The vultures are circling
So can we think of a panel of home education experts to help him with this? I can, right off the top of my head:
- Owner of Home Education UK and home educating dad: Mike Fortune-Wood;
- Prolific writer of HE books and home educating mother: Jan Fortune-Wood;
- Professor of education, senior lecturer and long-time proponent of home-based learning: Roland Meighan;
- Chair of AHEd and home educating mother: Barbara Stark;
- Author, professor and long-time proponent of home education: Alan Thomas;
- Home educating mother and secretary of Schoolhouse: Alison Preuss
I could go on. The list is endless. Mr Badman shouldn't have struggled at all to find a panel of experts in home education to help with his review.
But strangely, it seems that he did. The information we have is patchy so far, but I haven't heard any of the above mentioned as panel members, or anyone else whose name I recognise as being an expert in home education.
So far, he seems to have chosen:
- Martin Nairey, chief executive of Barnados who also chairs the End Child Poverty Commission, though I can't think what they've had to do in the past twenty years or so since there is no real child poverty left in this country! Oh wait, I know - they've been working with government to cook up that fifth outcome: 'Achieve economic wellbeing' - otherwise known as 'Wave goodbye to both parents'. So Mr Nairey's expertise in home education is....? Perhaps he was home educating his children at the same time as saving the world from relative poverty/ stay at home parents, contradictory position though that would have been;
- Kathy Sylva: an expert in early years structured education;
- Mick Waters from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority;
- June Statham from the Thomas Coren Research Unit, whose background is listed as including healthy schools, asylum seekers, children in 'care' and early intervention programmes. But not home education; and finally
- Steve Heppell, who so far appears to have no experience or special knowledge of Elective Home Education either.
Can you see how any of these people are going to help Mr Badman to investigate:
· The barriers to local authorities and other public agencies in carrying out their responsibilities for safeguarding home educated children and advise on improvements to ensure that the five Every Child Matters outcomes are being met for home educated children;
· The extent to which claims of home education could be used as a ‘cover’ for child abuse such as neglect, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude and advise on measures to prevent this;
· Whether local authorities are providing the right type, level and balance of support to home educating families to ensure they are undertaking their duties to provide a suitable full time education to their children;
· Whether any changes to the current regime for monitoring the standard of home education are needed to support the work of parents, local authorities and other partners in ensuring all children achieve the Every Child Matters outcomes.?
Because I can't. However, feedback from his meeting with EO and HEAS indicates that he was very interested in the use of IT in learning, which fits I know with Steve Heppell's projects, and also with what I was reading about the EU on Saturday.
::NB: I have removed a section of text here referring to Mr Heppell, due to his complaint in the comments below.::
OK, so none of these people, it's safe to assume, knows anything at all about Elective Home Education. The least they can do at so much public expense then, is to spend some time reading some of the hundreds of previous consultation responses submitted by home educators, to familiarise themselves with the subject somewhat.
Do you think they will?