Memorandum submitted by Nick and Valerie Ticher

 

The Badman report, and the proposed legislation based on it, are not collaborative - Graham Badman has never spoken to a single home educator - but seem to be based on prejudice, unwarranted suspicion and hostility towards our values.

The review is poorly researched in that it is based on a small sample of 25 Local Authorities out of 152 and Graham Badman has now called on local authorities to back up his findings. He has been granted an extension of 9 days for this purpose but the extension has not been granted to home educators to comment. This action on the part of DCSF is a clear indication of unfair bias towards Graham Badman's findings, irrespective of fact and objectivity, and therefore seriously undermines any credibility the review and ensuing proposals might have in claiming to have children's best interests at heart.

Among other things, it is intended that parents should register their children. We agree that all children should be visible so that none can slip through the net however there are other concerns about large databases, how they are used and the security of the data. It is necessary to re-register every year and registration can be revoked if the schooling plan that the parents submit is not considered adequate. This is not part of child protection but could easily be used to suppress home education.

We also note the recent cuts in the Education budget. The effect of the Badman report will be to put more people into schools with fewer resources. Home educators could actually reduce the resources needed by schools - especially as a significant proportion of home educating parents are schooling children with a variety of special needs and learning difficulties. Very often, such parents will choose to home educate as a response to the school system's failure to accommodate their children's needs.

Home educators are statistically very much less likely to abuse than other groups. The cases that have been used as an attempt to find a link between home education and child abuse are so extreme as to be totally irrelevant, or even insulting, to the home-educating community as a whole. They include a cult - the Family - and Eunice Spry, who kept the children she fostered out of school to hide the horrific abuse she subjected them to. The attempt to link such cases to home education bears all the marks of a smear campaign. Furthermore, here have been numerous cases of abuse by schooling parents and recent proven cases of abuse in kindergarten and schools. We are concerned that scarce resources will be taken away from priority areas and used to monitor those who are statistically far less likely to offend. The results may well be the opposite of those intended.

September 2009