Graham Badman's Independent Review of Home Education 2009
Read the full report here
"EO reject the disproportionate & unreasonable recommendations set out in the Review Report
for compulsory registration & invasive monitoring" 12:57 AM Jun 12th from TwitterFox
Education Otherwise submission to the consultation on registration and monitoring may be found here.
In total there were 5342+ responses to the consultation.
* STOP PRESS NO FUNDING FOR RECOMMENDATIONS? **
Baroness Morgan says "the proposals are still at an early stage of development. We do not expect them to place any significant additional burdens on local authorities as most already monitor home education". Read more from the House of Lords here.
Secretary of State Ed Balls letter to Graham Badman:
"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.
Local authorities currently receive no funding for home educated children
We will consider how best to respond to your other recommendations as we will need to work through their implementation and resource implications."
"Home tuition would be a decision by a parent and no GUF would be paid in respect of such children. No other funding would be payable either by the department to the local authority."
Read more from the House of Lords March 2009 here.
Read more about the Guaranteed Unit of Funding for children in school here.
The Badman Report proposes disproportionate intervention for a problem which has not even been proved to exist
It is being proposed that failure to register as a home educator should be a criminal offence and it is further proposed that home educators should have to apply for registration on an annual basis, with part of the registration process being an interview alone with the child in the family home. These recommendations will require new laws.
Graham Badman and the DCSF are confusing education, welfare and child protection
These three areas require specialist knowledge and experience. If the recommendations went through, this would have a devastating impact on families as unqualified staff struggled to implement contradictory recommendations. Child protection is a highly specialised field and interrogative interview techniques where the child is seen alone would be unacceptably invasive and counter productive outside this narrow area.
Graham Badman proposes to give individual local authority officers (usually qualified teachers) right of access to the home and the right/obligation to speak to each home educated child alone without a parent present.
"In so doing, officers will be able to satisfy themselves that the child is safe and well."
The present powers and duties are entirely sufficient and are as follows:
The parent has a duty to cause the child to receive education via section 7 of the Education Act 1996. This can be done through school or outside the school system.
Since February 2007 the local authority has a duty via s.436A of the Education Act 1996 to make arrangements to identify children missing education. As the Government's 2009 statutory guidance states:
"ContactPoint, to be implemented across England by mid 2009, will help local authorities discharge the duty by recording the place where a child is being educated, where that is known. Where it is known that a child is being educated at home, that would also be recorded."
The authority has further duties via the Children Act 1989 sections 17 and 47 in relation to establishing whether a child is in need of services and a duty to step in if the child is at risk of significant harm.
Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 obliges the local authority to co-operate with statutory partners to improve wellbeing of children in the area.
Section 437 of the Education Act 1996 requires the local authority to seek information from parents if it appears that a child is not receiving education. Ultimately if the local authority is not satisfied, it has a duty to serve a School Attendance Order.
See our useful links page for links to laws and guidance.
Background to the Badman Report
The Badman Report was published on June 11th 2009 together with a public consultation which will run till October 19th 2009.
On January 19th 2009 Graham Badman was tasked with reporting to Ministers and the Secretary of State by May. Online questionnaires were hastily sent to local authorities asking whether personnel had "concerns" about home educating families. The deadline for completion was February 6th which gave Children's Services 14 working days to turn round the questionnaire.
The returns on the 14 day questionnaire formed the evidence base for the review. The questionnaire was also a way for Graham Badman and his assistant to identify local authorities who would be available for a meeting in March.
A second questionnaire - with a slightly longer completion time of 24 working days - was also made available to the general public.
Graham Badman and his assistant were able to allocate several days during the course of the Review to meet with home educators, local authority personnel and other interested parties. The final report was submitted to the Secretary of State at the end of May.
New laws would transfer responsibility to local government and criminalise parents
Several proposals in the Badman Review will require a fundamental change to the law concerning parental responsibility for a child's education. The Badman Review recommends that this responsibility be transferred to local government. The law will also need to be changed to give local authority officials entry to a private home on demand. There will have to be additional changes to primary legislation and related statutory guidance in order to permit children to be questioned without a parent being present. It is further proposed that failure to register a child as home educated or failing to supply adequate information will be a criminal offence.
Mixed Messages from Government
The Government is sending out mixed messages about the Review recommendations. In principle it has accepted all the recommendations and has also announced its intention to add an enabling clause to the Safeguarding Bill which is expected to be announced in the Queens Speech in November.
However the Secretary of State has also published a substantial reservation by saying that the implementation of the Badman recommendations will be "subject to identifying funding and workable delivery arrangements".
The Government is currently running an online consultation asking interested parties for views on the rightness/desirability/feasibility of the proposals concerning registration and monitoring.
The outcome of this consultation will not be announced until the New Year.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ also available as pdf here for you to take to your MP
What is the Select Committee asking about the Badman Review?
The Committee invites written submissions on:
Read more here.
The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines below by noon on Tuesday 22 September 2009.
- the conduct of the review and related consultations (e.g. the constitution of the review team; the scope of the terms of reference for the review; and the nature of the consultation documents).
- the recommendations made by the review on elective home education.
The terms of reference for the Badman Review can be found here.
"There are a number of questions around the rushed nature of the review and the sweeping recommendations, which are disproportionate to any evidence for change put forward by Mr Badman."
Education Otherwise Press Release July 2009 welcoming the announcement of the Select Committee investigation
What does the Badman Review say about interviewing children alone?
Under the new proposals, home educated children may be inspected individually and required to exhibit what they have learned. The Badman Review also proposes to give powers for local authority officers to enter the family home, which is called "the premises." The Badman Review also appears to be recommending that local authority officers should wherever possible speak to the child without a parent present.
