Memorandum submitted by Elizabeth Scully and Michael Fell

1. Summary

The review was not an independent review

The review was conducted based on allegations of 'possible' abuse and found no such proof

The public questionnaires were inappropriate and uneven in the quality of their questions, depending on the respondents

The review chose only selective response to accept, and even misrepresented some groups

Parents are the sole responsible parties for the welfare and education of their children, as protected by law

2. Lack of an Independent Review

2.1. The DCSF stated that an 'Independent Review' was to be carried out. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/ete/independentreviewofhomeeducation/irhomeeducation/

2.2. Mr. Badman was Chairman of Becta, the governments own agency to incorporate ICT into schools and homes, while he conducted this review. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2009_0092

2.3. As Becta works in direct contact with Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and schools, this could lead towards a bias in favour of LEAs. http://www.becta.org.uk/

2.4. Mr. Badmans previous jobs also show a bias in favour of schools and LEAs. "He has had over 35 years of experience in education and children's services as a teacher, head teacher, inspector and chief education officer"

3. Unsubstantiated Cases of Abuse

3.1Mr. Badmans remit from Mr. Balls, Director of Childrens, Schools and Families:

3.1.1 In particular, you asked me to look at whether there are any barriers to local authorities and other public agencies in effectively carrying out their safeguarding responsibilities in relation to home educated children. You also asked me to investigate suggestions that home education could be used as a 'cover' for child abuse in home educating families." (Cover letter of Badman report)

 

3.2 NSPCC retracted their statement that home education was being used as a cover for abuse on June 4, 2009, a week before the report was handed in. http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090604/nspcc-sorry-for-home-school-child-abuse-slur/

 

3.3 No such cases of alleged abuse were found, and any possible outcomes would be lower in all reported cases compared to schooled children.

 

3.4 If, by the very act of being in school can save anyone from being abused-then why does the NSPCC report that in 2008 there were 16,350 cases of abuse of children reported, all in school? http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/factsandfigures/statistics/england_wdf49858.pdf

 

3.5 Being in school does not save anyone from abuse. If children are not safe at home Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm, what would make any of them safe after 3pm? Is the government going to inspect all homes, or do you just want to take all the children into your own care?

 

4. LEAs Questionnaires were biased and presumed powers

4.1. The questionnaire to the LEAs consisted of 26 questions.

4.2. LEAs were asked questions about duties that do not exist. They have no duty in law to monitor home educated families, it is only a duty IF a case of educational (not welfare) neglect is detected.

4.3. The questions also implied that a system of support for home educating families was in place, when there is no such support. Nor any needed.

5. Public's Questionnaire was demeaning

5.1. As the primary stakeholders in this review, the home educators were only given 6 questions to answer.

5.2. The first question only asked the respondent what their capacity was for filling out the form. Not a high calibre question.

5.3. Questions 3 & 4 were based on 'opinions' of the Every Child Matters programme

5.4. This is wholly inappropriate-the government IS NOT IN CHARGE of ensuring the health, safety, happiness and futures of the nations children. That is the PARENTS responsibility, by legal law and moral law.

5.5. Question 2 asks if the government's safe guarding measures for home educated children is adequate. As it is the same system for ALL the children in the country-this is an invalid question.

5.6. Question 5 asks if there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families. As there is no system, nor one needed, it is a wasted opportunity to ask valid question.

 

6. Misrepresentation of Respondents Answers

6.1. Mr. Badman omitted this section of the Church of England's response: (1) Parents are in the vast majority of cases the best people to decide what is appropriate and best for their children, (2) We have seen no evidence to show that the majority of home educated children do not achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes, and are therefore not convinced of the need to change the current system of monitoring the standard of home education. (extract of letter from C of E)
http://www.natsoc.org.uk/

6.2. In all, there were 2,000 respondents, mostly home educating families. In total, there were 12,000 answers to the questions, only 2 made it into the report.

 

7. The law, as it stands, is all that is needed

7.1. Current UK and European law states that all children have a right to an education, and that their PARENTS are the sole individuals responsible for that education. No where does it, or should it, say that the government has to decide what that education shall be.

 

September 2009