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"I just wonder where it's all coming from" or
Money for the Badman recommendations

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"Hopefully the resources will be there" Penny Jones DCSF Independent State Schools Partnership to the Select Committee October 2009
"It could end up basically being a bottomless pit [...] I just wonder where it's all coming from."
Lynda Waltho MP, Select Committee October 2009

Graham Badman's Report into Home Education made 28 recommendations for change to the present system. Following the Badman Report, there are two main areas where money could conceivably be required. There could be wages or fees for local authority officers to make house calls to 80,000+ children and there could be payment for goods or services given or offered or otherwise made available to 80,000+ home educated children. At present, local authorities know of around 20,000 home educated children.

The Present System

The present system is described by the Government's 2007 Home Education Guidelines which aimed to clarify the balance between the right of the parent to educate their child at home and the responsibilities of the local authority.

Education Otherwise position as stated in our recent consultation response is that the 2007 Guidelines should be put on a statutory footing.

"You pay your taxes"

In conversations with home educating families, Graham Badman invariably pointed out that home educators paid taxes and were entitled to support. Home educators tended to reply that they did not want support with strings and that they did not believe that the money would ever be available.

Graham Badman said on a number of occasions that the people he spoke to were not representative and that there was in fact widespread demand for support which would lead to his Report being welcomed by the silent majority.

We would recommend that the Government consider the views of over 5,000 individuals groups and organisations who took the time to respond to the recent consultation on the Badman licensing scheme.

Money for staff and money for services

If we take staffing costs first, Education Otherwise estimates that around 4 million is currently spent on staffing costs. Local authorities know of around 20,000 home educated children. The Government estimates that there may be 80,000 home educated children. The Government further estimates that the new system would cost 9.7 million a year after initial start-up costs and has undertaken to fund the difference between existing spending and 9.7 million.

This may or may not mean that an extra 6 million pounds will be given to local authorities to assist in implementing the Badman Report.

If we consider goods or services offered or made available to home educated children, the Government appears to be suggesting that local authorities are already permitted to draw down a small percentage of the Dedicated Schools Grant under "Alternative Provision." The vast majority of authorities do not draw down funding from the DSG possibly because Government Ministers have always proclaimed that home education is a matter of parental choice and that there is no central funding.

Confusion about what has been promised

We are told that the Government will issue guidance in due course to clarify whether money is currently available and whether new money will be available in future. The Secretary of State was not clear on the exact details, telling the Select Committee:

"The announcement that Diana Johnson made to the Committee a week ago was that we would provide extra support not just for children with special educational needs but where exam fees were a barrier. I do not have the exact details of her announcement."

The Association of Directors of Children's Services does not appear confident that new money will be available, saying to the Select Committee that if the figures of home educated children turned out to be much higher than the present number known to local authorities, then the authority would need to vire resources. In short, if statutory duties were placed on local authorities, then money would have to be found from another area of the council budget.

Essex has told the Government that there is a huge potential cost implication, saying that in the county there are only 2 paid staff for 700 families.

How much do local authorities spend on home education?

Education Otherwise has been conducting research into the amount of money local authorities spend on home education. Local authorities know of around 20,000 home educated children but Government estimates have recently put the figure at around 80,000.

It is difficult to generalise because spending is so varied, but early findings from our research suggest that it costs local authorities around 200 per home educated child in terms of staffing costs. Of course, the money does not follow the child, but in terms of staffing costs, if a local authority has 50 home educated children it may spend 10,000 on home education staffing costs; if it has 100 home educated children it may spend 20,000 or 25,000; if it has 400 or 500 home educated children it may spend 100,000.

Since local authorities know of around 20,000 home educated children, this would suggest that around 4 million is currently spent on home education staffing costs.

DCSF to give additional 6 million to fund registration and monitoring?

"We fully accept that LAs need funding for the costs of registering and monitoring home educated children where these exceed the cost of existing arrangements."
DCSF full response to the Badman Report October 2009
"We estimate [] that costs for the first year will be 21 million with additional ongoing annual costs of the current cohort of 9.7 million. These costs cover initial registration, support to prepare education plans, and initial and annual monitoring. They also take into account LA training costs"
DCSF full response to Graham Badman October 2009

In June 2009 Baroness Morgan said that the Government did not expect the Badman recommendations to place any significant additional burdens on local authorities as most already monitor home education.

28 Recommendations from Graham Badman

At the end of May Graham Badman made 28 recommendations about home education which may be found here.

Licensing scheme with 3 visits to the home of each child

The Report proposes a licensing scheme whereby parents would apply annually for permission to register their children as home educated. As part of the application process, parents would be required to submit a statement of approach and set out educational outcomes for the following 12 months. Local authority officers would be expected to visit the family home 3 times in the first year and at least once a year thereafter. The officer would speak to the child alone in order to measure learning progress and to check that the child was safe and well.

It was stated that the licensing scheme could apply to 80,000 or 100,000 children.

The Report also said that local authorities should provide more support to home educating families, e.g. through helping provide access to the national examination system, sports facilities, libraries and music tuition.

Is the local authority able to draw down funding for services?

The Department for Children Schools and Families has recently made the astonishing assertion that local authorities are able to draw down funding for home educated children.

