The Petition of Persons resident in the North Devon Parliamentary Constituency,
Declares that they are concerned about the recommendations of the Badman Report, which suggests closer monitoring of home educators, including a compulsory annual registration scheme and right of access to people’s homes for local authority officials; further declares that the Petitioners believe the recommendations are based on a review that was extremely rushed, failed to give due consideration to the evidence, failed to ensure that the data it collected were sufficiently robust, and failed to take proper account of the existing legislative framework.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families either not to bring forward, or to withdraw, proposed legislative measures providing for tighter registration and monitoring of children educated at home in the absence of a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England; but instead to take the steps necessary to ensure that the existing Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities are properly implemented, learning from current best practice, in all local authorities in England.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented on 4 March 2010, Official Report, Vol. 506, c. 20P .]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families:
DCSF commissioned the Badman review of home education in January 2009 and the report was published on 11 June 2009. As part of the review, Graham Badman took written and oral evidence from a range of individuals and organisations who responded to his public call for evidence, including home educators and local authorities. Alongside this he also considered published literature, the current legal position and guidance and the approaches taken in other countries. He was assisted by an expert reference group. I am confident that his report draws from a wide and heterogeneous evidence base.
The Children, Schools and Families Select Committee also considered the Badman report and was supportive of most of the recommendations. It agreed that a short statement of educational approach would be helpful in establishing dialogue between home educating families and local authorities; that an annual meeting between local authorities and home educators was needed; and that better support for home educators and better training for local authorities would together lead to an improvement on the current arrangements.
Home Education registration and monitoring proposals are included in the Children, Schools and Families Bill which passed Second Reading in the House of Lords on 8 March 2010. The proposals will put in place light touch regulation and monitoring arrangements and our guidance will make it clear that this will be proportionate and focused on support and encouragement for home educating families. We have also committed around £21 million in the first year to additional support for home educating families, which has a focus on children with SEN and home educated children who would like to attend FE College courses.
Home education is an established part of the British education system and the vast majority of home educators who do a good job will find monitoring supportive and—for the first time—backed by real resources. Our reforms will not require home educators to adopt a particular approach, to teach a specific curriculum, or for their children to take SATs tests or specific public examinations. After these reforms are implemented, England will remain one of the most liberal countries in the developed world for home educators to live in.