Monday, June 15, 2009

He must have despised us from the start

I read something on one of the lists that suggested Graham Badman was very much against home education even during his time at Oxford in the late 90s. Unsubstantiated rumour perhaps (unless anyone would care to substantiate it..?) but I'm intrigued that he managed to read so much information from and spend so much time with home educators, and yet still come out with such a deliberately, calculatingly hard-hitting report. It's as if he didn't take on board one word of anything anyone said to him, but came to the review with his own preconceived prejudices, probably coupled with an unwritten extra remit from Ed Balls and I wouldn't be surprised if the result even exceeded government expectations in the end for its sheer unforgiving hostility. Did he have to go so far to earn his ermine or was there, I wonder, a malicious sense of vindictiveness in his motivation?

My guess is that we never stood a chance of getting any other result out of him, an establishment man through and through, of the generation that largely believes children must be whipped into learning, teachers must be whipped into teaching them and parents into facilitating that. We were never, in the six short months we had, going to entice him into a different mindset or anything remotely approaching one. Home education is an affront to someone like that; autonomous learning even more so. He was always going to turn on us, no matter how politely and attentively he feigned to listen. Agreeing with the premise of our lives would have been to disagree with his own, and he's far too old to contemplate - or even be capable of - that.

I said something along these lines back in January, though it gives me no pleasure to be so vindicated.

Forgive the repetition, but I'm going to indulge again in picking over some of his words about autonomous learning:

Or, does it present a more serious concern for a quality of education that lacks pace, rigour and direction[?]

Some of our ageing relatives still think this, even after witnessing many years of the absolute opposite in the children. They even think it while their computers are being expertly repaired by my older son and they're eagerly regaling their friends with talk of his business success, or his brother's skill with languages. They never join the dots between the two, because to do so would be too much of a mental upheaval for them.

The truth is, far from needing a 'broad and balanced' education, my older children needed - still do need - unlimited time to focus exclusively on whatever they were passionate about learning. Somehow, in and amongst all of that, they also picked up an amazing depth and range of understanding of history, geography, politics, science as well as more than adequate abilities in numeracy and literacy. And no, they haven't opted to do qualifications so far because they prefer to be free to follow their interests, and they're not worried about jobs because they want to work for themselves, or already are.

Living this way makes them happy, healthy and high-functioning - but it seems to me that the Badman report is the start of a process that's designed to prohibit those kinds of choices and to ensure that from now on, every child will grow up a prisoner of that system that Diana Johnson erroneously claimed home education was already a part of.

Well it's not good for everyone. It might not even be very good for anyone, but the system doesn't care about that: it only cares about itself.

12 Comments:

Blogger moley said...

"Did he have to go so far to earn his ermine or was there, I wonder, a malicious sense of vindictiveness in his motivation? "

Indeed!

Let's hope that we have an election in October before they get a chance to put their list together so he is denied his precious knighthood. B******d!!!

11:37 am, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Heidi said...

I suspect it's something of a minor miracle - and a testament to the autonomous home eddors GB met - that he didn't outlaw AHE immediately by insisting that we follow the NC or something similar, but only paved the way by suggesting that AHE and "minimum standards" be investigated further.

Or am I too naive, and he simply wants a second dip at the trough before the killing stroke?

12:23 pm, June 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only positive I can see is that there are things in there that will offed people who might otherwise have sat on the fence.
Not everyone but those who might have thought home visits reasonable are likely to see interviewing a child on their own at the discretion of an LA education bod as a step to far and lend support.
Oh and the second positive it hasn't thrown up evidence we were unaware of of lots of abuse in the home ed community.I couldn't see that there would be but I was definitely anxious.
Oh and third we may not be able to convince everyone but when we have the energy his review is so poorly done it is easy to pick apart and raise arguments against his opinion.
I am not feeling good about this but I still feel justified and secure in my choices for my children and I think he has lazily and closedmindely(?) left us opportunities for challenging it and for gaining support.
Jo x

12:52 pm, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

"his review is so poorly done it is easy to pick apart and raise arguments against his opinion."

See, that's what I thought when I read through it. And then I thought (with a pinch of optimism as well as a teaspoon full of satire):
Maybe this is Mr Badman's way of keeping everybody happy. He's met with so many home edders, heard and read their arguments, and has come to the conclusion that, actually, (autonomous) home education isn't so bad at all!
But then he had this deal with Balls to meet...
So his solution to the problem was to produce a report that he just knew home educators could successfully challenge! And - using another new skill he discovered from being amongst EHE'rs - he trusted that we wouldn't only challenge it, but forever make the whole issue disappear from the political agenda.

