Memorandum submitted by Michael Crawshaw
Re- The conduct of the review
The fact that no impact assessment accompanied the Badman proposals and his belief, and that of Baroness Morgan, that the costs of implementation would be minimal- demonstrate how he has failed to appreciate the way home education works at present and how radically different it would be under his new plans.
§ Implementation of the proposals would result in an estimated minimum £60-150m pa increase in state education spending; arising primarily from a requirement that education authorities monitor up to 30,000 home educated children who are presently not monitored and also step up the light touch monitoring already in place for the 20,000 children who are currently registered with LEAs.
§ A secondary cost impact arises from the inevitable increase in the state education population as the proposals lead to fewer children in home education (costs currently born by parent) and more in state education (costs to be born by state).
§ A worse case scenario (but by no means impossible) would see new costs
of over £500m pa if the proposals destabilise a fragile home education
community and lead to a virtual extinction of the home educating population in
1. Three sources of additional cost
The increase in the state education budget derives from three sources.
§ Monitoring of home educated children. Additional local education officers will be needed to visit, assess and approve the home education of children. A smaller number of additional education welfare officers will be needed to support them. LEAs will need additional spending to monitor and register home educated children, to establish 'consultative forums' and for new reporting on their home educational efforts to Ofsted and to Child Welfare Trusts.
§ Support for home education. The proposals suggest LEAs make provision for home educators to sit exams and use school ICT, sport and other facilities.
§ An increase in the state education population. The proposals will lead to fewer children in home education (costs currently born by parent) and more in state education (costs to be born by state).
2. Three Impact scenarios modelled
§ The first assumes that the Badman proposals have minimal impact. They bring about little or no change in home education behaviour and lead to only a 10% drop in the number of home educated children and a consequent 10% rise in the number of state educated children.
§ The 'central' scenario assumes the Badman proposals have significant impact. Over time they lead to a 40% drop in the home educated population.
§ The 'extinction' scenario assumes the proposals collapse the home education community with a 90% drop in numbers, leaving perhaps just a handful of diehard home educators struggling to go it alone. This scenario is not as outlandish as might first appear. The home educating community is small (one might think of it as an already endangered species). If the population falls further then it becomes more difficult for parents; to share costs of tutoring, educational visits, social events etc; to find sufficient numbers of children to make classes and events viable; to find other home educating parents with whom to exchange lessons and best practice and from whom to gain emotional support. Home education also becomes more difficult and less attractive for the child as the population falls; fewer home educated friends, fewer social and sporting activities, fewer group classes etc. Negative feedback loops come into play that could rapidly drive the number towards extinction.
3. Inevitable increase in state educated population
The biggest impact factor will be the rise in the state-educated population. Three new forces drive a decrease in the home educated population and therefore an increase in the numbers receiving a state education.
§ Fewer children will leave school to be home educated. Presently the
parent decides whether school is the right educational environment for their
child and the parent is allowed by law to take their child out of school simply
by giving written notice. Under Badman's proposals the school will decide
whether the parent is able to home educate their child. The parent will have to
provide 'a clear statement of their educational approach, intent and
desired/planned outcomes for the child over the following twelve months'. The
planned curriculum will have to be 'broad, balanced, relevant and
differentiated'. If the
§ More children will be forced to leave home education and go to school. Presently it is the parent's legal responsibility to provide an education for their child (through school or otherwise). Under Badman's proposals this changes. A local education officer would visit all home educators annually to assess 'attainment and progress' against the previously approved plan. The inspectors will inevitably fail a certain percentage. This is human nature. If you are employed to assess, you have to pass some and fail others. If you don't the conclusion will soon be drawn that either you aren't doing your job properly or you are doing a job that doesn't need doing.
§ Although some home-educating parents are relaxed about the new arrangements, the furious response to the proposals suggest a large number are totally opposed to them. They feel demoralised and disempowered by the transfer of responsibility for education from parent to state. The extra red tape will be burdensome and take precious time away from educating the child. The intrusion of often ill-informed bureaucrats will be upsetting for children and parents. Inevitably a number of parents will be de-motivated or find their confidence undermined, others will simply find the change of emphasis and extra burden are too much to take. Home educators find the job tough enough as it is. For some Badman's proposals will be one obstacle too many to overcome. Of their own volition some will give in and send the child to school.
