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