Autonomous learning can't be planned
In the introduction to his report [opens pdf] Mr Badman says:
Parental attitude, support and expectation are the key determinants of educational success. Indeed, as the national Children’s Plan makes clear it is “Parents not Government that bring up children” and there is nothing in this report which sets out to contradict or modify this contention.
And, while it may not set out to contradict or modify the contention, I'm afraid the effect will be to step too far across that crucial line.
In point 3.11, he says:
This review does not argue against the rights of parents as set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 outlined above, nor their deeply held convictions about education.
And yet Section 7 confers a duty, not a right. The conflation of these terms undermines the whole logic of the Badman review, in my opinion.
Section 3.12 of the report reads:
As stated previously, the term “efficient” has been described in case law as an education that “achieves that which it sets out to achieve”. On this basis there surely can be no argument against those who choose to educate their children at home being required to articulate their educational approach or ‘philosophy’, intentions and practice and with their child demonstrate its effectiveness. Indeed many do so already. This is not an argument for prescription; on the contrary it is simply an argument that the rights of parents are equally matched by the rights
of the child and a recognition of the moral imperative of securing education for all children commensurate with their age, aptitude, ability and any special needs. [My emphasis]
But articulating a philosophy is quite a different thing to setting out a detailed annual plan twelve months in advance and the child subsequently being required to demonstrate to officials all of the 'progress and attainments' (about which, more later) set out therein, at risk of being ordered into school if she fails to do so. This is quite Draconian and is absolutely not compatible with the method of autonomous learning or unschooling as we know it.
It seems, from this item in the first recommendation, that registration is even to be conditional on approval of the plan:
So if my plan says something like: "I plan to continue to facilitate the autonomous education of my daughter, undertaking to enable her self-directed learning and to respond and reply appropriately to her curiosity and preferences throughout," this is likely to be rejected and I will be forced, if I wish to remain registered as a home educator, to submit something more along the lines of: "This year, my daughter will learn to understand multiplication as repeated addition; understand that halving is the inverse of doubling and find one half and one quarter of shapes and small numbers of objects; begin to understand division as grouping (repeated subtraction); use vocabulary associated with multiplication and division" etc. (from National Curriculum Mathematics Key Stage 1) which seems to be the only language some educationalists understand.
We will then have to spend the ensuing year making sure that all of the aspects of our plan are fulfilled, regardless of my daughter's natural aptitude or inclination to do so. This will bear no relation to autonomous learning in any way whatsoever, and while as her parent I might still be bringing up my child, I will be doing so at the government's behest and under its specific instruction, regardless of my day-to-day interpretation of her needs, much of which I will be forced to ignore.
The final element of recommendation 7:
fails to make clear the consequences if the child declines the opportunity.
Other consequences, however, have been made clear - albeit through back channels. Failure to compel one's child to attend school full-time or to be registered as a home educator with the Local Authority will be prosecuted under the Truancy Act with the threatened penalty of imprisonment, which we know will be imposed by the courts without hesitation, just as it has been to date.
So we either home educate according to the government's idea of what an appropriate plan should constitute, or our children attend school full time, or we go to prison. These are the choices laid out for us by the Badman Review.
therefore looks pointless, as there will in the end be very little difference, variation and diversity in home education practice of which to gain an understanding.
It will, as a comment to my previous post asserts, therefore be impossible for Mr Badman's request in point 10.1 for further research into the efficacy of autonomous learning to be fulfilled.
If you read this post of Jax's to the end, you'll get a further poignant indication of how this will adversely affect our children's education and the day-to-day lives of our families.