We would be very grateful if you would sign the Early Day Motion (1) on Home Education put forward by Mark Field.
The recent Home Education Review's recommendations (2) which falsely associated home education with a high risk of child abuse, - the figures simply did not bear this out and were extremely poorly calculated (3), would, if acted upon, not conform to the principles of good regulation as prescribed by the Better Regulation Executive (4). The recommendations would pose particular problems with the principles of proportionality, consistency and targeting.
On proportionality and targeting, the review's recommendations suggest that the state appropriate huge powers to itself which are not warranted given the evidence, would divert attention and resources away from genuinely needy families with the worthless yet expensive and unwanted (5) scrutiny of otherwise thriving families, and would cause completely unnecessary stress and the invasion of privacy of these families.
The Council will have to find a considerable sum of money to fund Mr Badman's proposals, money which could be used much more constructively to deal with families who are known to be experiencing problems.The measures in place are already proportionate to the minimal risk to children.
On the issue of consistency, parents who elect to home educate should not be treated like criminals and exposed to more surveillance and interference by the state than parents who school their children are obliged to suffer. They should also not be held to far higher standards than schooling parents. For example, there are few consequences to a schooling parent if their child is shown to be failing to reach expected educational goals, whereas for a home educating family the consequences could be devastating in that the child may be forceably sent to school against their wishes.The government boasts about the choice parents have in education but if Mr. Badman's recommendations are implemented, parental choice won't really exist - it will be the way the state dictates or nothing. It is essential to allow Home Education in all its forms (including an autonomous approach, which is little understood by the LEAs) for real choice to be available to parents regarding their children's education.
(3) Current figures from analysis of Freedom of Information requests asking for numbers of abused home educated children as revealed by local authorities:
Total Number of LAs: 152
Number of LAs for which we are awaiting a response or have refused to answer: 42 (27.63%)
LAs with calculated abuse rate: 110
LAs with zero abuse 84 (76.36%)
LAs with abuse less than national average 13 (11.82%)
LAs with abuse more than national average 13 (11.82%)
Abuse rate in HE community 0.72%
National abuse rate (all children) 1.76% (Children in Need figures, excluding disabled, from the National Statistics Office)