I really didn’t intend to make regular posts to this blog, but this is the second in two days. Once again it has been a busy week.
It started with a Labour MP stating that Badman got his research badly wrong! The MP was David Anderson (Blaydon) during CSF Questions Monday 25th Jan 2010. However Diana Johnson, as always, avoided a straight answer. Here is the video of the exchange:
You can find the text of the exchange here in Hansard, but as the video has only the number for the text of the initial question, this is what was on the order paper. “What assessment he has made of the accuracy of data used to produce the Badman Report.”
This is a classic example of a DfCSF minister avoiding the issues raised by MPs and HE families. David Anderson’s request for “reassurance that that will not happen?” is completely ignored by Johnson in her reply and therefore we must assume that she is unable to give any reassurance that Badman’s bad data will not result in HE parents being scapegoated, nor in bad decisions being made!
Certainly, her boss Ed Balls, has proved to be in complete harmony with here in his response to the mass Petitions to Parliament presented in the Commons in December and January. Best estimate is that over 230 have been presented, but this failed to impress Mr Balls. His reply in Hansard can be found by scrolling down from this link, past the list of Petitions. To save you doing so here is what he said:
Observations from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, received 26 January :
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 also assisted by an expert reference group. I am confident that his report draws from a wide and heterogeneous evidence base.
The recent Children, Schools and Families Select Committee report 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 has now had second reading in the House of Commons. They 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.
You can read that as many times as you like, but while the language is that of being kind and considerate to HE families, the content (or lack of it) simply says, “We are not listening to anyone, whatsoever!” For example Balls like Johnson must have read a different CSF Select Committee report from the one which they published, but they still persist in the claim that it “was supportive of most of the recommendations”. Personally, I think the headline in ‘Children & Young People Now’ magazine was closer to the tone of the report, “Badman review blasted by MPs’ inquiry”
Despite what Balls & Co claim, it seems to me that the CSF Select Committee and David Anderson MP, are in complete agreement on this matter, “Badman got this badly wrong”!
One final comment for this post. Last weekend I spent time writing a submission to the Commons CSF Public Committee. Today it has been published in Hansard. You can read more here.