"There has to be something that comes from the parents."
But initially, I just wanted to highlight something Graham Badman said that particularly worried me, about autonomous learning. I'm paraphrasing from memory at this stage, but it went something like this:
"Whether the child is going to be a champion chess player, or a footballer or whatever, I don't mind. But achievement and ambition are important and you have to be able to set that out. You cannot leave it laissez faire. There has to be something that comes from the parents."
- in the context of advanced planning for autonomous home educators.
Does Graham Badman really believe that:
- All children and/or their parents always know what they're going to do for a living when they grow up?
- Parents set their children's ambitions for them?
- There's some precise way of knowing (in the absence of a crystal ball with guaranteed effectiveness) what a child's going to be or do in advance?
Because what he said indicates that he does.
At no point during Tom's education could I have told anyone with confidence: "He's going to set up a successful computer repair business and therefore his education should be planned in preparation for that." In fact, depending on what stage I'd been asked, I'd have had to say something completely different. For a large chunk of time he was fascinated with buildings, so I'd have said he might end up being an architect. If I'd have then planned his education with this end in mind, it wouldn't have been right for him and I can only know that with hindsight.
Ditto with Ali - there's no way I could have known that his passion as a young adult would be Russian language and linguistics in general. Seven years ago, he was into Japanese! In the intervening years he's had a variety of passions, including climbing. Under Badman's proposals I'd have therefore educated him in preparation for a career as a mountaineer, which wasn't what he wanted in the end at all!
We cannot know in advance, what our children are going to want (or need) to learn.
To properly consider their unique and changing aptitude, as well as their age and ability according to our Section 7 duties, we need to have complete flexibility. We can't plan 12 months in advance. We can't dictate (or magically somehow predict) their ambitions, their interests - their aptitude.
Graham Badman knows about schools and school provision. What he's just said in the SCI hearing clearly demonstrates, once again, that he knows absolutely nothing about home education and how it actually works.