That designated local authority officers should:
Commenting on this proposals, the civil rights organisation Liberty has said "Any power of access to the home must be tightly regulated and a full explanation as to the power's necessity should be given."
- 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.
Will home educators get more support because of the Badman Review?
Home educators were quick to spot that there was no extra funding announced for "support" and no mention of targets or criteria against which a Children's Trust could be inspected and deemed to have failed in providing support to home educating families. As one parent has said "they want all the oppressive intrusive inspection recommendations to be legally enforceable but all the warm fuzzy support recommendations are just going to be voluntary."
See Baroness Morgan's answer in the House of Lords June 29th here:
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin):
Why is compulsory registration such an issue? Surely the government needs to know the whereabouts of all children so it can keep them safe?
An impact assessment is not required for the consultation at this stage as the proposals are still at an early stage of development. We do not expect them to place any significant additional burdens on local authorities as most already monitor home education, and our proposals will provide additional powers that will assist local authorities in dealing more efficiently with the small number of cases where home education does not come up to scratch. If we decide to proceed with legislation we will publish an impact assessment and will place a copy in the Library of the House.
The law already stipulates that schools must notify the local authority when a child is removed from the school in order to be home educated. The national database, ContactPoint, also has a field on the form for details of the educational setting, which includes home education. Many home educators have pointed out that when the state knows where children are, and when professionals become involved with a family, this does not suffice to keep children safe.
The particular form of registration proposed by the Badman Review is not simply a method of notifying the authority, it is more akin to applying for a licence to be a home educator for the year. Since education is the parents' responsibility in law, perhaps we should logically apply to be parents of our own children for the year, as though we were going through the process of adoption?
What's the problem with home educators being required to have a plan?
The Badman Report has said that the child's education will be assessed annually and measured against the parent's plan. The Report has also said that parents need to come up with a plan within a very short time of beginning home education, implying that if this is not forthcoming or not judged adequate, that the home education would not be registered.
"At the time of registration parents/carers/guardians must provide a clear statement of their educational approach, intent and desired/planned outcomes for the child over the following twelve months."
At the same time the Badman Report says that the school must pass on the child's school record which will include an estimate of future achievements and measurement of the child against developmental milestones. The parent's plan may conflict with the school's judgements. The family may also wish to change direction if a particular approach or field of study is not productive and it is feared that this would result in the home education being judged as defective by the yardstick of the plan. In addition the Badman Review recommends that a suitable and efficient education should be redefined in light of the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum. If this recommendation were implemented then home educators' freedom would be greatly restricted since their planned outcomes would in fact be prescribed by the state.
Why is it a problem for a child's name to be kept on the school roll for 20 days?
The Badman Review proposes that children should be kept on a school roll for 20 days after their parents have written to the school asking for the name to be removed from the roll. This will be controversial in schools as it is detrimental to the school's persistent absence targets which form part of their Ofsted report. It is likely that the family could come under pressure to make the child continue to attend school while the family is being investigated before the child is allowed to cease being a pupil at the school. This would be a fundamental change to the law in England.
Will the Badman Review Recommendations help children with Special Educational Needs?
Graham Badman has heard from a number of home educating families where the child has special needs. He has also taken evidence from several autism support charities. The Badman Review recommends:
That the Ofsted review of SEN provision give due consideration to home educated children with special educational needs and make specific reference to the support of those children.
Yet it is children with special needs who may be among those most threatened and distressed by the temporary conditional nature of the proposed registration regime, couple with the requirement to exhibit and perform, entry to the family home and other measures proposed in the Review.
What can home educators do?
Visit your MP and share your personal story. Explain the impact of the Badman Review recommendations on your family.
Over a third of MPS have already been contacted by home educators. See here for a list.
Some home educators talk to Mps from their perspective as individual parents while others have organised several families for a visit to the MP's surgery. Lord Lucas explains in this short video why it is so important for home educators to talk to MPs.
Read this page for more information on how to get in touch with your MP and ask them to consider signing the EDM here.
Take part in events to raise awareness of home education and the Badman Review
Ann Newstead, Education Otherwise Media Spokesperson, is currently running two surveys related to the Badman Review. The first asks children how they feel about the recommendations of the Badman Review. The second survey is seeking information on how many adults see home educated children in the course of a typical week. Please contact Ann if your family would like to take part in the survey.
A home educator has produced postcards and another has designed t-shirts using the idea of "we're not hidden, we're home educating" to help publicise home education and the issues at hand.
Read about the August Bubble Event in Brighton here.
These events are not organised by Education Otherwise but we will be able to give more information if you contact us here.
- Not Back to School Picnics in many areas on September 16th
- Home Education Fair in London on September 19th
- Home educating families from all over the country will be visiting their Mps at Westminster on October 13th
Respond to the DCSF consultation on proposals for registration and monitoring
If you know someone who requires a paper copy of the consultation response form, the number to ring is 0870 000 2288 which is the main switchboard at DCSF. DCSF recommends that you ask for "a paper copy of the consultation response form to the Elective Home Education Monitoring and Registration" and you will be put through to the Consultation Unit.
What is Education Otherwise doing about this?
- Education Otherwise has sent email updates to thousands of members as well as publishing features on different aspects of the Badman Review in the Education Otherwise newsletter.
- EO is in regular contact with barrister Ian Dowty and with Lord Lucas.
- Read the notes from the meeting between DCSF and Education Otherwise shortly after the Badman Review was published here
- A representative from Education Otherwise Government Policy Group has obtained a bursary from the National Council for Voluntary Organistions to attend the Labour Party Conference in Brighton at the end of September.
- Watch a series of short film clips about home education and the issues raised by the Badman Review on the Education Otherwise YouTube Channel
- EO continues to work to identify models of good practice in local authorities.
- EO has met with Ofsted.