The memoranda submitted to the Schools and Families Select Committee Inquiry into the DCSF-commissioned review of elective home education have been released.
In the submissions, are many entries confirming everything that has been asserted by Home Educators, and permanently sealing the fate of this scandalous, scabrous, ill considered and highly suspicious report.
There are also some submissions by the same gang of monsters whose common aim is that they wish to get a hold of your children for their nefarious ends.
The line between these two groups is very distinct; on the one hand, we have people who are applying logic, science, high standards, principles and morality to this apalling report, and on the other, sycophants and child exploiters who do not refer to any single fact, but who endorse the report, “because it is right“.
I am going to cherry pick some of the best parts of the submissions.
Memorandum by Professor Bruce Stafford
This memorandum considers the conducted of the Review of Elective Home Education in England (hereafter the Review) by applying three criteria:
- The Review displays some impartiality. However, the membership of the Review team did not reflect the range of expertise needed; the questionnaires used to collect data are poorly designed; the tentative nature of the estimates of home educated children ‘known to social care’ is not highlighted; and survey findings and other associated documentation should have been reported in more detail or published alongside the review.
- The published Review includes three instances of highly selective quoting that do not provide a full and fair representation of the evidence submitted.
- The objectivity of the Review is compromised by the extent to which it lacks impartiality and honesty. As a consequence the Review fails to make a strong case for its recommendations.
4 Criterion 3: Honesty
4.1 The published Review includes three instances of highly selective quoting that do not provide a full and fair representation of the evidence submitted. Firstly, the report contains a quote from a home educator that is less than complimentary about local authority staff:
“”… no one from the LA [local authority] would in my opinion be on my child’s intellectual level or they wouldn’t be working for the LA.” (para. 4.3)
Leaving aside the questionable motives for the inclusion of this quote, the Report fails to give the apparent context to the observation:
‘It was in response to a question about whether a scientifically gifted child would benefit from having a science teacher from the LA come and give them tuition. It was to point out that scientists at the top of their profession are rarely working for the LA, so anyone sent out would not be on the same intellectual level as the scientifically gifted child.’ 
4.2 Secondly, the Review selectively quotes from a submission from the Education Division of the Church of England. The report includes a fairly lengthy extract that expresses their concerns about home education. However, the Review does not quote the Church’s overall conclusion:
’10 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 (sic) this should be a matter for Children’s Services.’ 
The report omits the Church’s view that they are not convinced of further reform, yet it does quote their concerns. An honest view would have included their concerns and their reservations about the need for further reform; as this would have ‘set out the facts and relevant issues truthfully’.
4.3 Although the Church gave permission for the quote to be included in the report, an email from a Church representative says that at the time they were unaware of the report’s content and are now ‘not comfortable’ with the selective use of their evidence.
4.4 Thirdly, there is selective quoting from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Report quotes paragraph 1 of Article 12 which requires Governments to ‘… assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.’ This is then used to help justify giving local authorities a right of access to determine the child’s views without the parent(s) being present.
4.5 However, the Report does not quote paragraph 2 which would imply that the child’s views could be presented by someone other than a local authority representative:
‘For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.’
Yet the Review makes no mention of this possibility. (The Report also fails to address the situation of where the child refuses to see the local authority’s representative, a right the child should have under Articles 15 and 16.)
Professor Bruce Robert Stafford worked at the Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University. He was Director of CRSP from 2000 until he left CRSP in February 2006 after being at CRSP for 11 years.
Read the memorandum submitted by Myrna Tennant, a fourteen year old whose family had to escape from the Netherlands to Home Educate in the UK.
Memorandum submitted by Steve Keen
I work as a Senior Lecturer in Research within a university department of Social Work and have home educated my four children for the past 8 years. Professionally and personally I am astounded at the incompetency of Badman’s review and the nature of the consultation documents. In summary, the review is flawed; the review team has been inadequate to the task; the literature review and subsequent analyses were insufficient; and the proposals, if accepted, run the grave risk of changing the current relationship between individual and state. 
The premise of Badman’s review of flawed – conflating two issues – home education and child protection. Badman admits himself there is no evidence there is a problem with home educated children whether in respect to educational attainment or child safeguarding. 
However, the fundamental issue here is the relationship between the individual and the state. Ed Balls and Graham Badman see people as property of the state, who have rights given to them by the same. This is wrong in principle as s7 Education Act 1996 (repeating the Education Act 1944) states that it is the duty of the ‘parent’ to educate the child, whether through school or otherwise. 
Memorandum submitted by Kelly Green
Executive Summary: The main points of the following submission to the Commissioned Review of Elective Home Education are as follows:
- The North American experience is that education is legislated by state and province, so home educators in North America face a wide variety of legislation/regulation regarding the practice of home-based education.
- Research does not indicate that home-educated students in more heavily regulated jurisdictions fare any better than students in more free jurisdictions. Research does show that home-educated students as a group are academically ahead of their schooled peers, and do exceptionally well with regard to social and career development.
- Forced registration and monitoring of home-educating families is a waste of taxpayer monies, and can, in many instances, produce counterproductive results.
This really is an important submission; it demonstrates that quite apart from the fact that the state involving itself in Home Education is completely immoral, it is unjustifiable on the grounds of the result of that education, and that registration or no, Home Education works equally well. It is therefore obvious that the state should BACK OFF, on the sole basis of saving money.
Of course, this would mean that the corrupt state feeding leeches would have no harvest of juicy children to feed off of. But more on that later!
Memorandum submitted by Dr Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison
1. Introduction: Dr Alan Thomas is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has spent 15 years researching home education methods, particularly informal and autonomous ones. Harriet Pattison is a research associate at the Institute of Education. Relevant publications are in Appendix A.
- The Review fails completely to deal with the autonomous or informal approach to home education despite the fact our research was explained in person and in detail to Mr Badman, His dismissal of our work is at odds with what we have experienced in other jurisdictions. Our work has been used to inform home education policy in Australia (Victoria and Tasmania) and in the Republic of Ireland.
- No reasons whatsoever are given for completely disregarding current policy in relation to the conduct and assessment of home education spelt out in detail in the current DCFS guidelines which clearly accommodate the practice of autonomous home education (see Appendix B).
- There is now a substantial body of mainstream educational research in relation to schools which has a direct bearing on autonomous education. Very little reference is made to this even in the literature review. Furthermore, the literature review was not published alongside the Review and can only be obtained by request under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Overall, the Review displays a lack of rigour and accuracy combined with unsubstantiated opinions in relation to our area of expertise. Mr. Badman proposes that research into autonomous education should be undertaken and, at the same time, sets out a detailed system of monitoring that would actually prohibit it.
- We recommend, based on our research, that the current DCSF guidelines in relation to monitoring home education are quite adequate.
Memorandum submitted by Dr Peter Kahn
- My wife and I teach our five young children at home. I write this submission to you also as a university educator, with responsibility for educating academics at the University of Liverpool in learning and teaching.
- In his letter of 11 June to Graham Badman, Ed Balls talks of a compelling case for all of the review’s proposals in the Badman review. I find the overall argument contained within this review far from compelling, and its intellectual standard woefully inadequate. This suggests to me that the review is driven by ideology rather than rationality. If you give this review a fair reading, I hope you identify how frequently the review asserts rather than provides a substantive argument.
- As a result of this absence of compelling argument, the recommendations that flow from this review are weighted in the favour of greater bureaucracy, a default assumption that one might expect in this context.
Dr Peter Kahn (BSc DIC Phd PGCert MEd FSEDA FHEA) Centre for Lifelong Learning – University of Liverpool
Memorandum submitted by Sue Gerrard
My partner and I currently home-educate our daughter (14) who is recovering from glandular fever, and our son (11) who has an autism spectrum disorder and special educational needs. Both children previously attended school.
I have a PCGE (3-9s) and have taught in a parent-controlled primary school. I have held a variety of administrative posts outside education before taking an MSc in Occupational Psychology. I am currently an independent researcher, affiliated to the knowledge modelling group at Keele University. The views expressed in my submission are personal ones.
Primary concerns regarding the recommendations the government intends to adopt:
- The evidence for home-educated children being at risk of harm is insubstantial
- Legal rights are seen as granted by the State rather than recognized by it
- The rights of parents and children are misconstrued and not clearly defined
- Related statutory guidance contains internal inconsistencies and does not make clear the boundaries of responsibility and accountability of local authorities
- The recommendations put local authorities in a position of conflict of interest
- The recommendations do not uphold the principles of assumption of innocence and right to privacy
- Possible unintended and unwanted outcomes from the recommendations are not addressed
- I recommend that concerns about home-educated children be addressed through support rather than policing
An article featuring Sue Gerrard in the New York Times.
Memorandum submitted by Jackie Burnham
- Autonomous education is a viable enriching philosophy of education: see a US example in action.
- There is ample literature to support this approach
- There are numerous examples of successful self taught children and adults.
- This autonomous approach and programme of education can be accountable and subject to regular checks.
- My credentials:
- BA hons,.MA, PGCE.