College

"We believe that home educated young people should be able to attend college without paying fees, but believe that LAs can already draw down funding for this through the Dedicated Schools Grant"
DCSF Full Response to the Badman Report October 2009

"LAs are already able to include pupils ["Alternative Provision Return" via the Dedicated Schools Grant] whom they fund to attend college for post 14 qualifications including GCSEs and Diplomas, and we will revisit our schools census guidance to see whether further clarification can be given."
DCSF Full Response to the Badman Report October 2009

Access to exams

"Where home educators choose to prepare young people themselves for GCSEs, LAs will be able to fund examination costs through the provision we intend to make to allow them to draw down one tenth of the DSG[ Dedicated Schools Grant] value for each home educated pupil for whom they incur some education costs."
DCSF Full Response to the Badman Report October 2009

Special Educational Needs

"We believe that home educated pupils receiving significant support from the LA should already be included in the Alternative Provision Return for DSG [ Dedicated Schools Grant] purposes, and we understand that a small number of local authorities are already receiving funding for some home educators through this mechanism. This means that the LA receives the pupil funding for that child through the DSG."
DCSF Full Response to the Badman Report October 2009

"LAs tell us that they are concerned that they retain the responsibility to maintain the statements of children with SEN that are home educated, but that they are unable to draw down funding. However, our policy is that home educated children can be included in the Alternative Provision Return for DSG purposes if the LA is providing significant support towards their education - whether or not they are statemented and we will clarify our guidance to make this clear before the January 2010 school census."
DCSF Full Response to the Badman Report October 2009

Paul Holmes MP to Secretary of State Ed Balls:

"We were told that before January your Department was going to clarify its advice to local authorities about claiming pupil funding to make it clear that that includes money that could be used for home education. People who home educate could apply to the local authorities to access this money. Home educators tell us that almost uniformly across the country local authorities say that there is no such money, but your Department seemed to be saying that there is. Is that new money that will be made available from January or is it money that is already there that local authorities have not made available?"
Ed Balls:
"The announcement that Diana Johnson made to the Committee a week ago was that we would provide extra support not just for children with special educational needs but where exam fees were a barrier. I do not have the exact details of her announcement."

Training

"When we looked at the cost of implementing these recommendations, we did explicitly consider the length of time it would take to train officials, how much it was going to cost to develop training packages and the cost of backfilling when people were off going training. We put a cost in, and that's part of the cost we've given in our full response, so it's in there."
Penny Jones DCSF Oral Evidence to the Select Committee October 2009

In the past Ministers have stated categorically that money was not available

In March 2009 Baroness Morgan stated that home tuition would be a decision by a parent and no GUF [Guaranteed Unit of Funding] would be paid in respect of such children and that no other funding would be payable either by the department or the local authority.

The fact that money has been available in the past will come as a surprise to most people. For example, in 2006 the Schools Minister stated that there is no central funding available to assist home educating parents and in 2004 the Schools Minister stated that the local education authority does not get any funding for children who are educated at home because it does not have to deliver any services for such pupils.

Home educators have always been told that there is no money for home education. Local authorities do not receive money to travel to private homes, to operate any kind of assessment service or to provide support for home education. The money to pay employees or contractors to carry out these tasks has to be taken from elsewhere. In some cases staff from education welfare may be required to add home education to their existing workload.

Cost-neutral proposals/virement

Paul Holmes MP at the Select Committee reminded witnesses that the DCSF believed the Badman proposals would be cost-neutral. A representative from the Association of Directors of Children's Services responded by saying that if the figures of home educated children turned out to be much higher than the present number known to local authorities, then the authority would need to vire resources.

In other words, if the total amount were not increased, then money allocated for one area of spending in the council would be transferred to pay for statutory home education inspection and monitoring services instead.

Ed Balls: "The announcement that Diana Johnson made to the Committee a week ago was that we would provide extra support not just for children with special educational needs but where exam fees were a barrier. I do not have the exact details of her announcement."

"Before January, we will clarify our advice to local authorities on claiming pupil funding to make it clear that they may claim funding for children with special educational needs educated at home in receipt of significant services from a local authority, or those attending college. From 2011, funding will be available for other home-educated children who use local authority services, which might be examination centres, brokering work experience or using the county music service."
Minister Diana Johnson in Oral Evidence to the Select Committee October 12th 2009

Money for policing but not for support

"Hopefully the resources will be there" Penny Jones DCSF Independent State Schools Partnership to the Select Committee October 2009

When home educators object to support with strings, the issue is over the hoops through which families would have to jump to get even a tiny amount of support. Experienced home educators are also painfully aware that local authority services are "one size fits all" and that a universal offer would probably not meet their particular families' needs. A third issue is the degree of control and supervision which local authorities would exercise over the family. A fourth area of concern is whether failure to take up unwanted and inappropriate support would be a black mark against the family.

Education Otherwise does not believe that money will be available for support and the evidence suggests that many local authorities share our doubts. Money has been spent investigating home education and money may be spent policing home education against Ofsted inspection targets or National Indicator targets but the money will not be there for support.

Ed Balls: "I am hoping it will be welcomed by home educators around the country. That is an optimistic hope."

Notes

Badman Report into Home Education June 2009

Badman Report Summary of recommendations June 2009

Oral evidence to the Select Committee on the Badman Report October 2009

Government Guidelines on Home Education

Select Committee Session on public spending with the Secretary of State October 2009

DCSF Full Response to the Badman Report October 2009

Education Otherwise response to the Government consultation on the Badman Licensing Scheme

Education Otherwise article on policy based evidence making October 2009

Education Otherwise Parliamentary Event October 2009


Food for Thought:
Home Education for Teenagers

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