Memorandum submitted by Dr K E Patrick,

Qualified Teacher and Home-educating Parent

 

1. As a former secondary school teacher and now a home-educating parent of 9 years' experience, I am very concerned about the lack of impartiality of Mr. Graham Badman with regard to the review of elective home education.

 

2. Mr. Badman is now the remunerated chairman of BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency), a non-departmental public body limited by guarantee with charitable status, governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association and Financial Memorandum with the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF). This agency receives almost all its money as Grants In Aid from the DCSF - to the tune of over 38.5 million last financial year (according to its Summary Information Return, available on-line) It is directly answerable to the Secretary of State, who is accountable to Parliament for its activities and performance.

 

3. Prior to being appointed as BECTA's chairman in May 2009, Mr. Badman was a board member and trustee of this agency.

 

4. In their Digital Britain report from March 2009 (available on-line), BECTA write that they "work with government to lead the delivery and development of e-strategy" and "influence the strategic direction and development of national education policy."

 

6. Because Mr. Badman is chairman of this agency, and because this agency is developing e-strategies for the Government, and because the Secretary of State is answerable to Parliament for BECTA's performance, I do not believe it is possible for this man to conduct an independent review of the home-educating community. Even a recommendation as simple as a nationwide registration and monitoring database could, without much imagination, lead to an ICT solution provided by BECTA.

 

7. Furthermore, BECTA doles out hundreds of thousands of pounds to local authorities every year, the very people canvassed by Mr. Badman for information from which to draw relationships between home-educating and child-safeguarding issues. It is logical to question whether or not the information from local authorities could, therefore, be objective in this case.

 

8. Therefore, I submit that Mr. Graham Badman had conflicts of interest in this review that would have made his recommendations unreliable, and for that reason, I request that the Select Committee make a similar conclusion of unreliability.

 

September 2009