Sunday, 2 August 2009

The Graham Badman Review

Perhaps the single most important topic at the moment for autonomous home educators is Graham Badman's review of home education which was published in June 2009. Everything about this slim booklet seems to be wrong from their point of view and so I thought it worthwhile to point out a few of the ideas contained in it which might be good for home educators in general. So here are three good things about the Badman Review.

1. The requirement to give three weeks notice before withdrawing a child from school.

On the face of it, this does seem a bit much. Why can't the present system continue, whereby you just pull out your child as soon as you want? The problem here is that withdrawing a child from school is almost always in response to some problem which a parent or child is having with the school. In other words, most people don't choose to become home educators; they are forced into adopting this course as a second best to school. After all, this where most home educators send their child at first. Presumably most of them have no objection to school as such. Their complaint is typically that the school will not address the problems which their children are having, for example bullying, special needs and so on. If the school were to be given a definite deadline to fix these problems, and three weeks seems a reasonable length of time, then it might focus their minds a little. This is especially so since schools under the new system would see pupils being deregistered like this as a black mark against them, rather like truancies or exclusions. I'm guessing that a lot of them will suddenly feel able to solve a lot of these difficulties, instead of just brushing parents off and saying "Good riddance!" when they withdraw their children.

2. Local Authorities helping parents to plan the education for their children

An awful lot of parents, judging by the messages on Education Otherwise and HE-UK mailing lists, withdraw their children from school and then have no idea how to go about things. The classic autonomous educating response is to suggest a "de-schooling" period where nothing at all is done. The standard recommendation is for one months "de-schooling" for every year spent at school. This means in practice that it is seriously suggested that a fourteen year old child taken out of school as he is about to begin intensive work for GCSEs should spend the next year or so doing nothing at all and simply lounging around. I'm sure that Local Authorities would be able to offer better advice than this!

3. Local Authorities paying for examinations and opening their facilities up to home educators.

I need only remark that my own daughter took eight IGCSEs and each cost £120. Considering the amount of Council Tax I pay, this is iniquitous! I can't see how anybody could object to this recommendation.

21 comments:

  1. I had actually written a piece to refute your allegations, then I realised it was Mr.Simon Webb, the antagonistic Home educator I was replying to. Anything I said would only pander to his ego and make him more defensive that His Way and only His Way was the only True Way to Home Educate.
    So I won't pander to a thrid rate hacks ego.
    I have also signed this anonymous as we locked horns on a few HE forums and I don't want him tracing me and contacting me personally.

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  2. Ludicrous, deluded, ignorant and pompous individual, who has no vision outside his own rigid ideas.

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  3. schools under the new system would see pupils being deregistered like this as a black mark against them, rather like truancies or exclusions.

    Not sure where you've got this from - is that in the Badman report? or what's your source?

    thanks

    Jennifer

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  4. Complete idiot. I don't claim to be an autonomous educator but by not defending those that are, you are ensuring there will be no one left to defend you when you need it.

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  5. Jennifer, this is partly based upon the Badman Review and partly upon my own knowledge of how local authorities in England work. In the Badman Review Recommendation 15 is that the DCSF takes action to prevent schools from suggesting home education to parents as a way to avoid exclusion. One school in the North of England actually reduced its truancy and exclusion figures almost to zero by this method. They actually typed out letters for the parents and got them to sign them, saying that they were deregistering their children in order to teach them at home. This sort of thing is not uncommon. Recommendation 3 is that local authorities analyse the reasons for parents choosing to home educate and report the findings to the Children's Trust Board. Imagine if some local authority were to do this and then conclude that most parents were home educating because they had taken their children out of schools which neglected their special educational needs or failed to tackle bullying? No, I think that we will definitiely see schools bending over backward to avoid parents withdrawing their children for these reasons. Most home educators want their children to go to school. You seldom meet any who have never sent their children to school in the first place. It is usually the case that they have taken them out because the school placement broke down. Fix these problems and I think that you will automatically see a decline in home education in England.

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  6. There is no point in arguing with Simon. He loves it. He doesn't really believe anything he says, and neither should we. He is a habitual liar. In one of the articles on this very blog he claims to be a teacher with a daughter at secondary school.
    Ignore him. He doesn't deserve the attention.
    Ali

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  7. Not that it need concern you, Ali, but I have two daughters. One attended school and was there when the Telegraph article was written in 2004. I really don't feel inclined into sharing too much of my family history with you. Try discussing ideas, rather than personalities. If you feel so hostile towards me, I wonder you keep coming to this site. I have no idea on what grounds you suppose me to be an habitual liar; to the best of my knowledge we have never met. I am not forcing anybody to come here and debate. I thought I would simply offer people the opportunity.

