Friday, 18 September 2009

Fisking Graham Badman's Plea to Local Authorities for Some Evidence

Letter contained in this request from Badman via the DCSF.

Wonder who asked him to do this so long after the Report has been published and why?

Directors of Children’s Services
All local authorities in England
17 September 2009
Select Committee hearing on the Review of Elective Home Education in
I am writing to make you aware of the forthcoming Select Committee hearing
in early October which is likely to examine the evidence from the various
sources which led me to make the 28 recommendations in my Review. The
Review recognised that most home educators do a good job and that they
should be supported by local authorities (LAs) in accessing appropriate
services for their children. You may be aware from press reports and activity
within your local authority that some sections of the home educating
community are questioning some of the LA evidence which assisted me in
arriving at my conclusions.

Well it’s not exactly the evidence but the claims made from it and its selective use isn’t it.  And let’s face it, most of the conclusions.

I had a good response from LAs to my call for evidence to inform the Review.
This provided a rich source of contextual information which I considered
alongside submissions from individuals and a wide range of organisations
with relevant expertise. Most of my recommendations have not been
challenged, reflecting the sound evidence base.

Well as we know that’s another porky, there is no evidence base for the conclusions that’s why he is on hands and knees begging for evidence.

However, a small group of home educators have refused to accept my conclusion that ‘the number of children known to children’s social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to the size of the home educating population’
with others disputing the evidence base that shows that a small but significant
proportion of home educated children are receiving no, or an inadequate,

Well we are in a position to know that it isn’t a small number and includes a professional statistician, a professional public policy researcher and a retired ofsted inspector.  Together with many highly intelligent home educators used to rigorous research in educating their children and answering far too many vexatious consultations from this government.

I would like to strengthen (dig some evidence from under a stone) my statistical evidence in advance of the Select Committee hearing so that it is more extensive and statistically robust. This would allow the Select Committee to consider good quality factual information that supplements the qualitative analyses underpinning my report. For this reason I need a response to this letter by 1 October.
DCSF’s ‘Star Chamber’ gave approval for this voluntary data collection on 15

Why we ask when he is supposed to be ‘independent’ and home educators are unable to ask him questions as he has finished his work on the report?

For those LAs which did not submit information earlier
In the course of the Review we collected statistical evidence from a sample of
local authorities on vulnerable children who were home educated. This
provided persuasive evidence for change. However, it was a small sample
and we would like to supplement this data in order to provide more statistically
rigorous information to the Select Committee about safeguarding and
educational issues that affect home educated children. The supplementary
information we are seeking is described below and we would be grateful if you
could indicate for each dataset whether the figures are accurate or estimates.
Home educated children where there are child protection concerns
Each year local authorities return statistics on the number of referrals,
assessments and children who are subject to a child protection plan (the
‘CPR3’ return). We would be grateful if you could identify the number of home
educated children of compulsory school age who are the subject of child
protection plans using the attached spreadsheet (information reproduced
below for ease of reference). We will compare this information on home
educated children with the wider child population using the 2008-09 CPR3

Ah an inspired thought here, he must be a genius.  (Ooops sarcasm, that’s going to get me barred then!)

CPR3 Category Number of EHE children
Electively home educated children
who were the subject of a child
protection plan at 31 March 2009
Number of electively home educated
children in local authority
Inadequate education
Please can you provide information about the number of electively home
educated children of compulsory school age not receiving a suitable
Number not receiving any education
Number receiving some education but
not a full time education
 Wait a minute when I last looked there was no definition of full time.
Number receiving a full time but not
‘suitable’ education 
Don’t we need to know why here so we can make sure that the Local Authority is not acting outside the law?  
Number not cooperating with
monitoring so no assessment can be
Wait a minute when I last looked Local Authorities had no duty to monitor.
Known to home educate but no
assessment yet
Total number of electively home
educated children not known to be
receiving a ‘suitable education’
 Again are these judgements valid, we know how often they are not.
School attendance orders
Number issued in past 12 months to electively home educated children
(please do not include any child more than once).

 Well if the LA is doing its job this should be the same as children not receiving a suitable education shouldn’t it.
The Connexions Service carries out an annual survey of year 11 leavers to
check their destination. Please can you forward any figures you have for the
2008 leavers cohort who were home educated,

There are no home educated children in the 2008 leavers cohort by definition, where would they have left?  Home educated children can carry on being educated at home until they are 19 so this data would be nonsense.  (again sigh)

showing the number or percentage that were classified as Not Settled in a Full Time Activity, when this survey was carried out, and comparative information for all young people in this cohort.
This at least is an attempt at legitimate data collection, shame that the question is wrong.