- 3 years of state school teaching experience, 2 years college tutoring, 15 years home educating 4 children.
My children’s careers following autonomous learning:
-one graduating this year with a Masters degree in Maths from University of East Anglia and becoming an actuary,
-one applying to Cambridge University this year for Politics, Psychology and Sociology,
-one planning a career in veterinary medicine.
Of course, we all know that Autonomous Learners do brilliantly; the people behind this review do not care about the facts, or about education or about the welfare of your chilren; they simply WANT your children, and that is all.
Also, the people who submitted that seeing a child alone by law might break current laws, do not understand the nature of the tyranny that they live under. If the new law breaks old law, then they get rid of the old law.
Memorandum submitted by Denise McCallum
I met Graham Badman at North Yorkshire County Councils offices along with another home educating couple, present were Graham Badman & Liz Green, we were joined later in the meeting by Alan Critchlow and Ruth Hannah.
- We explained to Graham Badman how home educating parents in North Yorkshire had worked with the local authority to build up working relationships. We told him how in essence we had come out from behind the barricades and met in the middle and how this process had taken nearly three years after we met with them because of the first consultation on home education.
- We repeatedly explained how we believed that if the current legislation was interpreted correctly and Local Authorities worked with parents instead of against them then the 2007 Guidelines were sufficient and that those Local Authorities that had embraced the guidelines didn’t have the problems that the Local Authorities had where they consistently act ultra vires.
- I explained my own personal circumstances about how my (now) 11 year old was very battered from the state system, a teacher had told him that if he didn’t go to school I would be imprisoned and it took a good six months for him to believe me that home education was legal, if we had been forced to have a compulsory visit it would have done lots of damage to my son.
- Mr Badman repeatedly said to us that leaving the current system as it was, was not an option which gave the impression that the outcome of the review were predetermined.
This story is very informative. I feel a great amount of pity for this man; so brainwashed was his son that he could not tell him anything and be believed. This is exactly and precisely what the collectivists and communitarians want for every child in the west; they want children to automatically distrust their parents; to question them and doubt them. They want the end of every natural relationship that man has, from his natural instinct to trust or not trust someone (state mediated trust through ID Cards and the ISA) and the end of the family as the centre of human life, replaced with THEM and their sinister child abusing cohorts.
Memorandum submitted by Hertfordshire Home Education Group
Herts Home Education Group: background information
A meeting was arranged at Fleetville Community Centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire on 16th April 2009 at the request of the elective home education review team. 15 members of the Herts local group and 10 young people participated.
The Herts Home Education Action Group was formed as a result of our grave concern about the standard of the review and the unsound nature of the recommendations. We are writing to inform the Select Committee of our disquiet at the attitudes shown by Graham Badman at the St Albans meeting and also to comment on the review recommendations. Our members are very concerned about our experience of discussing home education with Graham Badman in our local meeting and also about the implications that Mr Badman’s opinions have for the conduct of the review.
1 Evidence relating to the conduct of the Badman review
1.1 Mr Badman was very unwell when he came to the meeting. He was suffering from a severe flu-type illness. The meeting had already been cancelled several times by the review team and he had decided to attend in order to avoid a further cancellation. One of our group contracted the infection from him and was ill and unable to work properly for over three weeks. It is reasonable to conclude from this that Mr Badman’s ability to work intensively on the review must have been reduced for a similar length of time. Given the shortness of the time allowed for the entire review this would have had a serious effect on the integrity of his findings.
Memorandum submitted by the Reverend Dr Alasdair Coles, on behalf of Central London Home Educators
26. This submission has dealt with just a few of the issues relating to this review, namely:
- Mr Badman bases his recommendations on statistics from a minority of LAs and his own subjective opinion.
- He produces no evidence that his proposals are necessary or will significantly improve child welfare or education.
- He has not considered the cost or cost effectiveness of his proposals.
- He has not considered the potential negative effects of compulsory monitoring.
- He is undermining the possibility of establishing good working relationships between LAs and EHE families.
These are not our only concerns by any means. There are many other issues with which we are deeply unhappy, but the brevity of this submission allows us only to address some of the more pressing points. In a recent letter to LAs Mr Badman wrote:
Most of my recommendations have not been challenged, reflecting the sound evidence base.
We firmly refute this. There is very little in his report with which home educators are content.
Much has been made of this particular submission:
Memorandum submitted by Dr Paula Rothermel FRSA, Educational psychologist expert witness
1. I am one of the leading academics in the field in the UK and the only expert witness specialising in court cases where home education is an issue. My 2002 research involved 1099 children and remains the largest and most in-depth and authoritative independent of home education carried out in the UK. The research involved 419 survey questionnaires to families and 238 targeted assessments (with 196 different children) to evaluate the psychosocial and academic development of home-educated children aged eleven years and under.
2. I was invited on two occasions to meet with Mr Badman.
3. At our first interview Mr Badman was interested in what I had to say. His opening question was to ask me if home educating mothers suffered from Munchhausen’s by Proxy. I thought this to be a curious starting point – that of questioning whether home education is a symptom of mental illness. I am not medically qualified, but I was able to inform Mr Badman that there is no research evidence available that I am aware of, which makes this link.
4. At our second interview Mr Badman was dismissive of my work. He insisted that my study covered just 30 children. He indicated that someone had told him this and insisted that my conclusions and findings, therefore, were of little significance. Nothing I could say would sway him from this view. He had clearly not informed himself about my work by reading it.
5. I consider the review to be seriously flawed. It should be a matter of concern to the Select Committee that the person commissioned to carry out the review could so easily be influenced by a lay person hostile to my work. I question the rigour applied to the Review.
8. I have many observations to make regarding Mr Badman’s recommendations but the absence of numbers in his bulleted recommendations makes this reference laborious. Overall the recommendations are, in my opinion, complicated, expensive and unworkable.
Had any other part of the review been conducted honestly or with a shred of integrity, we might conclude that this Munchhausen question was asked in a flu delirium, so insane, over the top CRAZY it is to make this connection. But then again, look at what and who we are dealing with. These are people who sexed up dossiers, who continue to… you know the story by now!
Memorandum submitted by Hilary Searing
- This submission considers the ‘safeguarding’ agenda in this Review.
- It concludes that proposed legislative changes are both unnecessary and unworkable.
Many local authorities do not have the resources to safeguard vulnerable children as effectively as they would like and priority should be given to children who are definitely at risk rather than those who might possibly be at risk, such as home educated children.
- I have worked for thirty years as a local authority social worker and have much experience of front-line child protection work and care proceedings. I am now retired.
The social work perspective
- The Badman Review reflects the confusion which exists in many local authorities about their safeguarding duties. The term ‘safeguarding’ is widely misunderstood and many problems have arisen in child protection work because of confusion about what the term actually means.
- Graham Badman is not an expert in child protection. His review contains too many platitudes about ‘safeguarding’ children that are actually meaningless. He conflates objections to non-state education with safeguarding issues and uses vague concerns about child abuse as a way of undermining the concept of home education. It is totally inappropriate to suggest that registration of home educated children is necessary to ‘safeguard’ them.
- The notion of using registration of home educators to improve safeguarding arrangements does not come from the practice experience of social workers. These draconian powers are completely unnecessary and represent a step too far in the direction of greater state intervention in family life. They would make parents even more fearful of social workers and cause confusion about the child protection role. The proposed changes would effectively create a more adversarial relationship between the local authority and home educating parents, which would be counter-productive.
We know about Hillary Searing from her ‘Radical Social Worker’ blog.
Memorandum submitted by Prof. James C Conroy, Dean: Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow
I offer the following observations as a positive contribution to your deliberations.
1 Having been consulted by Graham Badman, at the request of some home education organisations, at a late stage in the proceedings I was subsequently invited to sit on the Expert reference group. However, both the remaining meetings of the group were held at short notice and I was unable to attend but did participate in a phone conference. The final report was somewhat rushed and there was little enough time to digest or reflect on either the report or the recommendations. Of course the unseemly haste with which the review was conducted will simply re-affirm a quite widespread view that the case was decided before the evidence was heard. While some of the recommendations seem not unreasonable (especially support for home educating families and a registration scheme- though I believe that this should be light touch) some of them appear entirely disproportionate and to simply duplicate existing care and welfare systems.
2 However, more significant that the recommendations are the grounds upon which they have been established. In my 30 odd years of professional life in education I have rarely encountered a process, the entirety of which was so slap dash, panic driven, and nakedly and naively populist. From the moment Baroness Morgan publicly announced the terms of reference as based on a number of assumptions, not least of which was that home education might be a haven or harbour for various kinds of child abuse, the stage was set. Of course anything could be a shelter for anything else- to say so is to say nothing. No account was given of any substantial empirical evidence of the prevalence of abuse in home education environments or whether there was a greater incidence of such abuse amongst home educators than was more generally true of the population as a whole, or perhaps, more tellingly. In state sponsored care facilities. In the report itself Badman compounds the felony with a raft of unsubstantiated claims based on hearsay and vague generalisation. Let me look at the particular claim that,
‘on the basis of local authority evidence and case studies presented, even acknowledging the variation between authorities, 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. Secondly, despite the small number of serious case reviews where home education was a feature, the consideration of these reviews and the data outlined above, suggests that those engaged in the support and monitoring of home education should be alert to the potential additional risk to children.’
