Saturday, 26 September 2009

2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education

Nicked from Lisa at Renegade Parent in her post The-2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education.

who tells us they  "Can be found by clicking on this link to the2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education.
Just in case any poor soul arrives elsewhere and can't find them.
As they seem to have gone missing, why don't you link to them, too? In order that no-one slips through the net (and we know how important that is to Balls and co.) please link back to here - and to everyblogger else who does this."

And there now many very interesting takes on this situation,

Jax at Making it Up in her post Are We Just A Crackpot Minority complains that home educators are getting review fatigue as it is only a few years ago that we all had to make time in our busy lives to contribute to  the consultation that led to the missing guidelines,

And here we are again giving up nearly a year of our lives to defending ourselves against the Badman Review.

Debs at Muddy Bare Feet finds it very hard not to see this latest turn of events as suspect in her post 2007 Elective Home Education Guidelines removed from DCSF website and she links to AHEDs letter to the DCSF asking Where are They?

Gill at Sometimes it's Peaceful in her post Links to 2007 EHE guidance for local authorities? asks 'Does anybody know why?'

Tech at Freedom of Education Under Threat in her post DCSF Disappears EHE Guidelines down the memory hole  finds the the disappearance of the guidelines just before the select committee may need access to them very Orwellian.  Be sure to read Elaine's comment regarding a fantasy world of Badmen and virtual schoolrooms.

T at Globeonmytable  in his post  EHE Guidelines 2007 list all the people who may need access to the guidelines.

The Jumps post on The Mystery of the Missing Guidelines  points out that since the guidelines are still current they should be available.

Raquel at The Polytunnel  provides a link to them in her post 2007 Elective Home Education Guidelines

Blogdial explains the memory hole in his post 2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education.

Lynn at A Life Worth Living in her post 2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education thanks fellow home edders for saving a copy.

At Home Educating the Puddle Chicks Merry makes the point that these guidelines were paid for by taxpayers money in her post Where have all the guidelines gone?.

At Sunnydaytodaymama Sunnymama in her post The 2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education  tells us where we can find the guidelines and who else is blogging about them.

While Ruth at Just Life by the Sea in her post The Mystery of the Missing 2007 HE Guidelines  thinks the the DCSF were never really happy with them because they mostly adhered to current law.

Annkrozeika at What Shall We Do Today has come back to blogging after a short break in order to make sure the guidelines are available in her post The 2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education.

While Carlotta at Dare to Know finds that her link to the guidelines very strangely suddenly leads to the Badman Report in her post More on the Missing Guidelines.

Firebird at Educating out of the Box in her post Farewell 2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education thinks that this proves that the current consultation is a sham and I wouldn't disagree. 

Home Education Forums report Data Loss at the DCSF.

At Not Cricket Vinny finds losing the 2007 Guidelines for Local Authorities on Elective Home Education clumsy and absent minded.

And Elaine provides a roundup at Elective Home Education Guidelines 2007 England.

Your really couldn't make it up.

 have I missed anybody?

If so please give me the heads up by email or in the comments section.

Google Bomb

Well my last post was a test to see if I could do this, based on this post below by a badman group member.
I didn't really get it right so corrections follow....

We could try google/link bombing.

Select some specific words and phrases, then make each of these into a link to favoured websites. The key is to have as many blogs etc do this as possible so that when someone searches on one of these words/phrases, our links are at the top of the search. I think it helps to press the links a lot too.

So for eg, every time you write the phrase "home education", make it link to the ahed home page like so:>home education

You need a concerted effort of a number of bloggers etc for this to have a real impact on the search engines.

