Memorandum submitted by Rachel Sanger


*   The recommendations of this review are not supported by evidence or rational argument
*    There was no need for a review of the law on home education as the present system functions satisfactorily.
*   Autonomous education in particular will become impossible
*    The recommendations will have a devastating effect on family and personal lives.
*    The consultation was specious and inadequate
*   The recommendations are ill-thought out and confuse welfare and education issues which should be quite distinct

1) The conduct of the review was uninformed, intellectually shoddy and careless.
My son and daughter have been educated autonomously out of school and we are all delighted with our decision, made over 20 years ago, to exercise this right. Many families have educated this way very successfully over the years. This mode of education will become impossible if the proposed changes are introduced. There is absolutely no justification presented for this massive change. Mr Badman displays his ignorance of this method and prejudice against it quite plainly. He denigrates academically respected research which supports it. However, he presents no reason for doing so, or any counter-evidence of his own.

2) Making autonomous education illegal will intrude on the most intimate daily interactions between parents and children. The government would require us to forcibly regulate the lives and coerce the behaviour of our own children, even in our own home, against our better judgment on pain of criminal sanction.

3) This is sadly congruent with the report's nauseating and insulting unfavourable comparison of our current law with that of Germany which dates back to the Nazi era.

4) To avoid such draconian intrusion and regulation my own children and their peers would plan to emigrate to bring up their own children with the freedom they themselves have valued above all else in their own education.

5) The law on home education has already been revised and reviewed more than once in very recent years. The current law and the guidelines which were the result of extensive discussion are quite satisfactory.

6) The commission of the review was probably motivated by political expediency, namely fear of a media frenzy possibly arising from one tragic case. However, home education was irrelevant to the neglect and abuse which took place; no additional monitoring of home education would have helped the child. Had Mr Badman acted with intellectual rigour he would have pointed this out and not colluded with this baseless attack on the legal rights of home educators.

7) I object strongly to the proposed registration, annual plan, monitoring and inspection arrangements as a blatant infringement of civil liberties and rational policy-making.

8) There is no reason to suppose that these recommendations will protect children. No evidence is presented to that effect. Being on a register of the Local Education Authority is not a protection against abuse or neglect which occurs in the lives of many school-educated children..

9) There is no reason to suppose that these recommendations will improve educational outcomes for any children. No evidence is presented to that effect. 

10) There is no reason based in upholding children's rights to single out home-educators for scrutiny, as is spuriously implied. If you feel this kind of intrusion into family life is reasonable, why should not school-educated children be individually interviewed by professionals to enquire whether they are happy with the arrangements their parents have made for them? Will they be given the option to be home-educated instead?

11) Inadequate evidence for the report was provided by Local Authorities as Mr Badman himself has now admitted. This admission alone should be enough to cause this review process to be brought to a close.

12) The views of currently home-educated children, who responded in somewhat greater numbers, appear to have been ignored completely.

13) I urge the committee to recommend that in view of all these shortcomings the review and its recommendations should be abandoned.

14) This submission contains only headline points and is a mere tithe of what I could willingly submit if not under the constraints of the limitations you have imposed on length, scope and format. I have already written at some length to Mr Balls and received in reply only an out-of-date form letter from Baroness Morgan.

September 2009