On January 19th 2009, the Badman Inquiry was launched via a press release entitled “MORGAN: IS HOME EDUCATION A COVER FOR FORCED MARRIAGE AND DOMESTIC ABUSE.” Graham Badman, the recently retired Managing Director of Children Families and Education at Kent County Council, was required to complete his report by May 2009.
The Review was charged with establishing whether there were adequate safeguards for home educated children and whether home educated children could meet the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters. The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) also asked Graham Badman to review the support which was offered to home educated children.
As part of the Badman Review, questionnaires were sent to local authorities asking leading questions about “concerns”. There was also a much shorter public questionnaire on the DCSF consultation website which attracted thousands of responses from home educators. It was explained by the Government that since this was not exactly a “consultation”, it could be carried out extremely quickly.
In June 2009 the Government published its response to the Badman Report, with the Secretary of State Ed Balls accepting all the recommendations which related to registration and monitoring. Nothing more was said about “support.”
The draft legislative programme for 2009-10 mentioned in passing that changes to the law on home education would be included in the Queen’s Speech but no details were given. Inexplicably, the Government put out a consultation asking hypothetical questions about registration and monitoring, 4 months before the draft legislation was ready.
By midsummer 2009 there were widespread rumblings about the way in which this was all being handled combined with the lack of any substantive proof that changes were actually required, to the point that the Select Committee announced an inquiry into the conduct of the Badman Review.
There were multiple freedom of information requests throughout this entire period, with numerous individuals attempting to pin down the evidence for the Badman recommendations.
Professor James Conroy – who was a member of Graham Badman’s own expert panel told the Select Committee that “In my 30 odd years of professional life in education I have rarely encountered a process, the entirety of which was so slap dash, panic driven, and nakedly and naively populist.”
During the summer holidays, Education Otherwise released videos about home education on the Education Otherwise youtube channel and nationwide Not Back To School Picnics took place in the September which attracted considerable media interest. (Click here for pictures)
Within a few weeks of the draft legislation making its first appearance, there was a mass presentation of petitions to parliament from over 300 constituencies against the Government’s registration and monitoring proposals, led by Graham Stuart MP, who was a member of the Government Select Committee. (Click here to watch the presentation in parliament.)
Shortly afterwards the Select Committee published a highly critical report. Click here for the Education Otherwise Press Release on the Report.
There was Cross party opposition to the proposed home education measures and the Public Bill Committee was dominated by criticism of proposed change to law on home education.
In April 2010 Minister Baroness Morgan was compelled to propose an amendment against the Government’s own clause 19, effectively ending the doomed attempt to introduce a licensing scheme for home educating families.
Click here for more details and links related to the Badman Review
- Making a connection with MPs
- why the Home Education Guidelines haven’t been changed
- the Wash Up