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  8. By the way Ali, although I have no desire to trace you, let alone contact you, I dare say I could if I wished do so by emailing you at aliedgley@yahoo.co.uk. The fact that I have not done so should be enough to give you the courage to come out of hiding and stop using the pseudonym "anonymous".

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  9. One school in the North of England actually reduced its truancy and exclusion figures almost to zero by this method. They actually typed out letters for the parents and got them to sign them, saying that they were deregistering their children in order to teach them at home.

    Ooh, glad you mentioned this! because I've heard that story before, but never managed to find out any details.

    What school was it? & what else do you know about what happened? e.g. how did the malpractice come to light? & what safeguards have been put in place since to ensure that it doesn't happen again?

    thanks

    Jennifer

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  10. Dear Jennifer, give me a couple of days here. I have the details and name of the school in a filing cabinet, just a question of finding them. It was a couple of years ago. As soon as I find the relevant stuff I'll post again.

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  11. Dear Jennifer, found it! It was Firfields School in Newcastle. It came to light because some of the parents were really pissed off about being stuck with their children all day and started moaning about it. They had no intention at all of home educating and just signed the letters because they were being threatened with prosecution for truancy otherwise. Here is a brief account of it from the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/jul/11/educationincrisis.education1

    You ask what safeguards have been put in place to stop this happening again. The answer is, none at all. It still goes on and is one reason why the Badman Review was held. There is some suggestion that the practice is increasing. I have personal knowledge of this. My sister's fourteen year old son refused to go to school and she did not know what to do. In the end, she deregistered him and claimed that he was being home educated. The LEA, Manchester did not pursue the matter. A lot of local authorities turn a blind eye to this if the child is fourteen or fifteen.

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  12. I have been looking at Ali Edgely, who has been trolling here. Incredibly, I find that her two children are actually at school! Imagine that. I have spent over ten years home educating and somebody who does not even teach her own children starts making bitchy remarks about me because I don't support home education enough! A little rich, really. And she calls me a habitual liar.....

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  13. There you go.

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  14. Yes, my children are at school now. Interestingly, although they were autonomously home educated before that, my son went straight into the top sets at secondary school and my daughter familiarised herself with the work at herprimary school in a matter of weeks. Aren't schools great?

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  15. Ali, reading these comments is a somewhat surrealist experience. Jennifer is asking me questions, which I am doing my best to answer. In between our posts are yours, where you shout "liar", "idiot, "deluded" and so on. Try reading down the comments and you will see what I mean. I am of course happy to debate the topic which started these comments, which is to say the Graham Badman Review. None of your comments have yet touched upon this. Are you sure that you would not feel more at home on another site, perhaps a support group for sufferers of Tourette's Syndrome?

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  16. As you well know. I only posted the comments with my name on. My name isn't Anonymous.
    Now, seriously, looking at that Guardian article, it seems to me that the schools need a review more than home educators do.
    Coercing parents into "home educating" is only one of the many examples of bad practice the article describes.
    No change in the law is needed to deal with the problem of parents being coerced into home education. All they have to do is make it plain to the LA when inquiries are made (as they will be, because these children are newly deregistered)that they don't want to home educate, and that the school coerced them into it. The LA already has powers to deal with the situation.
    What is most certainly needed is a change in the attitude of many LA's towards home educators, and towards children who are struggling in school. At present this is all too often suspicious and adversarial.

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  17. My problem with the three week rule, is that if a child is being severely bullied, the child has to endure three more weeks of physical attacks and mental torture.

    My children started off at school (how I wish they didn't) and I didn't take them out of school out of some ideological change of thought, but because, after working a day a week in my son's class, I could see that it was just an utter waste of time and energy, and my children were unhappy and not fulfilling their potential.

    At the end of the day, school isn't prison, and there are no probation officers. They are my children. If I decide not to delegate my legal responsibility anymore, there should be no delay in removing my children from school. It is simply a service that I decide I no longer require and should be able to make immediate changes should I wish.

    Removing ones children from school to HE is not an inferior position to home educating them from the start.

    Much Love

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  18. Gizzie, I couldn't agree more with your comment. They are our children, not the States, and school is a service. Regarding the three week rule, I met a family at hesfes who, if subject the the 'rule' their daughter would probably have committed suicide before the three weeks were up. Is that what you want on your conscience Simon in supporting the three week rule if it became reality?

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  19. Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple

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    My wife goes in right behindmy bosses wife. Eric swung his weapon quickly, lowering and firing a single shot theweapon was again between Andrews eyes before Mikey had begun to scream.

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