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2009 DCSF Review of Home Education - Background

Announcement of the Badman Review

On January 19th 2009 the Department for Children Schools and Families announced an independent review of home education in England to be conducted by Graham Badman. The Review was charged with establishing whether there were adequate safeguards for home educated children and whether home educated children could meet the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters. The Press Notice which heralded the Review said that home education could be a cover for forced marriage and domestic abuse. DCSF also asked Graham Badman to review the support which was offered to home educated children.

Children Missing Education

On the same day DCSF published revised statutory guidance to section 4 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006 on children at risk of not receiving suitable education which substantially revised previous statutory guidance. This was a double blow for home educators, arriving simultaneously with the Review Press Notice which stigmatised home educators as potential abusers. The initial guidance on "children missing education" had put home education on the same footing as school education ie if children were in a known educational setting then they were not "missing education".

The January 2009 revised guidance seemed to suggest that home education might not be “suitable” and therefore a home educated child should be categorised as "missing education" whereas this was never proposed for children who were failing to thrive in other settings such as schools or Pupil Referral Units.

The Review Process

As part of the Badman Review process, lengthy questionnaires were sent to local authorities asking about their “concerns” with regard to home education. There was also a much shorter public questionnaire on the DCSF consultation website. Graham Badman spoke to a range of people from local authorities and organisations as well as visiting several home education groups to meet families directly. In addition, Graham Badman met with a panel of people who gave feedback on the draft recommendations. You can find out more about the panel here. It appears that Professor Conroy was unable to attend meetings in London at short notice.

Food for Thought:
Home Education for Teenagers

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