Stress testing the Badman report: looking for weak points: Part 4
Continuing from yesterday then:
Well, for a report that
believe[s] it is important to try to capture the views of the many home educators who contributed to this review
- according to section 4.1, it spectacularly fails in that respect, doesn't it?
4.2 is vague beyond belief, saying nothing about number, detail or proportion:
4.2 In the main, home educators in their responses through questionnaire, email, letter and interview were fiercely defensive of their rights and actions. There were some who welcomed the visits of local authority officers and the support offered through drop-in centres, resources and materials and some argued for more regularised monitoring and intervention. However, there were those who wanted nothing from the local authority nor any contact with it.
And in 4.3, he deliberately chooses one quote from a response that seems designed to set public opinion even further against us.
And section 4.4 talks patronisingly about:
a heady mixture of pent up rage, frustration, resentment and a rejection of third party judgement.
Badman the psychoanalyst, hey? Still, it figures...
The point goes on to muse:
In seeking to understand such responses it is important to examine the reasons why elective home education was chosen by parents in the first place.
- and quotes from 'a study commissioned by the then Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in 2007' which basically says reasons vary, but which Mr Badman interprets as placing..
further emphasis on parents disillusionment with schools and their inability to meet their child’s needs as they saw them.
In section 4.5, he adds the finishing flourishes to his picture of us as being a bunch of manically egotistical oddballs:
4.5 My own conversations with individuals and groups of home educating parents would confirm the above with the addition of a significant number who chose this route for ideological and philosophical reasons or simply because they believe they “can do it better”.
Failing to mention the vast majority of us who actually just want to - I don't know - parent our children (strange as that may seem) instead of delegating this to a school to do every day.
4.6 Whatever the reasons, I believe it is important for local authorities both to analyse and consider why an increasing number of parents are choosing elective home education both for the betterment of children services as a whole and the monitoring and support of electively home educated children.
This makes me think that it's the increasing numbers of elective home educators that are worrying to the powers-that-be. In fact, I believe someone's MP has said as much in an email response. We are starting to be seen as a threat to the system: an escape route that must be stopped. I think that's what this is about, and really nothing to do with concerns about children's safety or quality of education.
Points 4.7 and 4.8 go on to give a disproportionate amount of space to the submissions of various associations and bodies including one from the Church of England, about which Mieke has expertly blogged here. She highlights it as yet another example of selective quoting from the report, because actually the full Church of England submission later states that it is:
not convinced of the need to change the current system of monitoring the standard of home education.
A crucial and highly suspect omission, I think.
But it's a most curious thing that, having dismissed out of hand the detail of what most of us have said in response to his review-based questions, Mr Badman then, in point 4.9, attaches 'significance' to our collective complaints about EO's bombshell:
’Education Otherwise’, a home education group, in a detailed set of proposals, listed recommendations they would wish to see as a consequence of the review. However, this evidence apart, what I believe to be of significance was that the immediate response of many other home educators was to disown any such series of proposals and distance themselves from the arguments put forward.
So our many emails etc. did have some effect and were being read - they were just largely ignored when they didn't fit with the recommendations he wanted to make in this report.
I can't see the point of the 'representative body' he recommends after point 4.10, if his key recommendations about conditional temporary registration are enacted. Local authorities will have all the power and any pretence of sharing this with home educators will be just that: pretence.