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. [1]


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. [2]


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. [3]


If you look at the membership of the review team it comes as no surprise that the report has received the backlash it has. The review team contains no 'experts' on home education and no representation from relevant home education organisations. [4]


The handling of the Badman review's media release was highly questionable. The findings were leaked to the press in advance of the review's publication, without the knowledge of crucial stakeholders. Within a few days the initial selective newspaper reports, no doubt based on poor DCSF press releases, had been corrected somewhat. [5]


The questions asked in the review and subsequent consultations contain assumptions that child abuse goes on within home educated families; that child abuse is related to home education; that you are guilty until proven innocent; and that a register is the pre-requsite to solve the protection of home educated children - all of which are not based on any evidence. [6]


The proposals for mandatory registration of all home educated children, with local authorities representatives having the right to enter homes without consent and speak to children without parents being present are a gross breach of civil liberties and wholly disproportionate. [7]


My final comment relates to the literature review which disregarded much of the excellent UK research of messrs. Meighan, Thomas, Lowe and Rothermel and ignored much of the US-based work. I also suspect you will receive a barrage of first-hand evidence from home educators on how imprecise their analyses were on the numbers of home educated children classed 'at risk'. [8]


August 2009