4. Notes and assumptions.
(1) The number of home educated children is unknown. The Badman report suggested a possible range of 20,000 to 50,000 children.
(2) Estimated number of additional local education officers (LEOs) required to cope with the additional duties involved in new monitoring of those home educated children already visited, and to take on new monitoring of those children who do not at present receive a visit by an LEO (both registered and unregistered). The new monitoring proposals are far more onerous than those in place today. Under the Badman proposals the parent will have to produce 'a clear statement of their educational approach, intent and desired/planned outcomes for the child over the following twelve months'. The LEO will have to read this and provide guidance and opportunity to discuss the approach considering among other things whether the planned curriculum will be 'broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated'. S/he will then have to approve or reject each plan. Assuming approval is granted then twelve months later the LEO will have to visit the child and assess 'attainment and progress' against the plan. Approval or otherwise will then need to be given again for the ensuing twelve months. We estimate that each officer recruited to manage the new home education workload will be able to approve, visit, assess and report on 200 children per year.
(3) The full costs of each additional LEO would include direct costs of salary, pension, insurance etc. plus indirect expenses such as travel, training, IT, secretarial and other administrative support. An estimated cost of £250k per executive is used. For comparison the Reform group estimate the average cost of a typical quango runs at £370k pa per person employed.
(4) Additional Educational Welfare Officers. There will be greater need for EWOs to become involved when called in by the LEO to assess a home educated child that would otherwise not have been assessed. The vast majority (hopefully all) would prove to be false positives but the extra demand on LEOs would require new appointments. We assume a modest ratio of one new EWO to cover 1000 children.
(5) Additional administrative overlays will
be required to meet the following new requirements for LEAs: recording and
renewing annually the registration of all home educated children; additional reporting
to Children's Trust by
(6) We have assumed the home education population is spread evenly throughout the school years and so around 8% will be sitting exam in the final year. We then assume they sit an average of 7 GCSEs (or equivalents such as BTec) at a cost of £100 per exam. The cost of sitting an exam privately is between £120 and £150. The average could be reduced by allowing some HE children to sit in with school exams where the marginal cost may be as low as £30. However Ed Balls has already accepted that there would be 'difficulties' providing exam access and there are timetabling clashes and other logistical issues that suggest many home educated children will still have to sit exams privately with the state picking up the bill. It is not clear whether the state proposes to (or will eventually be pressured to) pick up the costs of enrichment courses such as DofE, Arts awards, sports qualifications, music tuition etc. For now we have assumed the home educating parent will still pay all these.
(7) This proposal has already met with a lukewarm response from the Education Secretary. School gyms and ICT and other equipment are already in full use. As a benchmark the cost for group hire of a sports hall each week works out at around £100 per individual per year. If the school was forced to open it up to home educators it would likely be in after-school hours at a loss of revenue from external hirers of the gym. ICT and other service provision are difficult to quantify but may be attainable through overtime payments and other arrangements. Overall we've assumed a cost of £200 per home educated child pa.
(8) We have not allowed for any home educated children opting for private education as an alternative because this is rarely the route taken at present. Home education is so different to either private or state school education that if the parents are forced to send their child to school they will most likely chose the free option.
(9) Full cost of State Education. In 2008 Daniel Hannan MEP estimated the full cost of a state education at around £9000 per child per year. This figure was derived by dividing the state education budget of £78bn by the number of pupils in state education.
(10) All of those forced back to school or forced to stay against their wishes to be home educated will be at risk of truancy and perhaps other behavioural problems arising from the stress of being forced to school against their and their parents' wishes. We assume just 20% of these require direct EWO involvement and that each officer can handle 50 cases per year.
(11) The Home Education Advisory Service found that 10% of 1700 home educated children with which it had contact had special needs.
(12) In 2007 the audit commission found that the average cost of educating a child with complex special needs was £57,150. These complex special needs children need greater ratios of teachers/helpers than the typical special needs child educated within a state school. We estimate the cost at half- i.e. £29K. And so the additional cost on top of the £9k already included would amount to £20k per special needs child.