Memorandum submitted by Sarah Goggin

 

 

Executive Summary of Main Points

 

Brief Introduction to Submitter

 

Factual Information to Offer

 

Conduct of the Report

 

Hasty Review with sweeping statements

Lack of Evidence

Lack of Assessment

Badman's Request for finding more Evidence after Writing the Review

 

Impact of the Review

 

Creating a Slur on Home Education

Personal Evidence

Fundamental Change to the Law

Imposing Restrictions on Home Educating Families

 

Recommendations for Action

 

 

 

Brief introduction to Submitter

 

My background is in nursing, having trained at St Thomas' Hospital, London

I have three children, age 16,13 and 8 years old.

 

I have home educated all my children at some point. My youngest has always been educated outside the school system.

I have lived in London and home educated there, as well as at my current address.

 

Factual Information to Offer

 

 

Conduct of the Report

 

Hasty review with sweeping recommendations

 

Badman has proposed disproportionate intervention for a problem, which has not been proved to exist.

January 19th Badman gave Local authorities 14 working days to say whether they had concerns. These are the basis for the review. A general public questionnaire of 24 days followed with it finished on June 11th.

Ed Balls decided to put the recommendations into effect straight away even though the consultation period is until October and added a clause to the Safeguarding Bill already, even though its not been decided yet.

 

Social services already have powers to get involved with a family they have concerns about.

 

 

Lack of Evidence

 

Only 25 of about 152 Local Authorities submitted evidence.

There was no one really consulted who was an experienced home educator. Reputable Studies, like Dr Alan Thomas, the UK's leading home education researcher, have shown consistently that informal styles for learning at home are highly effective. None of these seem referred to.

Mark Field, MP led an excellent debate in Westminster Hall, earlier in the summer, on preserving the freedoms of home educating families.

 

 

Lack of Assessment e.g. Risk, Cost and Accessibility.

 

Has there been a risk assessment done on recommendation 7, seeing children alone? This is a human rights issue as there are tight regulations on this and it wouldn't happen with the police or in a court even I believe.

 

Many children have special needs. Has an assessment been done on the effect on special needs children?

 

Has the cost been truly assessed for the burden on an already overburdened education and social service budget?

 

Baroness Morgan didn't think an impact assessment was necessary when asked on June 29th by Lord Lucas.

At the moment local authorities receive no funding for home educated children.

An analysis of the costs undertaken for HEAS (Home Education Advisory Service) by Michael Crawshaw, formerly a Head of Research for Citigroup, has revealed that the worst case scenario could involve a hefty bill for over 5OO million from the state education budget!

 

 

Badman's request for finding more evidence after writing the Review.

 

Recently given extra time by the DCSF to find more evidence. DCSF admits that the evidence on which the 28 recommendations were a small sample and needed to show more statistically rigorous information to the inquiry.

 

Impact/Implications of Review

 

 

Creating a slur on Home Education by Accusations of Higher Risk of Abuse,

when there is no evidence to suggest this.

 

 

I felt to give evidence of the fact that my son, a home educated child of 8, is highly visible in the community probably more so, than a child in school.

 

In his normal week he is seen by

 

Neighbours,

The village post office,

Gym Club, where he does development gym with the squad, twice a week.

Football Club, under 10's,twice a week.

Violin Tutor once a week

Swimming lessons, once a week

The dentist

GP

Other home educating families.

 

We are known in our village, among our friends and families as home educators and are asked questions about it.

Many don't realise it is a viable alternative to school.

 

Plus, as with many home-educated children, he is seen by education officers at museums on the various excursions that are made.

All comment on the good behaviour, good interaction with adults and one another, good concentration and intelligent questions of the children and their LOVE OF LEARNING.

My experience of my children in school is this love of learning is soon jaded and they become demotivated with all the performance pressure put on them, long before the important GCSE exams.

 

 

Fundamental Change to the Law, transferring responsibility for Childs Education to Local Government, above the Parent.

 

This clause will have the greatest impact on not just home educating families but on all families as it undermines the role of the parent to decide on their child's education. The parent chooses to use the service of state education, private education or home education depending on the need of their child, who they know and love. This is the normal case for the majority of families and being in a family is a safe place to be.

 

It seems that state schooling statistics show many children leaving with low academic achievement esp. in maths and English.

That the UK is very low on the list of good European countries to be in to raise children .24th I understand

That in maths we rate about 17th.

The social services can't protect some of the children in their care, as it is.

 

Imposing Restrictions on Home Educating Families

 

This would mean with an imposed curriculum and having to register once a year with permission of local authority, more a license to educate at home.

 

This would be entirely unsatisfactory when many home educators already follow different curriculum and are established in their routines.

Having my child interviewed by an official that may not have my child's best interest at heart or have experience of home education is appalling, especially if they have the power to stop you .It seems far too subjective or reactionary on a whim of the particular official. What are the procedures for improvements or appeal?

The whole imposition would be highly stressful and unnecessary as there are already guidelines in place from a review in November 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommendations for Action by the Government which submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.

 

Need to acknowledge tremendous work of home education.

 

To get the facts straight about home education.

 

To continue to let parents be primarily responsible for their child's education.

 

To not impose such strict regulations.

 

September 2009