3 It is difficult to know what to make of a claim that suggests enhanced risk based on vague conversations with local authorities and no actual empirical data. How is there an additional risk when the only arithmetic supposition in the paper is that somewhere between 20 000 and 80 000 children are home educated. In order to know whether or not there is a greater risk to home educated children then we need to know the numbers. Vague assertion, however well intentioned, is not good enough. Before rushing to judgment the government would be well advised to commission some serious research on numbers and potential/actual abuse.
1. and 2. Registration would seem reasonable but those parts that require parents to complete various pro forma to ensure compliance with a normative account of education seem to miss the point that many parents home educate precisely because they have little enough faith in the current claims of formal education. Such bureaucratic exercises will inevitably lead to the curtailment of the liberal freedom to be different (perfectly desirable in a democracy providing certain safeguards are in place)
Again the palpable absence of substantial evidence as to the relative success of home educated children – though what little evidence as exists would suggest that they do better than the average student in school─ upon which to base the suggestion and consequent recommendation suggests that the rush to judgment and recommendation is too hasty.
7. I am unpersuaded that local authority representatives should have an unfettered right to speak to a child on their own. Certainly the police would not be permitted to do so. Such an intrusion into the home sets very dangerous precedents in liberal democracies and confuses the functions of the state with the role of a parent. The erosion of the space of the home and family (hard cases notwithstanding) continues quite a long legislative process of undermining the authority and capacity of parents to take charge of, and be responsible for, their children. We should not be surprised that increasingly hysterical press coverage of the inability of parents to act as a parent has emerged given the propensity to begin from a position of distrust. While of course every incidence of child abuse is abhorrent and a personal tragedy for the victims and families this should not dictate the pattern of legislation. The reason we have the law as an intervention between individual and individual is precisely because individual cases make bad law.
5 In all of this I would recommend that a series of serious studies be conducted on the effects and efficacy of home education. This might then preclude the rush to judgement on the basis of prejudice, single issue/moment claims.
Prof. James C Conroy, Dean: Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow
Now that is what I call SCATHING.
Once again, any academic who sees this or who had anything to do with it dismisses it. The only people who are for it are the child harvesters. This is a telling feature of this whole sorry and said affair.
Memorandum submitted by Tina Robbins
1. No compelling evidence for change
GB’s Review of EHE found no compelling evidence of abuse within the EHE community. He stated:
8.14 With regard to other specific groups within the remit of this inquiry I can find no evidence that elective home education is a particular factor in the removal of children to forced marriage, servitude or trafficking or for inappropriate abusive activities.
Therefore the Recommendations should be dismissed and the consultation process halted.
Interesting; this Home Educator person is actually demanding something. GOOD! She comes to the correct conclusion, and says the right thing at the right place. No, “I would like to submit” or any other obsequious language. You are wrong, now STOP IT.
Memorandum submitted by
Mr Keir Watson, Secondary School Teacher
- My main thesis is that Badman conflates education with school. The two are not the same, and this leads to unsound recommendations.
- He attacks home education (HE) as if it can be analysed, measured and judged using the same mind-set as school education.
- The philosophical differences between the approaches of state school and HE need to be taken into account in framing any legislation if they are not to lead to emotional and educational harm to the children and families of this important minority group.
This is very true; Home Educated children are NOT ‘schooled’. Sadly, because Home Schoolers in the UK are not able to understand the depth of popular ignorance around home education and how to fix this woeful inadequacy, most people do not know the difference between children who receive lessons at school (pupils) and children who are educated at home.
This is why so many people think that year plans are reasonable, some imbeciles ‘cannot see why anyone would complain about comulsory registration’ and why others believe that Home Educated children should be scheduled by timetables in the home etc etc. Of course, some people DO use these timetables, and they are no less Home Educators for it, but this does not detract from the fact that Home Education is not the same as being at a school and the two should never be conflated.
Memorandum submitted by Dr K E Patrick,
Qualified Teacher and Home-educating Parent
- As a former secondary school teacher and now a home-educating parent of 9 years’ experience, I am very concerned about the lack of impartiality of Mr. Graham Badman with regard to the review of elective home education.
- Mr. Badman is now the remunerated chairman of BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency), a non-departmental public body limited by guarantee with charitable status, governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association and Financial Memorandum with the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF). This agency receives almost all its money as Grants In Aid from the DCSF – to the tune of over £38.5 million last financial year (according to its Summary Information Return, available on-line) It is directly answerable to the Secretary of State, who is accountable to Parliament for its activities and performance.
- Prior to being appointed as BECTA’s chairman in May 2009, Mr. Badman was a board member and trustee of this agency.
- In their Digital Britain report from March 2009 (available on-line), BECTA write that they “work with government to lead the delivery and development of e-strategy” and “influence the strategic direction and development of national education policy.”
- Because Mr. Badman is chairman of this agency, and because this agency is developing e-strategies for the Government, and because the Secretary of State is answerable to Parliament for BECTA’s performance, I do not believe it is possible for this man to conduct an independent review of the home-educating community. Even a recommendation as simple as a nationwide registration and monitoring database could, without much imagination, lead to an ICT solution provided by BECTA.
- Furthermore, BECTA doles out hundreds of thousands of pounds to local authorities every year, the very people canvassed by Mr. Badman for information from which to draw relationships between home-educating and child-safeguarding issues. It is logical to question whether or not the information from local authorities could, therefore, be objective in this case.
- Therefore, I submit that Mr. Graham Badman had conflicts of interest in this review that would have made his recommendations unreliable, and for that reason, I request that the Select Committee make a similar conclusion of unreliability.
The word you are looking for is ‘dirty’.
Memorandum submitted by Claire Blades
1. This submission will consider the second term of reference for the Review into Elective Home Education in England published in June 2009, namely:
· The extent to which claims of home education could be used as a ‘cover’ for child abuse such as neglect, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude and advise on measures to prevent this;
2. It will examine the evidence for these claims and ask that the UK Statistics Authority or the National Statistician Dame Karen Dunnell be invited to conduct their own analysis of the methodology and data used to compile the Badman Report and present it to the Select Committee. In addition, it will suggest that a second rigorous statistical investigation be carried out by statisticians.
3. It will assess the safeguarding impact of Recommendations 1, 7, 23 and 24, concluding that they are unnecessary; disproportionate to any problem identified and will ultimately be counter-productive. It will suggest they are rejected.
4. It will ask that the Select Committee deadline for submissions be extended to allow the inclusion of evidence that was not available on 22 September 2009 due to delays by the DCSF in processing Freedom of Information requests.
About the Author
I trained as a mathematics teacher at Oxford University and worked at an 11-18, mixed comprehensive school in Oxfordshire for five years. I have an interest in the pastoral care of young people and was Head of Years 10 and 11.
My husband and I home educate our daughter, 7, and son, 4, who have never been to school. We take a semi-structured approach. The children learn gymnastics, ballet, swimming and music. We meet regularly with other home educating families to learn history, poetry, drama, art and French.
1. The Second Term of Reference
1.1 It is clear that the Government is uneasy about home education because this is the fourth time it has addressed the matter in the past three years.
1.2 In January 2007, the Department for Education and Skills tried and failed to make a case for registration of home educators. In an internal email timed at 11:08 on 11 January 2007, an Assistant Economist in Strategic Analysis: Economic Efficiency Team at the DfES wrote the following: “My view is this is a good example of a policy which has not nearly enough evidence to go ahead with, and the (Value for Money) assessment I think clearly shows this. The evidence is lacking in every area. There is uncertainty relating to the numbers of children involved, the benefits that might be achieved, and even the costs side is highly uncertain at the moment. There seems little or no recognition of the important possibility that families that do not need the intervention will not benefit but there will be significant cost imposed for and on them anyway. This therefore would require much more evidence or estimates of the proportions of home learners it will actually benefit, versus those it would impose net costs upon.” 
1.3 This comment applies to Mr Badman’s recommendations about registration and monitoring as much today as it did two-and-a-half years ago.
1.4 In an apparent attempt to strengthen the case for increased monitoring, a subsequent internal email written at 17:34 on 11 January 2007 suggested that a case for the potential safeguarding benefits could be made.
1.5 It is my assertion that, having failed to justify the need for increased monitoring of home educators in 2007, the Government realised that if it could suggest that home educated children were at risk of harm then MPs and the public would support legislation.
1.6 There has been plenty of time since 2007 for the DCSF to conduct a rigorous statistical examination of cases of abuse, forced marriage, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude among the home educating population. Instead, it chose to launch the 2009 review with a headline-grabbing term of reference for which there was no basis.
2. The evidence presented for claims of child abuse, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude
Claims of Child Abuse – Statistics
2.1 In paragraph 8.12 of his report, Mr Badman stated: “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”. The term “known to social care” is broad ranging.
