HSLDA in America have produced and excellent response to the Badman Report on Home Education, which my friend kindly sent me a link to. They pick out some glaring omissions in Badman’s report:
The Badman Report asserts: “International comparison suggests that of all countries with highly developed education systems, England is the most liberal in its approach to elective home education.”
Seven lines of analysis follow this naked assertion. He mentions Germany, “most European countries” (without elaboration), and New Zealand.
The omission of the United States is a particularly blatant error when it comes to the subject of home education. There is little doubt that more children are being homeschooled in the United States than in the rest of the world combined.
But of course America was quite deliberately ignored in the Review as it made it easier for so much research to be dismissed out of hand. A great deal of the research showing how well homeschooled children do comes from the USA where homeschooling has been so prevelent for so long. By ignoring this Badman could more easily dismiss the research from the UK on home education which shows the same level of good outcomes. Of course this is a government with a strong track record of ignoring research that contradricts it’s political motives.
HSLDA also point out:
It is important to note that, just as in England, the United States cannot provide a precise count of the number of children being home educated. If the implication that the inability to enumerate home educated children was an indicium of educational failure, it should have become apparent by now in the United States. The numbers are simply too great for the problem to have been hidden.
Moreover, once the United States is brought into play in the international comparison, it is simply unfair and inaccurate to suggest that England is the most liberal in it is approach to home education regulation..
Ah yes and this liberal approach in most states of America has produced excellent results-but that would mean accepting the research again and acknowledging how well a free people can do in a free country.
Meanwhile Education Otherwise have this message on the Report. There is a useful link for sample letters to MPs on the left side.
After the debate on bullying a fellow home ed friend wrote this to the MP David Howarth (LibDem):
Thank you for raising the issue of bullying in schools in Parliament and for
highlighting the work of the Red Balloon. I was their Modern Languages
teacher for three years before we had Imogen and it was a very good
environment in which to teach and learn. In fact it was my experience at
the Red Balloon that first gave me the idea of home educating our own
You suggest that there are three things that central Government can
First, the Government could bring together existing research and new
authoritative research on the extent of the problem of self-exclusion
because of bullying, so that schools and local authorities tempted to deny
the existence or the extent of the problem can be challenged.
Secondly, there should be advice to schools and behaviour partnerships about
the particular needs of bullied children. Such advice should point out the
devastating costs not only of failing to prevent bullying, but of failing to
offer effective routes to recovery to children who have been seriously
Thirdly, the Government should consider whether a policy aimed principally
at changing the behaviour of disruptive pupils on the basis that, to quote
the White Paper “Back on Track”,
“Primary responsibility for good behaviour sits with young people
is at all adequate to meet the needs of bullied children, who are the
victims of bad behaviour, not its perpetrators.
I would heartliy agree with all of these proposals; denial is a huge
problem, I know as I was a Form Tutor at a local Comprehensive before I went
into Special Education and getting senior staff to engage with bullying
incidents when they occured, was a nightmare.
Also, a policy of avoiding the bully ans hoping the problem will go away,
serves to encourage the aggressive child and confirm them in their
My concerns on reading your exchange with Vernon Coaker were firstly that
the whole emphasis
was on getting children back into schools and secondly that parents were
hardly mentioned., and home
education, not at all, despite the fact that this is an very good solution
for many children. In today’s Independent the govt were advertising for 100,
000 qualified teachers to teach needy children one to one; why is no account
taken of the sterling work done by parents who provide just such
individually tailored tuition very successfully at no cost to the State?
Vernon Coaker said; “The Government cannot and should not decide exactly
what types of provision should be used in individual cases, as the hon.
Gentleman accepted. Such decisions should be made at local level by those
who are closest to the pupil and their family, because they are the
professionals who know what the young person needs and when they need it.”
Surely the point needs making that these decisions should be made by the
I personally would add two more points for action for the government to your
fourthly, recognise the vital role played by parents both in preventing
bullying by instilling good behaviour and by facilitating them in picking up
the pieces if their child becomes a victim.Parents cannot fulfil this role
if they spend little or no time with their children, so policies which
pressurise parents to work long hours and investment in breakfast and after
school clubs need revewing.
Fiftly, the parents’ time-honoured role as primary educator of their
children, whether or not they choose to send them to a school, needs to be
enshrined in law; a child with parents who spend time with him and who are
confident in taking decisions with regard to him, is a child who has the
very best of kind of advocate and mentor. No State provision can be an
adequate substitute for this kind of parenting and it is this kind of
parenting which is the only factor truly able to increase the motivation and
achievement of children and to reduce anti-social behaviour in and out of
I am looking forward to talking to you further about the crucial role of
parents in education, on 18th.
I have written this letter to my bishop-which I know a couple of people were interested in:
Dear Bishop Kenny,I am writing to you in your capacity as Diocesan Administrator for the Birmingham. I am a Catholic mother who is presently electively home educating my school aged children and plan to home educate the younger ones. Obviously I am doing this in line with Catholic teaching which confirms the parents as primary educators of our children.The Governmenthas recently run a campaign to link home education with child abuse using shockingly dishonest tactics. The NSPCC were on board with this even suggesting that Victoria Climbe had been home educated (which of course she had not). The cases where a child had been removed from school were all known to social services who did not act on them.. With this dreadful cloud hanging over us the review was carried out and published by Graham Badman. You can access it HERE (pdf). It recommends that home educating families must register each year and provide a YEARS worth of curriculum. Our children are to be monitored and we will be obliged to have strangers in our home without a warrant and who will demand to interview our children alone. This is obviously a direct violation of basic human rights.Mr Badman uses the words “I believe” over 16 times in the document where he dismisses the evidence of home educating families and even the peer reviewed research that shows home educated children out perform their school peers on both social, emotional and acedemic levels.As a Catholic parent educating my children in a Christ centred way I am very concerned that this review will lead to a forced secular curriculum and that Christian home educators will be targeted. There is already a hint of this in the report.As a home ed family we are part of a vibrant community of families of all faiths and none. Many of us are Catholic. We provide support for one another, share resources and give our children the best opportunities we can. My children have made good friends and learned a great deal over the four years I have been home educating.I beg your Lordship to stand up for the rights of families in England and Wales. I beg you to speak out against this attack on families, on the welfare of children.I can give you more information if you need it.I look forward to hearing from you.God bless
I am taking a lot of no-notice of MPs who shrug this off and try to reassure us that nothing can happen before the next election. This whole thing was carefully orchestrated to make the home ed community look dreadful and the ‘abuse’ label is being stuck to us hard. There doesn’t need to be too many legislative changes it seems to me for LA staff to be pushed to insist on things like curriculum changes. The fight continues.