Sir Gus O'Donnell
Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service
Dear Sir Gus O’Donnell
Conduct of the Review of Elective Home Education
The Department for Children, Schools and Families recently published its Review of Elective Home Education in England. The Review, which was conducted by Graham Badman, appears to be in breach of both the Nolan Committee's ‘The Seven Principles of Public Life’ and the Civil Service Code. Clearly, these are serious allegations and, if correct, undermine the legitimacy of, and public trust in, the Review and its conclusions.
The Review selectively quotes from submissions it received, including a fairly lengthy extract from the Education Division of the Church of England that expresses their concerns about home education. However, the Review does not quote the Church’s overall conclusion:
‘10 We have seen no evidence to show that the majority of home educated children do not achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes, and are therefore not convinced of the need to change the current system of monitoring the standard of home education. Where there are particular concerns about the children in a (sic) home-educating this should be a matter for Children’s Services.’
Such selective quotation does not meet the Civil Service Code in terms of:
• Objectivity - the report fails to presents the Church’s views accurately and, given the Review’s findings it effectively, ignores an ‘inconvenient fact’.
• Honesty – the report omits the Church’s view that they are not convinced of further reform, yet it does quote their concerns. An honest view would have included their concerns and their reservations about the need for further reform; as this would have ‘set out the facts and relevant issues truthfully’.
We have a large number of other concerns about the conduct of this Review (please see attached letter) to the extent that there may have been maladministration. We are raising this issue with you because of its seriousness.
Prof. Bruce Stafford Mrs Maire Stafford
Link to the Civil Service Code of Conduct.
Link to the 'The Seven Principles of Public Life.