A Conversation for Home Education

The Badman Report and the CSF Bill

Post 1

Bernadette Lynn_ Home Educator

In 2009 Graham Badman was commissioned by the DCSF to write a report on whether home education could be used as a cover for abuse or forced marriage. Despite finding no evidence to suggest that either had ever happened he carried on with his review, ending up writing a report recommending huge changes to the law and giving LAs unprecedented power over home educating families. Just in case, hypothetically, some home educated children somewhere might be being abused or given a sub-standard education without anyone knowing.

The DCSF immediately accepted all recommendations, promising to immediately implement those granting greater powers to the LAs and taking away the rights of families and children, but stated that the recommendation that support and resources for HE families would need further consideration.

They then launched a public consultation about the recommendations, promising that responses would be taken into account when preparing new legislation, a promise they forgot when they published the draft Bill before the consultation period was finished. A Commons Select Committee Inquiry was launched to look at the Badman Report and consultation but the draft Bill was published before their Report - which was extremely critical of the process, evidence and methodology underpinning the Badman Report- was published.

Over 5,000 responses were submitted to the consultation, an astonishingly large nummber, almost all disgreeing with the conclusions and evidence base of the Badman Report but when the Government's report on the consultation was finally released - after the first and second reading of the Bill, now the CSF Bill, in the House of Commons - it was obvious that they had ignored the majority of responses by claiming them to be a result of 'campaigns' which apparently meant they didn't need to take account of them.

The proposed new legislation will fundamentally shift the balance of power between parents and the state, giving Local Authorities complete responsibility for childrens education (currently this is entirely the parents' responsibility), requiring parents to apply for permission to home educate and specifying an astonishing number of grounds for refusal of permission. LAs will not be required to consider the child's best interests when making decisions and in some cases will be explicitly forbidden to consider the suitability of the education parents provide when issuing a School Attendance Order.

The proposals will cost between £99m and £500m to implement but the government have not yet investigated whether the changes will benefit either the children and families involved or the country as a whole. An Impact Assessment was drawn up after the First Reading of the Bill (legally it is required before legislation is drawn up) but this relies on figures which the Government knows to be inaccurate and over-inflated. No Disability Impact Assessment or Equalities Impact Assement has been carried out, though both of these are legally required before proposing legislation.

The Badman Report and the CSF Bill

Post 2


Did this make it into law?

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