Well, if you have a name like his, it must be a lifetime dilemma to both live up to it and prove the opposite, don't you think?

2:48 pm, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

On the minimum standards they are following UN crc
2. No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principle set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article and to the requirements that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.

But we need to control as much as poss what actually becomes 'minimum' is not pie in the sky

However whilst following crc there they seem to be ignoring it here

the UN violence study
http://www.violencestudy.org/IMG/pdf/Omnibus_Resolution_Final_Version_Rights_of_the_Child_.pdf
It doesn't say give all xchildren access to somebody to confide in, it actually says

(o) To ensure that all victims of violence have access to appropriate childsensitive
health and social services; special attention should be paid to the genderspecific
needs of girls and boys who are victims of violence;

There is nothing that revokes these basic rights of the child

Article 9

1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.

Article 16

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

4:19 pm, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

Actually I (and they) may be wrong here because home ed is not an 'institution ' it is a human right ...or am I wrong again
'On the minimum standards they are following UN crc
2. No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principle set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article and to the requirements that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.''

5:52 pm, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Lisa G said...

That was my feeling when I read the recommendations - he must really dislike home education and positively hate autonomous home educators! Although it doesn't affect us in Wales yet (but it probably will to some degree eventually) we can only hope that there is a general election soon or this fades into the background - this lame govt has been seen to 'do something' but lets face it there's money involved and they don't have any.Other 'recommendations' on other areas inc education have fallen by the wayside in the past when spending has been required and I don't think the public would be in the mood to find large expenditure on policing home education acceptable when there is so little in the pot. Doesn't mean we shouldn't keep fighting it though, to my mind there is so much in it that can be pulled apart and challenged, it can surely be delayed and well, this govt only has a maximum of 11 months left and that's if they don't spontaneously combust first!

7:35 pm, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Louise said...

One of my worries is that even if the Tories were to be elected in the event of a general election, once a Labour government starts an attack on home-education, the next government will still carry it on but blame the previous one for starting it!!
Their ideas don't differ that much really, it just depends who is in power at the time. Has David Cameron spoke out in praise, of what a wonderful thing home-education is?

I doubt very much, with the growth and popularity of home-education (particularly the autonomous style), that a Tory government would just say "oh yes, let's let them get on with it how they choose"!! I still think they would want standards, monitoring, registration etc. I could be (hopefully) wrong though.

10:26 pm, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Raquel said...

The longer the Tories stay quiet on this, the more my vote goes elsewhere. they may think they have safely won the election collectively, but that doesn't mean all their MP's will get in. Individually in certain constituencies, individual Tory MP's may lose seats on this issue.

2:10 am, June 16, 2009  
Blogger Lisa G said...

In that case who do we vote for come the general election? The Lib Dems haven't exactly voiced an opinion as far as I can see and the Greens who I would have thought supported home ed are apparently neutral and have no chance of governing anyway. The tories have Mark Field who is supportive and seemed to know what he was talking about during the debate on home ed and the mainly tory Telegraph newspaper has come out against the review. As much as I hate to say it as I'm not a natural tory voter, thay are the only party who have voiced an opposing opinion to the review, however weak, and they have the best chance of winning an election, if not them then who, bearing in mind most politicians will promise you the world if you vote for them then quite happily go back on that as soon as they are elected!

9:15 am, June 16, 2009  
Blogger Lisa G said...

Whoops, meant to add, if they haven't already then perhaps one of the national home ed organisations can contact the main opposing parties for a statement with their reaction to the review, i know this would not be definitive but it would be a start, home ed families represent many thousands of voters.

9:28 am, June 16, 2009  
OpenID mum6kids said...

I don't think the review was written to make a strong point. No one who simply says "I believe" umpteen times in any kind of dissertation gives a monkeys how badly written it is.
It does the damage and that's all that matters to him and Balls.
There is a definate edge towards forcing a curriculum on us.
Autonomous ed can go to the wall as far as he is concerned and if I know Ed Balls ( and I do know his MO) those of us who are Christian are in deep doo doo as well.

Some Tories have spoken out-but Cameron is far too quiet on this.
The LibDems think Home ed should be unneccssary and the Greens won't support something as free as home ed. They have never struck me as pro-family.
So where do we go? Is UKIP really all there is? Surely not!

And on relatives-OH GOD do I know about that one!

8:46 pm, June 16, 2009  

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