The attached Annex helps explain the different categories that
contribute to this total.
Missing children (runaways)
Local authorities should hold information about missing children. If you have
information available that identifies their last known education setting, please
could you provide the total number of missing children and indicate how many
were electively home educated prior to their disappearance.
Background information/case studies
Please add any information or explanations you think would be helpful in
returning this information.
Some local authorities have already provided anonymised
(and we know how carefully anonymised they are NOT)
 case studies illustrating the difficult circumstances that LAs face in making decisions in relation to home educating families: we would be grateful for any further case
studies you are able to provide. These will be treated in strictest confidence,
bearing in mind the significant damage that could be caused if any child could
be identified through any form of disclosure of individual or grouped
information of this type.
We need this information by 1 October in order to collate it in time for the
Select Committee hearing. Therefore we would be very grateful if you could
return information on the attached excel spreadsheet to the secure mailbox by 1 October. If you are unable to
complete the entire form we would be very grateful for a partial return as we
appreciate that your administrative systems may not be set up to provide
everything we are requesting.
If you have any questions about this letter please contact Lisa White on 01325
391162 or
I am very grateful for your assistance while the Review was under way, and
for your continuing support for DCSF as they carry out their consultation on
legislation to implement a registration and monitoring system. I believe that
my proposals will improve support for home educators, and raise the status
and quality of home education,

(Excuse me, raise it in the way your slurs of abuse have already done, your twisting of the evidence and you desire to see our children on their own, that sort of help we can do without)

and hope that you will help me make the strongest possible case to the Select Committee in October.  I can well imagine.

He should have added be careful what you say because my recommendations are about to land you with and immense amount of extra work with an incredibly hostile population and we won’t be giving you a penny to help.

Yours sincerely
Graham Badman CBE

Right jumping to conclusions myself, must consider the spreadsheet.

Click to see larger.

Not commenting on this because it has been said above.


emma said...

Oh oh oh I love it that he signs it CBE!!!!

I am thinking that this is very very good news for us. we challenge the report, the acceptance and the proposed legislative prograsmme because BADMAN AND THE DCSF ALSO KNOW that their statistics are inadequate. not just incomptent but knowingly presenting a partial picture.

the funny thing is that we've collected the evidence through the FOIs and have nothing to fear from the information being provided to him :-D

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute when I last looked Local Authorities had no duty to monitor.

[Graham Badman:] Well, please do not tell them in that case."

Maire said...

Emma I do hope it is good news especially if someone points out the wording of the question asking for totals of unsuitable education.

Anonymous lol, but we are not quite so obliging are we, I am afraid we will tell and very loudly too.

Elaine said...

"The Star Chamber ensures that new data collection exercises do not create unnecessary burden; do not duplicate in content existing collections"

Anonymous said...

Everybody has said everything I was going to say.

I find it incredible that a select committee granted him more time to try to dig up more weird and wonderful ways to prove that we are - well - weird and wonderful.

Unless they are just waiting to see what utter drivel he is going to come up with this time.

We should have a professional statistician sitting in the committee room, ready to rip him apart. Sorry, I meant rip the stats apart.

Hannah said...

I'm hoping this is good news too.

This is probably not relevant but I was at a talk by an adult ASD service last week and they were saying that ALL of the NEET statistics are flawed anyway - for instance, if a person enrols on a course and leaves (even after a few days) they do not show up as NEET for another year.

Firebird said...

Good point about the NEETs. That he's asking this question means one of two things.

1, he's an idiot, or 2, he knows full well that the data will be meaningless but hopes that he'll get something back that makes HE look bad.

I think we need to point out the obvious flaws in the questions right now, because Badman and his masters clearly count on us not having the results to comment on, and rip to pieces, before the Committee meets.

Jem said...

"I think we need to point out the obvious flaws in the questions right now"

Agreed. And we have until midday on the 22nd to do it if such complaint is to be heard by the Select Committee.

Carlotta said...

Thank you for staying calm enough to go through this, Maire. I agree with all your criticisms.

leboeufsurletoit said...

This may interest you:

This is a Commons select committee; at this stage questions are being asked about whether the intake of kids with Special Educational Needs by the English "Academies" is at an appropriate level, (q176).

After replies by other witnesses, Graham Badman interjects, :
"When you have a strong partnership between schools, authorities should not be afraid to use their powers of direction. We can direct admissions where there are special educational needs or looked-after children, and I do. That applies to Academies as well."

A Committee member corrects him twice.

Mr Badman's response at this point is most interesting, remember , this is in front of a Commons Select Committee.

He does not continue to maintain his position.
He doesn't admit that he is wrong.

Instead he says, "Well, please do not tell them in that case."

Was it said earnestly?
Was this done with a knowing wink?

What we can surmise is that by refusing to argue the point, Mr Badman, has tacitly admitted that he was wrong.

It would be possible at this juncture for Mr Badman to have said, "I'm sorry, I have made a mistake, on my return to my desk I will inform my subordinates and the Academies in my county of my error." He does not.

Instead he asks the others to join him in his subterfuge.
The end of achieving the appropriate intake into the Academies of the "correct" number of SEN pupils, as defined by Mr Badman, is given precedence over the means; which is asking other parties to break the law; in front of a Commons Select Committee.

If it was said in earnest, what can we conclude?
That Mr Badman sees himself as above the law?
That he has been careless in revealing this attitude in front of a Select Committee?

If it was said jokingly, what can we conclude?
That Mr Badman is accustomed to riding roughshod over the law in the privacy of the corridors of power and has revealed this by letting his guard slip and being unable to bring himself to admit to an error in front of a colleague?

What would such a character do in a hypothetical situation where he was looking to marshal evidence in support of a particular argument?

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