Memorandum submitted by Ian and Felicity Coules



We are home educating parents of three children aged 5, 8 and 10.


We want to comment on two issues, namely some thoughts on the Badman Review and then to give a small flavour of how we home educate.


Thoughts on the Badman Report


The following points need to be dealt with:-   


-    Have the costings envisioned been carried out? We think not. When will this be done? Will the Report be 'adjourned' until this has been done?


-    Why did the Report not set out the existing (workable and acceptable) present legislative framework)? Where is the evidence that it is unworkable?


-    Will the Report be amended in the light of LEA evidence that the level of abuse in HE families is currently running at 25% of the general population?


-    Why did the Committee have only one member with HE experience?


-    Was it fair to appoint Mr Badman with his LA/LEA background?


-    Who is to decide what is 'appropriate' education if there is a divergence of views between a LEA and parents?


-    Why cannot parents appeal LEA decisions to a Tribunal?


-    Why was no HE positive evidence quoted in the report?


-    Why did Mr Badman tell HE parents in the first (early 2009 stage) that there would be changes, even before all the evidence was assembled?


-    Why did Ed Balls wholeheartedly approve the Report without it being costed or the second consultation being started, let alone completed?


-    Why should the LEA be able to force entry in our homes without any reason to suspect there is a problem?


-    Why should children have to be cross-examined by the LEA without a parent being present?


Some brief thoughts on how and why we home educate


We have done this proactively from the start and not reactively due to issues such as bullying, special needs etc.


We take the view that the law places the onus on parents to educate their children and that it is the State's job to support the parents, whether through school or otherwise. Children belong to parents, not the State.


We can treat each child individually, not as one of thirty, and so adapt their education accordingly.


We do emphasise the '3 R's' and our 8 year old is now reading 'The Lord of the Rings'. Our 10 year old is reading 'Pride and Prejudice'. They want to do this, we are not forcing them. They also engage in creative writing.


They are learning history and soon we will be creating a history timeline.


We have found an excellent maths curriculum and the oldest two are doing well on this.


We find Latin good for training the mind and have so embarked on this.


The oldest two are learning to play the piano and take exams in November.


Our son plays football in a team and both girls like ballet.


We mix freely with many other families and the children have plenty of friends and social opportunities.


They also engage in helping around the house and garden, cooking etc.


We could write endlessly in more detail but please note that in our view we are entirely representative of HE families. We are perfectly normal people in an average town near Bristol.


September 2009