I have set up this blog to provide a record of the media interest in North Shropshire in the campaign against the Badman Review, commissioned by Ed Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, into home education in England. This was launched in January 2009 under the pretence that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, domestic servitude and forced marriage. The Badman report was rushed through, seemingly to get something ‘on the books’ before the general election. It was accepted in full just as hastily by Ed Balls. Essentially it proposed an annual licensing scheme for home educating parents, dependent on local authorities being satisfied with the suitability of families to educate their own children. Some of its most controversial recommendations were the right for local authority officers to interview children as young as five alone and to make inspections of the family home. Whilst some of these issues were not as clearly stated when the recent Childrens, Schools and Families Bill was published, Clause 26 (& 27 for Wales) effectively sought to remove the right of parents to choose how their children should be educated. Both the Bill and the Badman Report have been severely criticised in a report by the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee published in mid-December. (See the links section for details of where to access the above material.)
Action by parents
Once the Badman Report was published, home educating families across England were provoked into action. Some were already members of national and local support groups; others like ourselves were not. We began by writing to our MP, then we heard of strategies being put forward by other people and we got involved in some of these.The first was a mass lobby of Parliament in mid-October. We travelled to London for that and were also able to attend one of the Select Committee oral evidence sessions the day before. When a coordinated Petition to Parliament was proposed in November, Mary volunteered to coordinate this in North Shropshire. With both these activities came encouragement to contact the local and national media with information on the various aspects of the campaign.
We were quite successful with this in regard to a regional newspaper, the Shropshire Star, and a local one, the Market Drayton Advertiser. Unfortunately, both are published by the same company and their web sites only carry a small selection of the stories which appear in the papers. This blog has been established to make details of those reports available to others. I have also included recordings of two radio items which featured us, as well aslinks to the coverage of the Mass Presentation of the Petition in Hansard and on Parliament TV. Other local HE families have also been in touch with the media and their contributions are also logged here. If you know of any more items, please let us know.
Below is a list of reports and other key events in chronological order. These can also be accessed from the pages list on the right.
- 13 October – Radio Shropshire
- 13 October – Shropshire Star
- 23 October – Market Drayton Advertiser
- 29 October – Radio Shropshire
- 26 November – Shropshire Star
- 27 November – Handover of Petition to MP
- 28 November – Shropshire Star
- 8 December – Border Counties Advertizer [Added 12/1/10]
- 8 December – Details of Mass Presentation ~ Local & National
- 9 December – Shropshire Star
- 11 December – Market Drayton Advertiser
- 18 December – Market Drayton Advertiser
This blog is not here to discuss the issues involved with the government’s plans (hence ‘comments’ have been disabled). However, I will update it in the future if further items on this theme appear in our local media.
Links to other sites campaigning against the Government’s plans can be found here.