Stress testing the Badman report: points arising: Safeguarding
Today I'm summarising the main points arising from my critique of the Badman report [opens pdf] which are about safeguarding:
Possibly the main problem is that the report contains no mention of the harm caused to children and families by false positives and the inspection process, apart from very briefly in the SEN section, which then goes on to recommend a more stringent inspection process! As Allie said in comments here: "If people try to impose the rules of a vast, rigid system in their own (or worse still) other people's lives, then damage is done. People find themselves caught up - struggling, bending rules and hoping not get caught, or enforcing them and watching the ensuing suffering."
To bring in a system of regulation for home education on the basis of safeguarding would be a disproportionate response anyway, taken in context with what's known about the Statistical incidence of child abuse in home educating families (less than 50% the normal rate). As Jo said in comments here: "Home educators to my knowledge are not aware of any cases where existing powers, properly used,were insufficient."
The NSPCC admitted that there is no statistical evidence of abuse in home education, and NASWE in the report said:
EHE is not in itself a safeguarding issue..
The recommendations put more trust in Local Authority officers - strangers to the child - than in the child's own parents, but all of these officers aren't necessarily trustworthy. As Elaine said in a comment here: "..so 750000 people who could theoretically access a childs details 'find' an unticked box and toddle along with their I.D. card and demand to see the child... alone."
Point 11.2 of the report includes the following:
I have sought to strike a balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child, and offer, through registration and other recommendations, some assurance on the greater safety of a number of children.
And yet, as many others have pointed out, an hour spent in the company of a child once a year provides absolutely no assurance of that child's overall level of safety.
The last key 'safeguarding' point arising from the report, in my opinion, is in recommendation 24:
That the DCSF make such change as is necessary to the legislative framework to enable local authorities to refuse registration on safeguarding grounds. In addition local authorities should have the right to revoke registration should safeguarding concerns become apparent.
- because if a family is not deemed to be safe enough to home educate during the day time, then the child can't be left in its care at all. The point therefore defies logic.
Those are the points I've highlighted as being particularly problematic regarding safeguarding. Feel free to add your own in the comments.