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Badman Review of Home Education

The independent Badman Review of Home Education was launched in January 2009. In June 2009 the then Secretary of State Ed Balls accepted all Graham Badman's recommendations in principle but the only measures on which the Government proposed to legislate were concerned with the licensing scheme. The Government's Impact Assessment made it clear that the money which was set aside for the licensing scheme did not include an amount for support (LINK, since £53 million set-up costs and £30 million ongoing annual costs were exclusively for registration and monitoring. Ultimately, none of Graham Badman's suggestions were adopted by the Government. Legislation proposals were dropped in May 2010. There was cross-party opposition to the home education proposals at Second Reading as far back as January 2010.

Directly after the election in 2010 the new government scaled back the "Every Child Matters" agenda with its emphasis on the 5 outcomes. However, two Badman proposals somehow stayed in the civil service system after the election. Both proposals were ultimately rejected by Ministers. One recommendation was related to home education support which was for 10% of DSG to be available for home educators taking exams and this was ruled out in December 2010 because of the cuts. Many of us said this would never materialise, though consultation responses were largely favourable to the proposal. A second Badman recommendation which suddenly resurfaced long after the election required schools to retain home educated children on the roll for a further 20 days after parents wrote asking for the child's name to be removed. This was rejected by Minister Nick Gibb in May 2011.

Overview 2003-2010

Towards the end of 2003 the Government published the Every Child Matters Green Paper which was followed in 2004 by the Children Act. From 2006 the Government talked of a consultation which would cover light touch changes to the monitoring of home education. Meanwhile at the close of 2006 the Education and Inspections Act introduced the duty to identify Children Missing Education. Initial guidance suggested that home educated children were not the target of this measure. During the parliamentary debates on the Education and Inspections Bill at the close of 2006 Lord Adonis rejected suggestions that a "right to education" should be enshrined positively in law and set out his reasons here The message does not seem to have filtered down to civil servants in the DfES who continued to make plans for changes to the registration and monitoring of home education right up to a meeting with the Minister in February 2007.

In May 2007 the Government officially dropped the light touch changes plans and instead launched a consultation on draft elective home education guidelines for local authorities. The guidelines were subsequently published in November 2007. In the Summer of 2008 the Government introduced plans to revise the guidance on Children Missing Education and at the beginning of 2009 the Government published revised CME guidance and simultaneously launched the Badman Review of Home Education. Graham Badman submitted his report to Secretary of State Ed Balls at the end of May 2009. Controversial legislative proposals were introduced in November 2009 for a scheme to licence home education. In December 2009 the Select Committee published a highly critical report. After intense debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords at the last minute as part of the wash-up in April 2010 the Government withdrew the home education clauses and the proposed licensing measures were not carried into law.

