I was wondering the other day what, if any, the long term consequences of the Graham Badman review of home education are likely to be. It certainly brought home education into the spotlight and drew the attention of the newspapers and public to the fact that it is happening and is perfectly legal. I am curious to know whether or not this has resulted in a surge of people deregistering their children from school.
Judging purely from the lists such as HE-UK, EO and so on, I seem to notice a hardening of positions both on the part of parents and also the local authorities. I don't know if this is significant or indeed anything to do with the Graham Badman review at all. The impression I get is that some local authorities are behaving as though the Children, Schools and Families Bill had been passed and are talking as though they have new powers. On the other side of the fence, a number of parents, with the enthusiastic backing of others on the lists, are refusing to provide anything beyond the barest information about their educational philosophy. The feeling I get is that both local authorities and home educating parents are digging in. Of course this is not the case in every local authority area; Somerset and Hampshire being notable exceptions. I would like to know though if this is a trend that anybody else has noticed.
I have a suspicion that matters are not about to rest with the defeat of the CSF Bill and that whoever comes to power next month will eventually get round to looking at home education again. I can't somehow see anybody wishing to go through the whole business of trying to get a bill through Parliament again. I should think that once was quite enough for all sides! I have an idea that it might be possible to push through some of the provisions as amendments to existing acts like the 1996 Education Act or The Education (School Attendance Targets)(England) Regulations 2005. It is not uncommon for such things to be added, even years after the acts were passed. I doubt that the whole rigmarole of the CSF Bill would be put through in that way, but I rather think that the requirement to register could.
My own feeling is that one way or another, the Graham Badman Review has changed things. Simply by drawing everybody's attention to the fact that many children have been taken out of school and are not being prosecuted for aiding their children's truancy must have come as a surprise to many ordinary parents. It will be interesting to see what happens now under the next administration. One thing is for sure, I doubt that things will just go back to how they were before January 2009.