2.2 When Mr Badman released the report at a press conference on 11 June 2009, he told reporters that the law on home educators needed to be tightened up because the number of children “known to social care” among the home education community was “approximately double” that of the general population.
2.3 Home educators put in several Freedom of Information requests to the DCSF asking for the statistical evidence for these claims. At first, the DCSF refused to release the information.
2.4 On 29 July 2009, I wrote to the UK Statistics Authority expressing my concerns about the way data was used in the compilation of the report and the conclusions drawn based on this data. I asked the UK Statistics Authority to investigate.
2.5 Sir Michael Scholar KCB, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote back on 26 August 2009 to say: “… as a matter of principle, the Statistics Authority recommends that the supporting statistical evidence for the statements of the kind attributed to Mr. Badman in the media coverage following the publication of the report should be made public…”
2.6 Sir Michael sent copies of our correspondence to the National Statistician Dame Karen Dunnell; to the Permanent Secretary at the DCSF David Bell and to the DCSF Head of Profession for Statistics Malcolm Britton.
2.7 On 26 August 2009, the DCSF released a “Safeguarding Evidence Briefing Paper” – a summary of the local authority information returned to the Badman Review Team – under an FOI request.
2.8 The briefing paper was released with the caveat that “it has undergone limited quality assurance and does not meet DCSF standards for publication of statistical data”.
2.9 An explanatory note accompanying the briefing paper stated that Mr Badman’s claim in paragraph 8.12 was based on the raw data. As the raw data is not available to the public, home educators have been unable to assess the methodology or carry out their own analysis.
2.10 The organisation Action for Home Education (AHED) has compiled its own data using the replies of Freedom of Information requests from 129 local authorities. Their figure for the abuse rate among home educated children is 0.32 per cent, significantly lower than the rate among all children in England.
2.11 In the light of clear differences between the Badman Review team’s figures and those from AHED, I would urge the Select Committee to ask the UK Statistics Authority or the National Statistician Dame Karen Dunnell to conduct their own analysis of the methodology and data used in the compilation of statistics for the Badman report.
2.12 It is clear that Mr Badman himself has come to realise that his statistical evidence is flawed.
2.13 On 17 September 2009, he wrote to all local authority Directors of Children’s Services. He stated: “I would like to strengthen my statistical evidence in advance of the Select Committee hearing so that it is more extensive and statistically robust.” He conceded that he had used a “small sample” to obtain his figures and he urged the Directors of Children’s Services to “help me make the strongest possible case to the Select Committee”.
2.14 There are clearly defined methods for collecting unbiased data. Instead, Mr Badman’s continues to use self-selecting samples and gather information by asking leading questions.
2.15 I would urge the Select Committee to appoint statisticians to carry out their own rigorous investigation into claims that home education could be used as a ‘cover’ for child abuse such as neglect, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.
. Are the recommendations to register and monitor home educators necessary and what will be their impact?
3.1 I have demonstrated the unsound statistics behind Mr Badman’s claim that home educated children are more at risk of abuse than their schooled peers.
3.2 In all four Serious Case Reviews examined by the Badman team – and in the case of Khyra Ishaq – neither the proposed registration scheme nor intrusive monitoring would have been likely to have changed the outcomes. All the children were already known to the authorities. In these cases, there was clearly some level of failure by the local authorities.
3.3 It is equally true that other local authorities address child protection issues more robustly. In its submission to the review into elective home education, Ofsted said the following: “Our experience from inspections of children’s services and evaluations of serious case reviews is that there is variation across the country in how proactively local safeguarding children boards ensure these (home educated) children are safeguarded. Some local child protection procedures address this robustly while others do not.”
3.4 If some local safeguarding boards are able to ensure the safety of home educated children under current legislation, why is a change of law necessary at all? Surely all that is needed is that good practice and robust procedures for protecting children educated at home should be adopted in all areas. Social services already have extensive powers to investigate if there is reason to believe a child is at risk of harm.
3.5 Local authorities argue that they cannot protect children about whom they know nothing. This position diminishes the important role of home education community support and monitoring. Apart from extreme cases like Elisabeth Fritzl, family and friends of home educated children know about them.
3.6 It is important to consider the effect that the extra information generated from registration and monitoring might have upon safeguarding children. Much of the data will be irrelevant. Rather than adding to the safety of children, it will cause problems by taking up time that could be better spent on cases of real concern and create a risk of harm by obscuring the few ‘signals’ (of true concern) among a storm of noise (irrelevant data).
3.7 Recommendations 1, 7, 23 and 24 in the Badman report are unnecessary; disproportionate to any problem identified and will ultimately be counter-productive. I urge the Select Committee to reject them.
Memorandum submitted by HERA (Home Education Research Association)
HERA (the Home Education Research Association) is a Consultee listed in Annex B of Graham Badman’s Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Elective Home Education in England (the Report), and held a telephone consultation with Mr Badman on 2 April 2009.
HERA strongly believes that the conduct of the Review and the Report itself are riddled with serious and far-reaching flaws that invalidate the Report Recommendations and any DCSF action taken upon them, including the 11 June 2009 Consultation that the DCSF launched simultaneously with the Report.
- The Report’s recommendation are not supported by the evidence gathered in the Review.
- There is no data to support the alleged need for immediate and urgent reforms to EHE safeguarding. Mr. Badman virtually concedes the insufficiency with his last minute attempt to supplement his data.
- The Report fails to give attention to the problem of schools coercing parents to deregister truants and other “problem” students.
- The views of stakeholders and consultants were mischaracterised in the Report and in notes of meetings that informed it.
- The Report improperly disregarded extensive home education research that undermines its conclusions and consistently finds that home education is effective and safe.
- The Review Panel lacked EHE expertise.
- The Review questions treated stakeholders inequitably.
- The repeated EHE consultations are inequitable and improper; the Report anticipates more.
- The recommendations that LAs enter every EHE home and question children apart from their parents disregard enormous legal and policy implications, and amount to significant change in the relationship between families and the state.
- The Report fails to account for staffing shortfalls for additional work, imposition of new duties without training for them, enormous financial cost, and destruction of trust between LAs and home educators.
Once again; everyone involved in this report except the vampiric bloodsuckers is condemning this report, and they are taking this opportunity to respond to the committee as their chance to disassociate themselves from it.
Memorandum submitted by Home Education Advisory Service
1 The constitution of the review team
- The range of expertise does not equip the members of the review team and the expert reference group to make informed assessments of home education in the time allowed for the review
2 The scope of the terms of reference of the review
- The terms of reference do not allow for a balanced consideration of both local authority concerns and home educators’ concerns
3 The nature of the consultation documents
- The DCSF press notice: Morgan: action to ensure children’s education & welfare: an oversimplification of the law
- The public call for evidence versus the questionnaire for local authorities: inequalities and ill-considered questions
- The second questionnaire for local authorities: improper methodology
o Graham Badman’s call for more information to strengthen his statistical evidence three months after his recommendations have been accepted by the Secretary of State
4 Comments on the review recommendations
1 The constitution of the review team
1.1 A study of the biographies of the ten members of the expert reference group shows that the professional knowledge of the members is strongly biased towards children’s services, early years and child development, disaffected, vulnerable and disadvantaged children, inclusion and safeguarding. Third sector involvement does not include any input from the home education charities. It is clear that this collective expertise, without a corresponding in-depth knowledge of home education, would render the members of the reference group incapable of making balanced judgements. The pressures upon these busy people would have made it impossible for them to reach a proper understanding of the complex phenomenon of home education in three months. In particular it was a disappointment to HEAS that Dr Alan Thomas, the country’s leading expert on home education, was not invited to take part. Dr Thomas has studied home education intensively for over thirty years and he has undertaken detailed and rigorous research in Australia as well as in the UK.
1.2 The review may be independent in that it is not a civil service review but Graham Badman’s professional background in education and public service militates against an objective assessment of home education.
This is what we call diplomatic language: ‘These busy people’. Yes indeed; busy milking the children of Britain for every penny they can get!
Memorandum submitted by SG Marshall and L Daley
- The review was based on a flawed premise – there is no greater risk of abuse for electively home educated children – it is in fact less.
- Children known to social care is not the same as children at risk of abuse.
- The abuse rate in the EHE community is one quarter of that in the general child population.
- Badman’s figures are skewed through self-selection of LAs who have a problem with EHE. 40% did not answer the first consultation and a mere 17% answered the second questionnaire.
- At least 106 LAs have a zero rate of abuse amongst the EHE children in their locality.
- England is not the only liberal country as far as home educating law goes. Many states in the USA are just as liberal as is Canada. Germany banned home education under Hitler in 1938. New Zealand have just scrapped reviews of home educators provision as it is a waste of money for such a low risk group.
- 80-95% of respondents to the public online consultation wanted no change to the status quo but have been completely ignored.
- Graham Badman is now asking LAs for more evidence to bolster his case before the Select Committee. This seems highly irregular.
- A petition calling on the government to reject the report entirely has over 3,300 signatures, so it is not ‘a few home educators, as Badman claims.