Timeline 2003-2010

  • Every Child Matters Green Paper September 2003
  • Children Act 2004 (5 outcomes ECM + national database)
  • Govnt says there will be a"consultation on light touch changes to monitoring" Summer 2006
  • Lord Adonis writes to Lord Judd about a child's right to education, October 2006. See letter here
  • Education Inspection Act 2006 (children missing education) House of Lords Autumn 2006, royal assent November 2006
  • Consultation on Children Missing Education guidance closed November 2006
  • Consultation on national children's database (subsequently called ContactPoint) closed December 2006
  • Education Otherwise summoned to London to hear about light touch changes to monitoring and suitable education December 2006
  • Start of Series of Regional Workshops
  • Ahed Anomaly Postcard Campaign February 2007
  • DfES emails covering period where registration and monitoring plans were dropped, most notably February 15th 2007
  • February 2007 statutory guidance on Children Missing Education says it doesn't apply to home education
  • May 2007 light touch changes plans publicly dropped and consultation on Home Education draft Guidelines instead
  • Many LAs astonished having been promised light touch changes by Elaine Haste at DfES
  • Meanwhile Spring 2007 onwards, Government announces school leaving age to be raised, but forget to say that home education will still be legal (ie not have to be attending educational institution)
  • September 2007 Time to Talk - opportunity to challenge Ministers and civil servants in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Portsmouth.
  • November 2007 Elective Home Education Guidelines published
  • Government finally confirmed that home education would be legal when the school leaving age was raised. November 2007.
  • April 2008 meeting about misuse of Children Missing Education regulations. Civil servant left post shortly afterwards after promising to keep in touch and apprise of new developments.
  • May 2008 discovery of Simon Grigor's data definition workshops and projected consultation on new draft guidelines children missing education
  • May 2008 Khyra Ishaq died in Birmingham. Council began spin to put blame on home education legislation. Government expected trial, verdict, Serious Case Review summary early Summer 2009 (see announcement Badman Inquiry into Home Education January 2009 to report to Ed Balls May 2009)
  • July 2008 consultation launched on Children Missing Education new guidance
  • August 2008 meeting civil servants re Children Missing Education, told that home education rules are to be changed because of concerns about Forced Marriage
  • Meeting Baroness Morgan September 2008 who said Children Missing Education was about location, not about assessment of suitability
  • Up to end of 2008, revised guidance Children Missing Education publication delayed.
  • January 19th 2009 revised guidance published on Children Missing Education. Completely overshadowed by announcement of launch of Badman Inquiry.
  • Also on January 19th 2009, Badman Inquiry launched into home education under headline MORGAN: IS HOME EDUCATION A COVER FOR FORCED MARRIAGE AND DOMESTIC ABUSE. Graham Badman urgently required to complete report by May 2009 (see Khyra Ishaq death in Birmingham May 2008)
  • Jeremy Vine show with Vijay Patel from NSPCC
    "if somebody came to mend my gas boiler, I would expect them to know about gas"
  • Meeting EO, HEAS, barrister Ian Dowty, Lord Lucas with Graham Badman February 2009
  • Meeting EO, HEAS, barrister Ian Dowty, Lord Lucas with Graham Badman March 2009
  • June 2009 Government response to Badman Report
  • Early July 2009 Khyra Ishaq mistrial declared (two jurors ill), and case drops out of public view which is not what Government expected. See Khyra Ishaq death in Birmingham May 2008 and announcement of Badman Inquiry January 2009 with urgent requirement to report by May 2009.
  • Draft legislative programme mentioned that changes to law on home education would be included in Queen's Speech. No further details at this stage.
  • Government launched consultation on home education registration and monitoring proposals in new legislation (which nobody had seen)
  • July 2009 Home Educated Children are Not Missing (postcards)
  • MP Mark Field Early Day Motion against Badman Review recommendations July 2009
  • 22nd July 2009 Select Committee announced inquiry into Badman Review and called for evidence. Aspersions cast on methodology, shoddy research, dodgy statistics, first premise, policy-based evidence making etc.
  • August 2009 EO released videos about home education on the Education Otherwise youtube channel
  • September 2009 meeting with Minister Diana Johnson. Lord Lucas gave valuable insights into the process for the wash-up at the end of parliament which home educators were able to put to good use. September 2009 deadline for submissions to Select Committee. Professor James Conroy (whom we had brought on to Graham Badman's Expert Panel) told the Select Committee that the Badman Review was "slap dash, panic driven, and nakedly and naively populist"
  • Mass lobby of parliament by home educating families, October 2009 Photo from mass lobby and note from the organiser of the mass lobby
  • Nationwide Not Back To School Picnics. Media and MPs briefed.
  • October 2009 Select Committee witness sessions. Further aspersions cast on methodology, research, dodgy statistics, policy-based evidence-making etc. Witnesses met MP Graham Stuart. Mooted idea of All Party Parliamentary Group on Home Education and mass petition to parliament from multiple constituencies.
  • Education Otherwise Parliamentary Event House of Commons October 2009
  • November 2009 Queens Speech. Details of proposed legislation unveiled.
  • December 2009 Education Otherwise publishes Briefing Paper on proposed changes to law on home education.
  • December 2009 Mass presentation of petitions to parliament. This is an historic night etc. 300+ petitions in total. Watch mass presentation anti-Badman Review petitions to parliament Tuesday December 8th 2009
    Read Hansard mass presentation anti-Badman Review petitions December 8th 2009
  • Select Committee publishes report critical of Badman Inquiry December 2009.
  • Open Letter to the Guardian with 1,000+ signatories January 2010
  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Home Education Open Meeting with Ministers January 2010
  • Education Otherwise postcard to all MPs before 2nd Reading. January 2010
  • Education Otherwise publishes Position Statement January 2010. Refusal to countenance or put forward any amendments to the Bill.
  • Second Reading Children and Families Bill January 11th 2010.Cross party opposition to proposed home education measures
  • January 2010 Public Bill Committee dominated by criticism of proposed change to law on home education. Education Otherwise tells MPs not to expect any help in implementing new measures or softening the edges. Implacably opposed.
  • February 2010 Press Release on abject failings of Birmingham Social Services (see Khyra Ishaq mistrial)
  • March 2010 All Party Parliamentary Home Education Group Briefing Event House of Lords
  • March 2010 EO sent postcards to all peers in advance of Second Reading Children Schools and Families Bill in House of Lords
  • March 2010 successfully lobbied DCSF to change guidance to LAs on procedure for home educated children with statement SEN.
  • April 2010 Minister Baroness Morgan compelled to propose amendment against the Government's own clause 19, effectively ending the attempt to introduce licensing scheme for home educating families. Education Otherwise Press Release - HOME EDUCATION LICENSING SCHEME THROWN OUT IN LAST MINUTE WASH-UP
  • June 2010 General Election. Coalition Government.


The past 20 years have seen considerable upheaval and promised/threatened changes to the regulation and monitoring of home education. The previous Government briefed selected local authorities in some considerable detail on promised changes to home education which later failed to materialise. This caused resentment and confusion. Alternatively, the Government would suddenly throw out an urgent call for views in response to some perceived crisis. Unsurprisingly nobody really knew what was happening; rumours and counter-rumours were rife; councils set up new systems and paperwork in anticipation of promised changes or alternatively put everything on hold while they waited to see how events unfolded. I explored this theme in my written evidence to the Education Committee, 2012.