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Freedom for Children to Grow

Graham Badman's Report

DCSF: Home Education - Registration & Monitoring Proposals Consultation

Sample Letter to MP

What is the Government trying to do to home education in England?

An urgent message from Education Otherwise July 2009

Email: Government Policy Group

Since the next EO newsletter will not be published until August 1st we wanted to give members the latest news about the Badman Report on Home Education.



More information here: http://freedom.edyourself.org/lobbying.htm or http://tinyurl.com/lg69gq

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On June 11th the Government published Graham Badman's Report on Home Education which followed a 4 month Independent Review commissioned by the Government. In his Report Graham Badman has recommended a compulsory registration scheme for all home educated children. Failure to register will be a criminal offence.

Graham Badman has further recommended that at the time of registration, parents will be required to submit a statement of their intended approach to the child’s education including what they aim to achieve over the following 12 months. The plan should be finalised within eight weeks of first registration.

Local authority officials will have right of access to the home several times during the first year of home education and at least once a year thereafter. Officials will check that the child is making progress against their learning statement.

Officials will also have the right to speak to the child alone or without the parent to ensure the child is safe and well and also to check that the child is making progress against their learning statement.

Proposals to Change the Law

Following the Badman Report which was published since the last EO newsletter the Government is currently proposing to legislate for the following, probably by means of a new Safeguarding Bill to be introduced in the Queens Speech some time around November:

  • Every home educated child of compulsory school age must be registered with the local authority in which the child is resident;
  • Regulations will specify the information that parents must provide which is likely to be child's name, date of birth, address, the same information for adults with parental responsibility; a statement of approach to education, and the location where education is conducted if not the home;
  • Scope to extend the scheme to 18 in future;
  • Regulations will specify how registration should take place;
  • Any changes to registration details should be notified immediately;
  • Registration must be renewed annually;
  • It will be a criminal offence to fail to register or to provide inadequate or false information;
  • Pupils should stay on the school roll for 20 days after a notification to home educate;
  • The school must provide the local authority with a record of achievement to date and predicted future attainment;
  • DCSF will take powers to issue statutory guidance relating to registration and monitoring.

The above points have been taken from the current DCSF consultation on registration and monitoring proposals for home education. We give a link to the consultation documents later in this email.

The current legal position

The law has NOT yet changed as a result of the Badman Report. The primary legislation remains section 7 of the 1996 Education Act and the guidelines remain as issued by the Government in November 2007. Your local authority should NOT be jumping the gun and regarding any aspects of the Badman Report as giving them new powers or responsibilities. The Education Otherwise website page on the law describes the current position in July 2009 - http://www.education-otherwise.org/legal.htm.

Access to the child and the family home

Under the new proposals, home educated children may be inspected individually and required to exhibit what they have learned. The Badman Review proposes to give powers for local authority officers to enter the family home, which is called "the premises."

Graham Badman has further recommended that "parents be required to allow the child through exhibition or other means to demonstrate both attainment and progress in accord with the statement of intent lodged at the time of registration."

The Badman Review also appears to be recommending that local authority officers should wherever possible speak to the child without a parent present.

"The DCSF should bring forward proposals to change the current regulatory and statutory basis to ensure that in monitoring the efficiency and suitability of elective home education:

That designated local authority officers should:

  • have the right of access to the home;
  • have the right to speak with each child alone if deemed appropriate or, if a child is particularly vulnerable or has particular communication needs, in the company of a trusted person who is not the home educator or the parent/carer.
In so doing, officers will be able to satisfy themselves that the child is safe and well."

Children & Young People’s Survey: What do they think about the Badman Report?

Ann Newstead set up a survey for children to say how they feel about the recommendations in the Badman Report - http://www.ukhome-educators.co.uk/Survey/childsurvey0609.htm or http://tinyurl.com/eochildstats.

456 children (78%) had an issue with the idea of mandatory home visits to assess the suitability of education being provided. The reasons given varied. A lot of children expressed concerns that the person visiting would have the power to send them back to school:

"No, I do not want to speak to anyone who I do not know and who might make me go back to school. My parents and me know what we need to do and don’t need someone else to tell us"

"I would feel uncomfortable having someone inspect my work. I would also worry that they might try to force me back to school."

The survey initially ran until 30th June but proved so popular that we have decided to extend it online and make a paper version available via the newsletter. We are also sharing it with the subscribers to the Home Education Advisory Service newsletter.

