Following publication today of a censorious report by a cross-party group of MPs which strongly urges the government to learn lessons from its “unfortunate” handling of the elective home education review in England, Action for Home Education (AHEd) has reiterated its condemnation of Graham Badman’s controversial proposals for the licensing of law abiding parents. The action group says his recommendations were based on unsound research and flawed statisics, and has called for the scrapping of proposed legislative and regulatory changes relating to home education.
Commenting on the MPs’ findings, Barbara Stark, Chair of AHEd, said:
“The Children Schools and Families committee report has exposed yet more policy based evidence making activities by this government which has long craved total control of all aspects of children’s education. The latest home education review launched a vicious attack on families that has left relationships at an all time low, with some parents withdrawing contact from their local authorities where they were previously tolerable or good.
“Immeasurable damage has been caused by these Badman recommendations, which were inserted into the Children Schools and Families Bill before any analysis of the thousands ofconsultation responses has been produced. AHEd members have had to invest disproportionate time and energy into fighting off these proposals, which we have shown to be based on deeply flawed research and discredited statistics, and we would urge the government to learn from this disastrous episode.”
Since the review was announced in January, home educators have raised numerous concerns about the impact of government proposals on the long established parental duty to educate their children according to their age, aptitude, ability and any special needs they may have. By continuing to push for compulsory registration, dictating the type of education children should receive, insisting on the right of access to families and children in their own homes, they believe that the government is actively seeking to undermine the role of parents.
Calling for Schedule One of the Children Schools and Families Bill, which deals with elective home education, to be scrapped in its entirety, Ms Stark said:
“It is an ill-considered, unnecessary and wastefully expensive last ditch attempt of a dying government to impose such unjustified draconian measures, the consequences of which they will not have to deal with.”
While home educators and others have repeatedly pointed out that the provision of education is a parental – not a state – function, the government has frequently sought to appropriate parents’ responsibility for the upbringing of their children in clear breach of human rights principles and legislation.
Responding to criticisms within the Select Committee report, Schools Minister Diana Johnson reiterated the disingenuous claim that “home education is a well established part of our education system and we have no plans to change that position”. It will not surprise her to learn that home educators in England will resist every attempt by her government to undermine parents’ and children’s rights to freedom in education.