- Look at those LAs who have a good relationship with home educators to see what can be learnt from them.
- We are Stuart G. Marshall FRSH P Dip. BSc. Cert Ed. FETC and Lynn Daley BSc. BEng. Cert Ed. FETC. We are home educating our two children along with running two successful companies and a home education support group. We are both qualified FE teachers with many years experience and produce educational materials, including books and DVDs for FE colleges.
- We aim to show that the premise of the review, i.e. that elective home educated children are more at risk of abuse than schooled children is simply not true. Neither does school provide a safe environment or a suitable education for many children. 40% of children leave primary school without the basic skills that they need. One in six leave secondary school without the government target of 5 good GCSE passes.
- In paragraph 8.12 of his review, Badman states: “…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.”
- This lead to headlines such as Children educated at home more at risk of abuse in the national press. The above article went on to claim:
- “Children educated at home are twice as likely to be on social services registers for being at risk of abuse as the rest of the population, the head of a government inquiry into home education said yesterday.”
- Clearly known to Children’s Social Care, which includes those children in need of services because they have a disability for example, and at risk of abuse are two separate matters and should not be conflated. Anecdotal evidence for example suggests that the proportion of EHE children with disabilities is greater than in the general population as it is these children in particular whose needs are not met being met by many schools. This is not a problme as families are uch more able to cater to their children’s needs on a one to one basis.
- Home educators therefore placed many requests to the DCFS under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000 to release the evidence that Badman had used for these assertions. In one annex which was released Badman states that 90 of the 150 Local Authorities (LAs) replied to his initial request for evidence. It is worth noting that this is only a 60% response rate and it is reasonable to assume that the other 40% did not reply as they felt that the current regulatory framework for Elective Home Education is perfectly adequate.
The problem Graham Badman, Delyth Morgan and all the other idiots who started on this crusade against Home Education, is that their ignorance of what Home Education really is was deeply profound. I say ‘was’ because now they know that there are a substantial number, probably the majority, of Home Educators who are highly qualified, trained, successful and professional people, who are more than capable of defending themselves, their philosophies, choices and methods of parenting.
They erroneously imagined that they were dealing with a bunch of uneducated, defenceless and deviant people who they could easily steamroller, like they do with every other disadvantaged group. How wrong they were. Out of the woodwork come PHDs and every other type of lettered academic and professionally accredited person, all of whom either Home Educate or fully support Home Education.
They poked their stick in a hornets nest, and now the angry Hornets are coming out and vigorously buzzing around them. There are THOUSANDS of other hornets waiting to emerge if they are needed. And when they get their stingers out, there will be NO MERCY SHOWN.
Memorandum submitted by Cathy Koetsier
I am very unhappy with the results of the Review, and with the way in which it was conducted. It feels like a form of harassment to be subjected to one consultation after another, each one implying that we parents who choose not to place our children in the school system cannot and do not have our children’s best interests at heart. Like the rest of my fellow home educators, I am very busy with the education and upbringing of my children. However, at regular intervals I find myself in a position where I need to defend and justify the educational freedom enjoyed by my children. This ultimately detracts from their education.
Our government has many educational issues to deal with. Recently I read a newspaper claim that approximately 25,000 children left school this August, after 12 years of schooling, with no qualifications whatsoever. Can such a claim be true? If so, would the government not be better served addressing problems such as these – which are in its own back yard after all – before attempting to assist me with mine? I have been involved with home education for almost twenty years. The effect on my family has been meaningful and profound. Two of my children are now beyond compulsory schooling age. One is at university, and the other is working and studying part-time. Home education has successfully equipped them for the next phase of their lives. My other children are thriving and happy. The home is able to be what it should be – a safe and nurturing environment.
I feel we would all be better served if the government would be less controlling and less forceful in its approach and attitude; addressing its attention to making its schools safe, enjoyable and interesting places where children WANT to be, and leaving the families who choose to educate their children outside of its system in peace.
What this woman says is true, and pure. Chickens would be better served if foxes did not come to eat them in the night. I am afraid that foxes are not inclined to better serve chickens. And this is the problem.
Memorandum submitted by Miss Emma Whitford
- I reject this review in its entirety as I believe that it was not properly carried out and the author did not take on board the views and opinions of home educators
- The home educating community were very forth-coming with the author, but there is little evidence of this in the review findings
- In general I feel that the recommendations made in this review are heavy-handed and are giving the stick before the carrot
- This review is appears to be taking away the right to innocence before being proved guilty, a fundamental right of every British citizen (or so I thought)
I like it!
Memorandum submitted by the Home Educated Youth Council
4 – Every Child Matters
4.1 ECM shouldn’t have been used as a basis for this report, as it is irrelevant to EHE families. The aim of ECM is to “give all children the support they need to: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; achieve economic well-being”. ‘Support’ is a word implying choice on the child’s part, so the fact the review’s terms of reference use the word ‘ensure’ therefore goes against the entire ECM ethos.
4.2 The Children Act 200413 forms the basis of ECM. It doesn’t at all imply that children be forced to achieve these outcomes; it’s clearly meant for children’s services authorities, and those they work with. For this reason, ECM shouldn’t have been mentioned in the terms of reference as something to be “ensured”.
This is very important; Every Child Matters is a FANTASY, concocted by the state to engineer invasive involvement in the lives of young people. Only the parent, and when she reaches her majority, the child can say what is or is not ‘a good outcome’.
It is crucial that every time an aparatchick mentions Every Child Matters that they are pulled up on it and smacked down. The five outcomes (why only five? why not six or seven or twelve?) are a piece of mischief and bureaucratic nonsense. The sooner they are consigned to the garbage heap with the rest of New Liebour’s lies the better.
Memorandum submitted by Bristol Home Educators
The following summarises our concerns about the conduct & contents of the review.
- The terms of reference for the review are illegitimate.
- The review was not independent.
- The review & its recommendations conflate education, welfare & safeguarding issues.
- Home education (HE) is seen as an anomaly, not as a valid, legal choice that parents choose to fulfil their duty.
- Contributions to the review were misrepresented in its final report.
- The review was heavily biased against HE & towards predetermined change.
- Recommendations encompass a fundamental shift in responsibility for a child’s education from parent to State.
- Recommendations encompass a fundamental shift in the relationship between the State & home life.
- The recommendations will not make children safer, and may make them more vulnerable to abuse.
- The recommendations may prejudice people against legitimately choosing HE.
- The recommendations are incompatible with some well-established, researched & proven educational philosophies.
Clearly there is not enough fluoride in the Bristol tap water!
Memorandum submitted by North Wiltshire Home Educators
1. Executive Summary
- No evidence has been forthcoming to support the safeguarding recommendations.
- The recommendations in the Badman report are disproportionate and discriminatory.
- Existing legislation and guidelines are sufficient to safeguard home-educated children.
- Public money has been wasted and continues to be wasted in vexatious consultations and reports into home education.
9. Without evidence that home-educated children are more at risk than other children of abuse and neglect, it is discriminatory to institute a regime of annual registration. There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence from home-educating families that some local authority officials behave in a biased manner towards them. This is borne out by the few LAs who report concerns for the vast majority of home-educated children of whom they are aware, in comparison to the majority of LAs who have no or very few concerns. The Badman report chose to ignore that evidence and cherry-picked evidence that supported pre-determined recommendations.
10. Although some of the recommendations are more intrusive and objectionable than others, we reject them in their entirety as being unnecessary. Existing legislation and guidelines are sufficient to safeguard all children, if LA officials were to be properly trained and resourced.
12. At considerable cost, the DCSF has carried out several consultations and review of home education in the last four years. Home educators have responded to those consultations in significant numbers. When the answers that DCSF receives are not what they want to see, they seem to constitute another review. It is a misuse of public money to harass a minority group that is choosing to fulfil its duty under s7 of the Education Act directly rather than delegating it to agents of the state.
What is that buzzing?
Memorandum submitted by Alison Sauer, Sauer Consultancy Limited
I had two face to face meetings with Mr Badman at his request (following his conversations with Iain Campbell of the DCSF) and several telephone conversations with Liz Green, his acting assistant. I am named in Annex B of the review document (my name is correct, however my company is listed wrongly).
As a brief background I am currently, to my knowledge, the only person training Local Authorities in this area; namely Elective Home Education (EHE), the related legal aspects and the Authority’s duties. I have been personally involved with EHE in my capacity as a parent for over ten years and have been training Authorities now for over five years.
I am trusted by Authorities to both deliver training, assist in policy and audit some of their cases. Indeed I have for the last two years been helping several Authorities to set up robust systems to deal with the issue of EHE. To date I have trained staff in over thirty English Authorities (about 20% of the whole).
1. The review misquotes or selectively quotes evidence received 1
2. The recommendations are based on the misquotes, misleading observations and selective statements referred to above and therefore the conclusions are flawed 3
3. The report, and indeed the questions sent out to Authorities at the beginning of the procedure, show a considerable misunderstanding and misinterpretation of current statute and case law. 3
4. The report shows a misunderstanding of Elective Home Education as it is practiced leading to inappropriate recommendations. 4
1. The review misquotes or selectively quotes evidence received
1.1. Meeting notes taken by the review team during my meetings with Mr Badman do not agree with my notes of the same meetings.
