Thursday, July 09, 2009

Stress testing the Badman report: looking for weak points: Part 9

Trying to decide on a posting schedule for this blog, I realised I haven't quite finished my detailed look at the Badman report [opens pdf], so I'll finish that over the next few days and then write a brief summary of its weak points, reluctant as I am to add to Mr Badman's many problems. I see there's also a detailed breakdown of the review on this blog - well worth a read.

To the report [opens pdf] then:

Section 9 is about funding:

9.1 Irrespective of any estimate of the number of children currently electively home educated, it is the case that should they return to school, they would immediately draw down the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) value for a child of their age within that locality. At present no such funding attaches to them on becoming electively home educated. Local authorities meet their own costs and the cost of services provided are met from within their own resources – which in part accounts for the disparity of support provision.

9.2 I do not believe this to be fair or just. Yes, they (sometimes) and their parents have chosen to leave the schooling system but they remain in education and the state has a responsibility to use its best endeavours to promote their safety and achievement. To implement the registration scheme and meet the other requirements of this report, will undoubtedly require further resources. However, recognising that these resources are part of a complex arrangement between local authorities and the DCSF, I recommend:

Recomendation 28

That the DCSF and the Local Government Association determine within three months how to provide to local authorities sufficient resources to secure the recommendations in this report.

- and I find it amusing that he talks about the AWPU being allocated "To implement the registration scheme and meet the other requirements of this report.." and not actually to educating the child. Typical!

The reason we've always had for not demanding the AWPU for our children (currently about £5000 a year?) is that we knew that the money would come with strings attached - exactly the strings set out in this report. Also, those of us who didn't have wage-earning partners could live on Income Support while we home educated, so we didn't really need the AWPU money. Neither situation (a single wage or income solely derived from benefits) was ideal for home educators, but the general consensus was that forfeiting the AWPU was a price worth paying for our freedom.

Now it seems, if Badman has his way, that we're to lose the freedom to home educate free from official interference - and in many cases our income (due to welfare reform) - and still not receive the AWPU! I think we should therefore review this stance urgently - if the Badman recommendations are implemented. Receipt of the AWPU - let's say, to the equivalent value of the average received by schools per child according to age, to allow for admin costs - would enable those of us who feel in the future forced to put our children into school because of financial impossibilities, to continue home educating. If the government wants us to jump through educational hoops, it must pay us to do so just as it pays the schools, and be thankful we're not demanding a full teacher's salary.


Blogger lotusbirther said...

I suppose I agree, but reluctantly - as I do not think these attached strings will serve any useful purpose whatsoever and should be cut off before they are even attached! Then again, that is what the vast majority of hom eeducators believe but apparantly we and our children are not considered important enough as human beings to actually have our views listened to and taken consideration of.

9:51 am, July 09, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

I only suggest it reluctantly, and I agree that the strings should first be cut and the status quo remain.

But this could be a bargaining card? It might even be sufficient to have the recommendations shelved, because if there really are 80,000 HEing children, then when you multiply each one by £5000 it comes to £250million per year - a serious cost implication.

10:13 am, July 09, 2009  
Blogger Maire said...

Yes i think it might be sufficient to have the recommendations shelved. We don't want to endorse it but we do want to issue a warning shot that if it is imposed on us we will seek recompense.

Just had the first decent reply to our many letters, will blog it as soon as I work out how the scanner works on our new all singing all dancing printer thingy.

10:30 am, July 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have maintained this for some time. If they decide to impose standards on us, then we should take the money that they are currently saving on 'educating' our children. I would also be encouraging those of us whose children were withdrawn from school because of bullying and other actionable offences to sue their respective LAs.


5:49 pm, July 09, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

I think any money offered would be taken off any means tested benefit we get so they might think it was an O.K idea as it would only cost them for parents working who are not any benefit iyswim? Even CB is payable to everyone so this could be used by them as a loop hole to get control over us and claw back the money via benefit stoppages. We end up no better off and they tell us how to HE cos they are technically "funding" our kids:( That is what I think will happen if they ever agreed to it and I don't think it would be voluntary.

10:19 am, July 10, 2009  
Blogger lynn said...

Surely on this basis though, all families who have decided to pay to have their children privately educated (which is what we are doing in essence), and are hence 'saving the state money' would also be entitled to this money? It will never happen.

11:03 am, July 11, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was one of the suggestions Badman made to people at H.E. groups - obviously he didn't propose it in his report.

The point is that should the recommendations go through then the state will be responsible for educating home educated children and we should demand parity with schooled children. They get funding. We should get funding.

This is probably why lots of Badman's recommendations will fall through.


4:35 pm, July 11, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Maire, yes as a warning shot was my intention.

Danae, I should have known you got there first. I thought someone must have, it seems to obvious doesn't it?

Ruth, indeed that's a possible downside, if it ever got that far.

Lynn, yes that's a definite counter-argument.

"This is probably why lots of Badman's recommendations will fall through."

Let's hope so Danae.

6:47 am, July 14, 2009  

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