Memorandum submitted by Ruth Gray, Home Educator
I reject the Badman report and its recommendations in their entirety. I am also appalled that Education Otherwise were so prominent in the review process with Mr Badman and had meetings behind closed doors with him which home educators had no knowledge of, in some instances and wre prior to the review being announced. Little feedback as to what was said was provided because of Chatham House rules. This is hardy MI5 material. I would respectfully remind you that Education Otherwise only have 3000 members and do not speak for the majority of home educators in England and never actually ask the members they do have what they want before going ahead with proposals. It is widely known the EO had a vested interest in the review in the form of being asked to be chosen for a panel to inspect home educators in the future. These jobs would be paid ones and the trustees have already made steps to change the way that EO is run to be allowed to have paid roles. They went to considerable lengths to make sure they were not stopped doing this.
Mr Badman's proposal that home educators submit a yearly plan in advance is particularly unworkable, along with everything else he has proposed, this is a really bad idea. Home educators do not teach children in the way that schools do and even schools change their plans if it suits them. It is impossible to say in advance how long a particular area of learning will take or last and what it might lead on to, in advance of it taking place. Even structure home educators find their plans evolve and change as the child takes different paths with the learning presented to him/her.
Seeing a child on his or her own is a total no go. What on earth was Mr Badman thinking of when he proposed this? Even Social Workers think this is a bad idea. Why on earth should children be interrogated alone by LA staff just because they are being home educated? Home education is a legal option. Why would anyone want to do this? It is open to abuse and is assuming the parent is guilty of a crime with no evidence. Children should not be led to believe it is the norm to be interviewed by total strangers alone. It will be a sad day if this country goes down that road.
Monitoring home educators is another bad idea. It is the parents' responsibility in law to provide a suitable education for their child. It is not up to the LA to decide if it is suitable. They do not know the child. The home educator does. It is not up to the LA as it not their responsibility. Mr Badman wants LA's to vet and approve educational content and registration to home educate for that year will only be granted when and if the L.A is happy with it. Schools are not, in the main, doing well. Home educated children are given an education tailored to them. Why is it LA's think they know best when they clearly do not? Is the state to take responsibility for education now and off parents? The implications of that step are far reaching and will impact on school using children too. Imposing their idea of an education will make home education as big a disaster area as the state system. Monitoring detracts from home education and takes up valuable time appeasing officials who have no idea what home education looks like.
Lastly I would like to say the review was a set up from the beginning with predetermined outcomes. Mr Badman manipulated his figures to make a case for himself which is clear by the FOI home educators have received from LA which have no bearing on the stats he cited in his report to make his case for all the recommendations Mr Balls excepted in full and without question.