I became aware of the discrepancy after the DCSF issued me with their meeting notes following an FOI to the DCSF regarding meetings with “stakeholders” during summer 2009, after the publication of the report.
In certain key points the DCSF meeting notes do not agree with my recollection of the same meetings. Two significant inaccuracies were in particular:
1.1.1. The DCFS notes stated that “[Alison] advocates schools holding a place open for a period of time once a deregistration has come in – would allow for an investigation of the issues and try and find a solution if appropriate.”
I corrected this to
“Advocates schools holding a place open for a period of time (i.e. keeping the place empty for 20 school days and not back-filling) once a deregistration has come in – would allow for an investigation of “off-rolling” if appropriate.”
The subtlety may not be immediately obvious but I would draw your attention to clause 6 within recommendation 1 of the report “When parents are thinking of deregistering their child/children from school to home educate, schools should retain such pupils on roll for a period of 20 school days so that should there be a change in circumstances, the child could be readmitted to the school. This period would also allow for the resolution of such difficulties that may have prompted the decision to remove the child from school.”
1.1.2. The DCFS notes also quotes me stating that “Periodic review of learning (no less than every 2 years) is needed. Non-engagement with LA should not be allowed. Every family should be seen.”
which is incorrect and which I corrected to “Periodic review provision is allowed for in law (time being a change in circumstance). Non-engagement with LA is not acceptable under current case law. Contact (in writing) should be made with every family known to be home educating in the form of an informal enquiry about provision. Many families do not need frequent contact following this initial contact and some authorities do not contact families more frequently than every 2 years where there have been no concerns in the past.”
Note in particular the phrase “Every family should be seen” words which I have never uttered to anyone in this context.
As evidenced above recommendations apparently based on my meeting notes of my meeting do not reflect the reality of the evidence I gave.
Her emphasis. The report included words that she did not say. They used her and her reputation to bolster this tissue of lies. What is so gratifying about all these submissions is that when they press ahead with legislation, despite all of this, everyone concerned and everyone who has any contact with the people who submitted these memoranda and the 5000 plus people who responded to the last consultation will finally have the lie of democracy burned out of their minds forever. No reasonable person, as all these people are, could possibly continue to believe in a form of government that operates in the way that this one does. It will be made clear to them that it is completely illegitimate. They will then be forced to re-examine all their beliefs about government and their role in its usurping of power and crushing of people’s lives. They will have to come to one conclusion, and there are some who are already there.
But I digress…
Memorandum submitted by Louisa Bird
Elective Home Education Inquiry.
Summary of submission.
– Literature search. The result of short, web-based search for relevant literature pertaining to Home Education performed by myself and brief comparison of these results to those apparently achieved by the author of the literature review.
– Contactpoint. Highlighting of the context in which mention of the Contactpoint database is made within the literature review
– Analysis of the literature review. Breakdown of the literature review section by section discussing the quality of the research and conclusions.
1.1 There are many, many areas of the Badman Review into Home Education that are highly problematic, so much so that it is impossible to discuss them all, let alone in any particular detail, in a document limited to only a few thousand words in length.
Because of this, I have chosen to focus in depth on one specific area that is likely to have had little attention in other submissions rather than attempt to cover the entire review and to hope that others will have covered the rest in their submissions.
2.6 I obtained these links within a matter of hours through a web search, restricting myself to UK and American studies for relevance, ease of reading (they are in English!) and proliferation (the US being commonly regarded as having the largest and most thriving home education community and therefore likely to have the most comprehensive and up-to-date studies available for reference). This is only the tip of the research available for viewing , even using this basic criteria there were many more publications I could have read in full, particularly US-based ones, and yet others where I as a non-subscriber only had restricted access to a title and/or abstract of a paper in electronic format. The limitations of a web search would also lead me to the assumption that I could find even more literature if I were to combine it with other resources. Given that the author of the review should have had much more time and access to resources than I and his scope included examining studies from a wider range of countries, I would have expected his literature review to express this by having a far more extensive bibliography than it does.
Most reprehensibly, no citation of the three previously published consultations into home education that have taken place over the last few years, the last in 2007, occurs. Considering these previous consultations have covered very similar ground so recently, it would be a reasonable expectation to see them in the literature review, if only to save covering the same ground yet again and/or to compare the changes in society over the last two years that necessitate a new law so soon after it had been established that changes to the status quo were unnecessary.
2.7 Based on this, I would take issue with the statement within the literature review ‘There is very limited evidence on the attainment of home educated children; from this evidence there appears to be better performance amongst home educated children; however, the scale of the research means that generalisations are not appropriate. The diverse characteristics of home educated children makes it difficult to generalise about their academic performance’
The large number of publications I found with ease gives the lie to the first part of the statement concerning ‘limited evidence’ on attainment since this is what many of these studies concern themselves with to a large extent. Since a number of the studies I found in the first few minutes of my search were on a national scale (allbeit in the US) and amongst the most up-to-date of them all, there is no reason why a generalisation cannot be made based on studies of this size and every reason to wonder why the reviewer did not include them. And to suggest that the home education population is too diverse to generalise about suggests that the school-educated population is homogenous, which is patently untrue thanks to the wide variation in both quality of state-run schools and, in the private sector, that of the philosophies and methods available to choose from. It also implies this diversity is somehow a problem, but, while making it more difficult to establish ‘pure’ populations to study (a problem which is endemic in studies into human populations that every researcher, including the author of this review himself, comes up against in every case) this diversity is considered by many to be one of Home Education’s biggest strengths. The conclusion also contains a statement to the effect that the attainment of home educators has only been measured in studies with small sample sizes. Again, I refer to the large scale recent studies I found as proof that the author need not have relied solely on these. I would also point out that ‘small sample size’ is another factor that affects his own work on the Review, particularly in relation to the percentage of LAs responding in total to calls for information and the abridged version of the questionnaire sent out to home educators compared to the much more detailed one given to LAs and other organisations.
3.1 In it’s early paragraphs, the literature review makes a point of noting Contactpoint and it’s facility for collecting data on where a child is educated (though no specific reasons for why it is so concerning that no accurate numbers currently exist, it appears to simply be assumed that the lack of them must be a concern with no thought put in as to why). Having thus established that a method of ‘counting’ home educated children will be readily available in the near future should this go ahead as planned, it begs the question “Why does the Review itself then go on to recommend an entirely separate ‘registration’ if the main purpose of this is to keep track of numbers?” It further supports the general suspicion that the word ‘registration’ is being used throughout the Review as a substitute for ‘application to home educate’ in order to disguise the true nature of the recommendation.
ContactPoint is going to be scrapped of course, along with anything this villainous report produces statute wise. Either way, you are not under any obligation to obey its edicts if you Home Educate, any more than a soldier is obligated to obey an illegal or immoral order.
Memorandum submitted by Jeremy Yallop
Some problems with the DCSF-commissioned review of elective home education in England 2009
- The questions in the public questionnaire were misleading
- The questions in the public questionnaire were insulting
- The results of the public questionnaire were ignored
- The questions sent to local authorities conflict with the current law
- The questions sent to the local authorities encourage and condone action outside of existing law and guidelines
- Badman’s request to local authorities for additional evidence acknowledge that the evidence underlying the review is inadequate
- Badman’s requests to local authorities for additional evidence shows that he wishes to support a predetermined position, not discover the actual truth
- The review was unbalanced in its coverage of local authority practices
- The review ignored unlawful practices by local authorities
- The Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) offered as evidence have little relevance
- The literature review was severely inadequate
- The summary of international law was severely inadequate
- The report misrepresented the current English law on education
- The metric used for the only quantitative claim in Badman’s report does not support his conclusiosn
- The only quantitative claim in Badman’s report is based on an incorrect analysis
- Badman gathered and then suppressed relevant evidence which did not support his recommendations
- e report did not mention the views of any home educated children, although hundreds responded
- The report did not mention the views of any local or national home education organisations, although many responded
- The report, while disregarding the views of home-educating families and home education organisations, gave space to the views of various irrelevant groups and vested interests
- The report gave a distorted and inadequate representation of the views of the many hundreds of home educating parents who responded
- The DCSF has acted obstructively and unlawfully in response to requests for information about the review.
- The DCSF has misused the Freedom of Information Act to suppress evidence underlying the review
- The DCSF has made apparently counterfactual responses to Freedom of Information requests
- Most members of Badman’s “Expert Reference Group” had no relevant expertise
- Most members of Badman’s “Expert Reference Group” are affiliated with organisations that receive money from the DCSF
- The views of local authorities were given undue weight
- Many local authorities did not respond to the review
- The report misrepresented the questions that had been asked in the review
- There was no attempt to allow home educators without internet access to submit evidence
- The submission by the Church of England was manipulated to conceal its conclusions
- Badman has continued to state things as fact for which he has no evidence
- Even the quotation used in the opening pages of the report has been misused
1 The questions in the public questionnaire were misleading. For example, questions 5 and 6 ask whether the respondent thinks there is any need for changes to the “current system” of monitoring and supporting home educating families. In fact, there is no current system, so neither “yes” nor “no” is a meaningful answer.
