Memorandum submitted by Diane Varty




· Why is Badman allowed more time to produce more 'evidence'? Didn't he get it right in his report? Why is policy being based on a rubbish report?

· Badman's background and prejudice against home educators

· I will not accept any recommendations made in the Badman review

· No registering

· No monitoring

· Myriad failings of the LAs were not looked at. Why?

· Education inspectors from Las are incompetent to look at home education. They judge by schooling. Home education and schooling are not the same.

· Roland Meighan and Alan Thomas, experts in home education, ignored in the review

· If one person is guilty in a group, all people in that group are not guilty. Ludicrous assumption, against logic and law


· If recommendations go through, home education will end

· If home education ends, children will be forced into schools. Schools are dangerous for some children

· Waste of the public's money

· Dr. Stanley Milgram quotation: obeying orders leads to inhuman behaviour

· Home educators deserve better treatment than the smearing and mud-slinging that has gone on as long as I've home educated (for four years)

· NSPCC and the damage done to the reputations of home educators.html

· No proof nor reason to suspect that home educators are doing anything but educating and keeping their children safe

· Review no statistical base, government no statistical base, why then are home educators persecuted?


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I understand that Mr. Badman has called to the local authorities for extra evidence against home educators. I understand he has been granted an extension to provide this 'evidence'.


He obviously believes the evidence he has already presented is not robust enough to stand scrutiny.


If it is not robust enough to stand scrutiny, why is the DCSF planning to change the lives of thousands of home educated children and their families on the strength of it?


Refuting all the recommendations in the Badman review:


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Mr. Badman is patently prejudiced against home educators. His background is that of a man who has had 'over 40 years of experience in education and children's services as a teacher, headteacher, inspector and chief education officer'. (


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For the record, I do challenge all of Mr. Badman's recommendations on so many points that it would be impossible to write a mere 3,000 words on them. I challenge them by saying that, because the report was so prejudicial and demonstrated such sloppy workmanship (for one example, in the statistics), it cannot be seen as sound or fit for purpose.


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To start, I question why home educators should be registered. Local authorities are not responsible for educating my two children so why should my children be on any list they keep? Homosexual people are not required to sign onto a list. Short people are not required to be on a list. People with guitars are not on any list. Black people are not on local authority lists. When local authorities have lists of people, they tend to want to do something with (or to) the people on the lists. They might decide to restrict the movements and freedoms of people on lists.



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Monitoring is not legal now - this is a basic misunderstanding shared by many local authorities and Mr. Badman who received his CBE for "services to education {meaning schooling} and local authorities" (quote from aforementioned website). Nor is monitoring necessary. I maintain that the local authorities are not expert in home education. They may have duties regarding schools, but not home educators who are not funded by any government subsidies like schools are and who educate solely on their own resources. Local authorities must see that schools are fit for purpose on the behalf of parents who delegate their responsibilities to schools. Home educating parents/guardians/carers do not delegate their responsibilities and therefore do not need monitoring from often ultra vires, prejudiced and discriminatory sources.


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The Badman review was supposed to look into the failings of local authorities, but we see no mention of any of the myriad failings and beyond-their-powers actions perpetrated regularly by local authorities on home educators in his report. In fact, home educators are discriminated against frequently in the course of pursuing their duty of providing an education for their children. If Watchdog were to be called in, the series would run for weeks on that subject alone.


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"Education inspectors are rarely competent to judge home-based education, except in the minority of cases where families adopt school-type formal courses and structures. This was acknowledged over 25 years ago in Harrison v Stevenson 1981 where the judge accepted the submission of the Harrison family that the reports presented by Dr. James Hemming and Dr. Roland Meighan were valid, as against the Local Authority Inspectors reports, because they had a clear understanding of the logistics of autonomous education and the LEA inspectors did not."




From the same source: "The fact is that LEA officers have only been trained in one approach to education - the authoritarian, based on crowd instruction and crowd control and the dictum of 'you will do it our way or else'. It is also known as the day-prison model or the battery-hen model. When they try to evaluate home based education conducted on autonomous educational principles, we have a situation where basketball experts are, in effect, trying to judge a game of tennis. Admittedly, both have nets, balls and a court but these similarities are deceptive and lead to absurd propositions like 'the tennis players did not produce evidence of dribbling skills', and 'the racquets did not produce any scoring of baskets'.


