Part of Recommendation 1 of the Badman Report seems to be causing a great deal of anxiety to some home educating parents. This is the eighth section of that recommendation, which stipulates that parents should draw up an account of their educational approach and set out what they hope their child will achieve over the next twelve months. Try as I might, I cannot see why anybody would object to this.
I think most parents who teach their own child, no matter what their approach, probably have some idea of what they hope their child will be able to do in a years time that they cannot do now. They may hope that their child will become a more fluent reader. They might desire their child to use paragraphs in their writing, pass Grade 1 piano, be able to swim a length, ride a bike or master basic arithmetic. Few of us have detailed aims and projected outcomes, but most of us have a vague notion. I can see no reason not to share these hopes with officers from the local authority.
The only reason that I could understand a reluctance to do so would be if there would be a bad consequence if the child failed to reach the goals which I had set, but there is no hint of anything of this sort in Graham Badman's report. It is simply suggested that every year, officers from the LA will visit the family and see how the child is doing, using as a yardstick the parents' own plans and desired outcomes. I can find no mention of children being tested, much less the possibility of failure resulting in the child being forced to return to school.
All this seems to me to be a good thing. It might help to focus the parents' upon the enterprise which they have undertaken. I have no doubt that if at the back of one's mind is the knowledge that somebody will be casting an eye over what has been done from an educational viewpoint, it will encourage people to think hard about what their child is doing and how they are developing. When nobody else is watching, there can be a horrible temptation to let things drift a bit and the very existence of a plan which others have seen might tend to guard against this.