2 The questions in the public questionnaire were insulting. For example, question 3 asks whether the respondent thinks that home-educated children are able to “be healthy”. It is difficult to imagine a more foolish question: some home-educated children are healthy, and some are unhealthy, just as some Jewish children (for example) are healthy and some unhealthy. The question is so manifestly absurd that it is clear that it was not intended as a means of gathering evidence at all. Are we supposed to seriously entertain the idea that home-education makes it impossible for a child to be healthy?
7 Badman’s requests to local authorities for additional evidence shows that he wishes to support a predetermined position, not discover the actual truth. He asks for data to “strengthen” his “statistical evidence”: he apparently has no interest in data which does not support the conclusions he has already drawn.
12 The summary of international law was severely inadequate. This summary begins “International comparison suggests that of all countries with highly developed education systems, England is the most liberal in its approach to elective home education”, which is false. In The United States, which has far more home educators than anywhere else in the world, education law is up to individual states; several of these have laws which are more liberal than England’s (http://www.hslda.org/laws/).
13 The report misrepresented the current English law on education. For example, Badman writes “This review does not argue against the rights of parents as set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996”, but that section does not confer rights at all; rather, it sets out the duties of parents. This apparently deliberate confusion between rights and duties has been used repeatedly in the report and the press by Badman and DCSF ministers. For example, in a press release of 11 June, Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan said “We have to balance the rights of parents with the pre-eminent rights of children” (http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2009_0105). The truth is that the law sets out duties for parents which are clearly not in conflict with children’s rights.
14 The metric used for the only quantitative claim in Badman’s report does not support his conclusiosn. Badman’s sole quantitative claim is 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”. However, “known to social care” is not a relevant metric, since children may be known to social care for many reasons, not all of which indicate abuse or neglect. In fact, at least one local authority reports all electively home-educated children to social care! (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/elective_home_education_suitabe).
15 The only quantitative claim in Badman’s report is based on an incorrect analysis. The statistics released by the DCSF to substantiate Badman’s claim (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/comparative_statistics_requested) are simply nonsensical: they are not even internally consistent. For example, they appear to multiply 7 by 150 to produce 1350! Additionally, they are based on an invalid assumption: that the proportion of “registered” home-educated children known to social care is a valid proxy for the total proportion of home-educated children known to social care, which is highly unlikely.
16 Badman gathered and then suppressed relevant evidence which did not support his recommendations. Badman’s questionnaire to 25 local authorities asked more relevant questions (besides the irrelevant question about the number of home-educated children “known to social care”): for example, it asked about the number of home-educated children “who are or have been subject to child protection plan” (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/information_about_research_metho). No mention of the answers to these questions appears in the report, so it appears that they did not support Badman’s conclusions. Worse still, Badman concealed the fact that these questions had been asked at all: the report does not include the questionnaire in which they appeared, although it does include an earlier questionnaire sent to local authorities (Annex D).
21 The DCSF has acted obstructively and unlawfully in response to requests for information about the review. I will describe my own experience, which I believe to be fairly typical.
On 12 February 2009 I submitted two requests to the DSCF under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. For brevity, I will consider here only the second request, which asked for information relating to the source of the “claims” linking home education and abuse in the DCSF’s press release announcing the review. Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, the DCSF was required to respond “promptly, but in any case within 20 working days”, i.e. by 12 March 2009 at the latest. The 12 March came and went, and I heard nothing from the DCSF besides an automated acknowledgement sent on the day of my request. I complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which contacted the DCSF on the 6 April and received an assurance that the DCSF intended to respond to me “in the next week”. The next week came and went and no response was received. Finally, on the 12 June, after the review had finished, and four months after my original request, the DCSF responded to my request with a refusal to release any information. I requested an internal review (a standard provision of the Freedom of Information Act in such cases) on the same day. This time the wait was only around three months — on the 4 September I received a reply from the DCSF containing what purported to be the minutes of the internal review meeting I had requested, but which had little or no relevance to my request. I brought this to the attention of the DCSF, but have heard nothing in response so far.
22 The DCSF has misused the Freedom of Information Act to suppress evidence underlying the review. Perhaps the most troubling case is the response sent to K Maxwell, who submitted a request asking for the evidence supporting certain statements in Badman’s report (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/evidence_used_by_mr_graham_badma). The DCSF refused to release some of this evidence on the grounds that doing so would endanger the safety or health (physical or mental) of some individual, presumably Graham Badman. It later transpired that the DCSF used this excuse on the grounds that a number of items critical of Badman’s review had been posted on the internet (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/communications_with_information). It seems clear from the guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s office that the exemption invoked by the DCSF is not intended to be used a general protection from criticism or distress (http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detailed_specialist_guides/awareness_guidance_19_-_health_and_safety.pdf) and it is a cause of concern that the DCSF is misusing the Freedom of Information Act to suppress evidence in this way.
24 Most members of Badman’s “Expert Reference Group” had no relevant expertise. It is unclear why these particular people were chosen, but it does not appear that it was for their knowledge or experience of home education, since most have none of either.
25 Most members of Badman’s “Expert Reference Group” are affiliated with organisations that receive money from the DCSF. For instance, Barnardos received almost a million pounds from the DCSF in the year 2008-2009. (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/supplier_costs)
28 The report misrepresented the questions that had been asked in the review. The public questionnaire asked:
“Some people have expressed concern that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude or other forms of child neglect. What do you think Government should do to ensure this does not happen?”
In the report, the last sentence was changed to the following:
“What do you think Government should do to ensure this cannot happen again?”
in an apparent attempt to imply that home education has actually been used as a “cover”, a claim which the review found no evidence to support.
30 The submission by the Church of England was manipulated to conceal its conclusions. The Church of England’s response concluded with a paragraph beginning:
“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.” (http://www.natsoc.org.uk/schools/electivehomeeducation.docx)
which Badman omitted; instead, he included a fragment which gave the impression that the Church of England was altogether opposed to home education.
31 Badman has continued to state things as fact for which he has no evidence. In his letter to local authorities of 17 September he wrote
“Most of my recommendations have not been challenged, reflecting the sound evidence base.”
which is false, most notably since most of his recommendations were not based on evidence. Further, he writes:
“However, a small group of home educators have refused to accept my conclusion that ‘the number of children known to children’s social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to the size of the home educating population'”
Badman has, of course, no evidence that the group of home educators involved is “small”: he apparently describes it that way in an attempt to discredit opposition. This is particularly ironic, since the number of local authorities on which his “conclusion” is based is actually small, unlike the number of home educators which reject his conclusion.
32 Even the quotation used in the opening pages of the report has been misused. This quotation comes from an essay by Isaiah Berlin in which he argues that personal liberty to determine one’s own path through life is essential to happiness — that it is the choosing, not simply the result of the choice that is so essential (“the need to choose”). Badman is apparently attempting to use the quotation to argue that he and the Government ought to make this choice instead. While this is, perhaps, a small point, it is indicative of Badman’s use of others’ words in general: he uses a passage from A.S. Neill in a similar way.
I think I will leave it there. Jeremy Yallop is a hero, no doubt about it.
Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Education (IOE), University of London
This response draws on evidence from colleagues at the Institute, in particular the work of Dr Alan Thomas (Visiting Fellow) and Professor Mike Apple (Visiting Professor). We thank them for their time and input.
Our comments are based on the second strand of the inquiry – the recommendations made by the review.
1.1. We think that it is important to have some form of register of whether children are being educated at school or at home.
1.2. We have concerns regarding the specific registration process described in the Review and would want assurances that all information collected as part of the registration process was relevant.
1.3. Specifically we think that collecting information on the home educator’s ‘approach to education’ and ‘planned outcomes for the child’ are problematic as this may contradict the very approach undertaken by the home educator, particularly if the approach taken is one of more autonomous and informal learning.
1.4. It is also unclear what the purpose would be of the school providing data to the LA regarding the child’s current and future expected attainment.
1.5. With regard to the recommendations around monitoring, we think that it is appropriate for the LA to visit the home of the home-educated child but that the LA should not have a legal right to enter the property against the wishes of the parents/carers.
What this memorandum does not mention, is the fact that Graham Badman is a ‘Visiting Professor University of London Institute Of Education‘ I wonder who it was EXACTLY that wrote this memorandum, and why they did not mention the potential conflict of interest?
Unsurprisingly, they are for the annual licensing of parents. How revolting and opaque.
Memorandum submitted by the Family Education Trust (Family & Youth Concern)
- The terms of reference for the home education review reveal that the review rested on a false premise from the outset and failed to understand the duties of local authorities within the current legal framework and the purpose of the Every Child Matters outcomes.
- A prior assumption was made that home educated children are particularly vulnerable and at risk of abuse.