So, Inspectors often report 'little teaching was in evidence'. Autonomous education uses purposive conversation, a method on average, five times as effective as uninvited teaching." (end quotation)


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Roland Meighan's response to the Badman report is worth reading and is backed up solidly by the research by Professor Alan Thomas. Both heavy-weight professionals steeped in knowledge of home education were ignored in the Badman review.




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I am sure members of the committee will understand that the failing of one or two (or any other number) of home educators - if any failed in any way - should not imply that ALL home educators are failing to keep their children safe. That is a ludicrous assumption.



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So, no matter how many NEETS, children known to Social Services (my marvellous home-educating friend was recently reported to Social Services by a mentally-ill neighbour just because my friend home educates), etc. are home educated, that should make no difference to the fact that home education is a valid and effective alternative to the school system. Or has been up until the Badman review.


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This persecution will end, should the recommendations be taken forward and the government succeed in changing law on the strength of them, in making home education illegal.


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In that case, children will be forced to attend school. Schools are dangerous places for some children (schools were certainly dangerous for my children. My eldest was bullied through two schools for four years: she was physically, mentally and emotionally tormented). Schools are not havens of safety, no matter what the discourse propounds. Often schools are not efficient or effective in supplying an education. This is common knowledge, and there are thousands of cases where children have left school without having received an education and such cases are often pointed out by the media. Yet schools are largely left unmolested to continue their practices.


Public expenditure


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This whole review on Home Education (and consultation after consultation after consultation) is a thorough waste of taxpayer's money. It will undoubtedly fail the value for money test spectacularly. Nor do we know exactly how much this review has actually cost us. The DCSF have refused to release the information - to those who are paying for it - because it considers Mr. Badman's health and safety is at risk.


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Dr Stanley Milgram said this: "People appear to have an alarming propensity to 'obey orders' even when the consequences may lead to 'inhuman behaviour.'" quoted in Unlocking Human Rights, eds. Jacqueline Martin & Chris Turner, Hodder Education, London, 2009.


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We, home educators, deserve better than to be faced with a constant deluge of slander that soils and besmirches our reputations and our good names, and the unending prejudice issuing from government sources and discredited* government-funded charities like the NSPCC. More importantly, our children deserve to be educated as they wish whether this is in the autonomous (child-led) style or whatever way suits them best without interference from performance management-obsessed officials who seek to apply their ignorance and their control to home educating young people.




The NSPCC view of minority group - home educators


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*"Vijay Patel, policy adviser for the NSPCC children's charity, also sees the need for a review. "Some people use home education to hide. Look at the Victoria Climbié case. No one asked where she was at school. We have no view about home education, but we do know that to find out about abuse someone has to know about the child."



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"Mr. Patel recently admitted publicly that he has no evidence of a link between child abuse and home education, yet in outrageous comments reported in the Independent he linked home education with the death of Victoria Climbie, despite the fact that the enquiry found the NSPCC partly responsible for her death. The NSPCC then apologised for their part in failing to keep Victoria alive because they were planning a party".




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And from the source above:


"The Victoria Climbie Foundation said yesterday that they are "...genuinely concerned about the link being made between Victoria Climbié and home education, and Victoria as a hidden child. Victoria was neither home-educated nor hidden.

"The reality is that there is no such thing as a 'hidden' child, only children who are allowed to fall through the gaps. The key issue here is how statutory services interact with children that are known within the child protection system." "


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Mr Patel admitted on Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show that the NSPCC had no proof of any home educated child being abused:


"JEREMY VINE: Vijay, have you got any statistical base at all?

VIJAY PATEL: We.. the inf.. We don't have the evidence there statistically, no."





Final point


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The government have no statistical base, the NSPCC (an arm of government) have no statistical base, so exactly why are home educators being submitted to extreme stress and provocative statements in the media? Why, indeed, are home educators subjected to successive and draining efforts to demean and denigrate them?


I will rely on your considerable intellects to determine the answer.


Thank you for reading this submission.



September 2009