hard time learning and teachers would have a hard time teaching them.

As Einstein once said:

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid"


8:16 pm  

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