- The consultation document failed to set the review in any legal or historical context, made no reference to the elective home education guidelines issued in 2007 and omitted to identify the specific concerns that had given rise to the review.
- The review questions were marked by a lack of clarity and definition, and betrayed an attitude of suspicion and distrust towards home educating parents.
- The local authority questionnaire further betrayed a lack of an accurate understanding and good working knowledge of the current local authority guidelines on elective home education.
- Very little reference is made in Graham Badman’s report to the evidence gathered in the course of the review and where reference is made to evidence supplied, it is rarely substantiated.
- There is no supporting statistical evidence for the claim that 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’.
- The report omits to give any breakdown of responses either to the six review questions or to the local authority questionnaire.
- The report does not take account of the ‘burden of consultation’ in this area of policy when passing comment on the tone of responses received from some home educators.
- No details are given of the international comparison of home education and there is no indication that the review took account of home education legislation in the United States.
- The report does not supply any evidence to support its recommendations with regard to a compulsory registration scheme or routine monitoring of home education.
Resting on a flawed foundation and lacking a firm evidence base, Graham Badman’s review of home education does not provide a sufficiently robust basis for legislation. The government should therefore suspend its plans to implement the report’s recommendations and ensure the current legal framework and guidance is adequately understood.
All good, all true.
Memorandum submitted by Professor Carole G. Mundell and Dr David L. Shone, Home Educating Parents
- The recent obsession with home education is disproportionate, neglecting a much larger problem of child abuse in children that attend school.
- Claims about child welfare are not consistent with overall attitude to children’s welfare.
- The Badman report misrepresents and distorts evidence.
- Without authority or experience, the review belittles decades of research on the benefits of home education; we counter this, citing the most recent research.
- Concluding remarks:
- The review and new legislation is not necessary – existing laws are adequate and any confusion on the part of local authorities has been caused by the government’s advice.
- The review proposes draconian legislation to violate the sanctity of home educated children and their guardians – legislation that could logically be extended more widely but would be deemed unacceptable.
- The position of DCSF and the review is founded on the unquestioned presumption that “they know best”; we counter that this is diametrically opposite to the truth.
The higher the level of education of the parent, the more likely they are to Home Educate. That is an assertion.
Memorandum submitted by Gill Bowden
3. No-one will EVER interview my child in a closed room without myself or my husband there to ensure they are not bullied, co-erced, lied to or in any other way abused. I will leave the UK before I will see this passed as a law. The police cannot do this, a criminal is not allowed to be interviewed by police without a lawyer present if they request one. There is no right by which children should be interviewed by a stranger without their parents being present to ensure no wrong-doing on behalf of the interviewer, or to protect the child’s emotional security.
6. The implication that parents who choose to home-school their children are more likely (or even as likely) to abuse their children, has no proof whatsoever as admitted by Badman himself, and to imply that this is the case is offensive and slanderous. Home-schooling parents are making this choice as they care about their children’s welfare and have not left them in an environment which does not suit their learning or makes them unhappy. This is often done at the detriment of other aspects of the family life, such as financial, as the child’s welfare is paramount – this is not abuse, this is good parenting. In the high profile cases of child abuse that have inspired this report the children were known to social services, GPs and hospital staff – and most were in a form of daycare, these children were not home-schooled nor ‘out of the system’ (which appears to be the main fear), but this did not save them.
Memorandum submitted by Dr Gavin Jordan
- No evidence for some recommendations
- Failure to fulfil Terms of Reference
- Highly biased attempt at developing an ex-poste evidence base
1.0 As you are aware, there are serious problems with the Badman Report in its failure to address its Terms of Reference. I am a professional evaluator for UK Government departments and Non-Departmental Public Bodies, and can ensure you that in no way did the Badman report develop an evidence base to ‘identify what evidence there is that claims of home education are, or could be, used as a ‘cover’ for child abuse under current monitoring practice’. The report was notable in its complete lack of evidence (see para 8.12 of Badman 2009). Therefore the comments below appear to be unsupported:
1.1 By EdBalls Wed 09-Sep-09 13:40:14
….There have been high profile cases of ‘home educated’ children who have been very badly neglected. Graham makes clear that this is a small minority, though disproportionately larger among home educated children. Every child has a right to have a happy and safe childhood.
1.2 Possibly as a direct result of the above comments, Graham Badman has made an ex-poste request for evidence on which to base his findings! This is, to say the least, unusual. It is also the most impartial request for information I have seen in my entire professional career, and it is made clear that this is no longer an attempt to understand the situation and to collect an evidence base to inform policy, but is an attempt to shore up recommendations that were made without an evidence base.
1.3 I am formally asking for a written response as to A) How a report was accepted by you that had failed to deliver its ToRs: B) The justification for requesting an Ex-poste evidence base to support pre-determined conclusions.
Very well put.
Memorandum submitted by Ruth Gray, Home Educator
I reject the Badman report and its recommendations in their entirety. I am also appalled that Education Otherwise were so prominent in the review process with Mr Badman and had meetings behind closed doors with him which home educators had no knowledge of, in some instances and wre prior to the review being announced. Little feedback as to what was said was provided because of Chatham House rules. This is hardy MI5 material. I would respectfully remind you that Education Otherwise only have 3000 members and do not speak for the majority of home educators in England and never actually ask the members they do have what they want before going ahead with proposals. It is widely known the EO had a vested interest in the review in the form of being asked to be chosen for a panel to inspect home educators in the future. These jobs would be paid ones and the trustees have already made steps to change the way that EO is run to be allowed to have paid roles. They went to considerable lengths to make sure they were not stopped doing this.
Lastly I would like to say the review was a set up from the beginning with predetermined outcomes. Mr Badman manipulated his figures to make a case for himself which is clear by the FOI home educators have received from LA which have no bearing on the stats he cited in his report to make his case for all the recommendations Mr Balls excepted in full and without question.
Everyone knows that this whole process and anyone supporting it is corrupt or contaminated in some way.
Memorandum submitted by Dr Ben Anderson
Summary of main points:
- Whilst the individuals constituting the Expert Reference Group are eminent in their fields the lack of representation from the Home Education community or from active academic researchers implies both a disregard for the full research evidence base and for the expertise of the parents/carers who deliver home education.
- The proposal to implement a compulsory registration scheme is, whilst understandable, fraught with sensitivities. The advantages of such a system for parents/carers need to be clearly articulated and positively incentivised if it is to be successful.
- When combined with existing legal frameworks and guidelines the registration scheme will provide all that is necessary to enable local authorities to ascertain the suitability of the education received. There is no logical requirement for a right of access to the home or child in this context.
- Despite the efforts of the review there is still no convincing evidence that home educated children are systematically at greater risk with respect to safeguarding issues. If anything data gathered through FoI requests suggests the opposite. The recommendation to legislate for a right of access to the home or child in the context of safeguarding is therefore disproportionate to the quality of the evidence at hand.
- If pressure to implement ‘something’ is excessive then an alternative approach through, for example, annual health checks could be considered. If this approach is taken then clearly all children should be subjected to the same regime, not just those who are electively home educated.
1. I am a home educator and academic in the East of England whose specific research interests include the use of technology in everyday life but whose wider competences include quantitative research methods.
Anyone who understands the value of education is a Home Educator if they can manage to do it.
Memorandum submitted by Karen Rodgers
- What evidence is there that there was a need for further regulation ofhome-educating families?
- What is the statistical basis of Badman’s slanderous assertion that home-educated children are at greater risk than schooled children?
- Why are such skewed and unreliable statistics being used as a basisfor the report? (W. Wallace BSc MSc MPhil FSS AFIMA http://ahed pbworks .com/LiesDamnedLjesStatjstics#StatistjcianComme
- How will this extra proposed regulation be funded?
- Why were only 90 local authorities asked about home-educatedchildren known to social care, and why did only 25 reply?
- Why is such a small self-selecting sample being taken as
- Why have the full figures still not been released for public scrutiny?
- Why has Lord Adonis not been listened to when he asserted in hisreport that” the party with the keenest personal interest in securing the best available education for a child ordinarily is, or ought to be, theparent of the child”?
- Can forced entry to people’s homes and forced removal of theirchildren for interview without the presence or even permission of aparent, ever be justified in a country that likes to think of itself as ademocracy?
- It is proposed that local authority officers be required to visit andinterview home-educated children who do not wish to see them ; will this not directly contravene the requirement placed on them by section 53 of the Children Act 2004, to, where reasonably practicable, take intoaccount the child’s wishes and feelings with regard to the provision ofservices?
And thats it.
I have cherry picked from skimming through each submission, the parts that contained items that leapt off the page. There were some that just disagreed, and I left out all the nauseating garbage from the child eaters.
It is abundantly clear that there are many reasonable people who have been pushed right to the edge. It will only take the slightest breeze to send them over that edge.
The only way this can be avoided is if the entire report is rejected, and no legislation is tabled.
If this does not happen, for certain, a large number of new criminals will be created overnight, and for many people and their children, the idea of representative democracy will be smashed to pieces forever.