Please consider asking your children to fill in the survey here:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=AWdsqrThi2rbzWKu_2bmyKOA_3d_3d or http://tinyurl.com/eochildsurvey.

Education Otherwise has a campaign site where we have uploaded a web page dedicated to the Badman Report:

http://freedom.edyourself.org/heconsult.htm or http://tinyurl.com/lzzxmf

The campaign site page includes:

  • A link to the full Badman Report;
  • A summary of the recommendations;
  • Link to Written Answer from the Children's Minister who says that there is no need for extra funding to local authorities for all these proposals;
  • Link to petition against the Badman Report;
  • Link to Early Day Motion from MP Mark Field which your MP can sign;
  • Link to Mark Field MP parliamentary debate on home education June 2009;
  • Link to draft legislative programme for 2009-2010 which mentions new Bill to improve monitoring of home education;
  • Link to model letter to write to your MP;
  • Link to website page listing all the MPs who have been visited or contacted by home educators;
  • Frequently asked questions about the Badman Report;
  • Information about what home educators are doing;
  • Information about where you can get a paper copy of the consultation response form;

Information about what EO is doing

Education Otherwise Government Policy Group and EO Disability Group are working with barrister Ian Dowty to analyse the Badman Review with a view to publishing a detailed critique in the Education Otherwise newsletter.

A day's training about the current law and the potential impact of the Badman Report will be offered to volunteers on the EO helpline and information will also be sent to EO local contacts and other volunteers.

Education Otherwise has met with Iain Campbell from the DCSF to establish the timescale for these proposals and to convey the outcry the Badman proposals have caused in the home education community.

A representative from Education Otherwise Government Policy Group has obtained a bursary from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) to attend the Labour Party Conference in Brighton at the end of September.

Education Otherwise has commissioned a series of short film clips about home education and the issues raised by the Badman Review. These films will raise awareness of the positive outcomes for home educated children and young people. We also hope to film a number of interviews with people who will answer questions on the main themes of the Badman Report.

Education Otherwise will be running workshops at HESFES on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th July.

Representatives from Education Otherwise are meeting with local authorities to canvass their views and to put in context the hostile reaction of the home education community to the Badman Review.

Education Otherwise continues to work to identify models of good practice in local authorities.

Donate to Education Otherwise here - http://www.education-otherwise.org/donate.htm or http://tinyurl.com/eodonate

What is the timescale for all this?

Secretary of State Ed Balls wrote to Graham Badman June 2009 setting out the DCSF position:

"I accept all the recommendations in your report that call for urgent action to improve safeguards for home educated children and we will introduce these as soon as possible, subject to identifying funding and workable delivery arrangements. We will consider how best to respond to your other recommendations as we will need to work through their implementation and resource implications."

Link to the full letter here: http://freedom.edyourself.org/Edballstograhambadman110609.doc.

DCSF will publish a fuller response to the Badman Report recommendations in September.

DCSF Consultation ends in October 2009

The DCSF is currently running a consultation on the registration and monitoring of home education, including proposals for compulsory registration and access to the child and the home. The consultation does not end until October, so there is no hurry to complete it. However we are highlighting it now primarily so that members can see at a glance what the Government would like to introduce. http://tinyurl.com/l82.dxm or http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1643&external=no&menu=1.

Queens Speech November 2009

If the Government wants to make an Act of Parliament to enable compulsory registration and access to the home and the child then it will be announced in the Queen's Speech which we would expect some time around November. Such a bill would already be drafted by the time of the Queen's Speech. It would be debated in the House of Commons and the House of Lords before passing into law. Home educators are already busy visiting their MPs to raise awareness of the Badman Report, since parliament goes into recess before the end of July.

Publication of DCSF response to the consultation on registration and monitoring January 2010

The next General Election will be around June 2010 if not sooner. We are unclear at present whether this means the legislative programme will be cut back or whether new bills will be rushed through parliament without due scrutiny.

If you only do ONE THING as a result of reading this email then PLEASE get in touch with your MP as soon as possible. More information here: http://freedom.edyourself.org/lobbying.htm or http://tinyurl.com/lg69gq.

Email: Government Policy Group

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Action Points: things you can do to make a difference:

Food for Thought:
Home Education for Teenagers

The DCSF thinks school is the best place for children.
Here at Education Otherwise Campaign Website,
we beg to differ

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