Other possible examples:
when you type 'badman' be sure to link to

when you type 'ed balls' be sure to link to

when you type 'home education review' be sure to link to

when you type 'badman report' be sure to link to

There are many more examples you can use. The important thing is that people work collectively to do this. You need people using the same links to specific phrases or it wont work.


sort of but not really :D

Okay so possible changes to your post -

The phrase "DCSF Select Committee" should link to a page critical of what they are up to. Once you choose a good post for that, you need as many bloggers as possible to ALWAYS link that phrase to that same post. This way, it gets bumped up the search engine listings until every time someone searches on that phrase, your chosen link will be the top suggestion on google etc. I would recommend choosing a second such article/blogpost to link to for when people use just "DCSF". Remember similar search terms.

The phrases "Graham Badman" and "Badman" should ALWAYS be linked to

The phrase "Review of Elective Home Education" should have it's own designated link. So should "Elective Home Education", and so should "Home Education".

"Ed Balls" should ALWAYS link to

If you can think of other suggestions, make a list. Then that list should be circulated to all relevant bloggers. Each of you (Im not blogging atm Im afraid) should put up a single blog post with this list, simply like this:

DCSF Select Committee
Review of Elective Home Education
Elective Home Education
Home Education
Graham Badman
Ed Balls

etc etc, each item on the list linking to their designated blogpost/webpage. Include at the end of this list a request for supporters to repost the list on their own blogs, complete with the SAME links. Take the time to click on the links and ask your friends to do that too. Before you know it the search engines will have caught on that your links are the most popular for those phrases.

Also - in future blog posts, when you use any of those phrases, use the same links from the list. Its important to be consistent in that.

What do people think, is it worth the effort involved in synchronizing our methods?

Can the DCSF get away with obstructing their own Scutiny Committee

So the DCSF Select Committee are about to scrutinise Graham Badman's Review of Elective Home Education, commissioned by and accepted in full on the day of publication by Ed Balls.

And now the Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities, which the very questions in the original consultation review had suggested breaking have disappeared from the DCSF website.

This review is an attempt by government to control our lives and our minds and intrude on our families and it is not just in the matter of home education that they plan to do this.

They and the systems they set up are dishonest and incompetent and cannot be trusted.

A few other thoughts on the matter here and here and here and here and here and

Are you on twitter?

Saturday, 19 September 2009

DCSF Still Refusing to Give Evidence Behind The Review of Elective Home Education

Our Foi asking for the evidence, for Badman's recommendations has been refused .

Here is our reply to the refusal.

Thank you for your delayed reply to my FOI made on 1st July 2009; it has taken 80 days, four times your legal limit for you to refuse to give us this information.

We have some specific comments on your letter.

1) You said:

‘I think it is likely that some confusion has arisen with the statement at paragraph 8.12 of the report of the review which indicated that 'the number of children known to children's social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to the size of theirhome educating population'.

Yes and we feel strongly that this misunderstanding could have been entirely avoided if (a) a properly designed questionnaires had been used to collect the data from local authorities in the first instance; and (b) there had been full disclosure of a summary of the data and its sources in the report when it was  published.  It is unacceptable that so many people have had to make FOI requests to get at the evidence unpinning paragraph 8.12.  If there is any confusion it appears to fall at the door of the Department about what constitutes good practice in policy making.  We still await the statistical evidence underpinning the claim made in paragraph 8.12.

2) You go on to say:

‘As background, a copy of information that has already been released to other FOI requesters can be found attached to the Department reply at There is a calculation error in the fourth point of this release.’

Please confirm whether the ‘fourth point’ is the statement:

‘Extrapolating to the national level (150 LAs), this means around 1350 home education children are known to social care in some capacity (6.75%).’

Also please let us know the nature of this error and what the ‘fourth point’ should have said.

3) In addition:

‘Section 40. Having carefully reviewed the information, the Department considers that the absolute exemption at section 40 of the Act is engaged because the some of information requested constitutes personal data, disclosure of which would contravene the data protection principles. Data are 'personal data' if, taken with 'other information' they enable a living individual to whom the data relate to be identified.’

We unreservedly accept that such personal data should not be released.  However, we just need to know the proportions of home educated and the proportion of non home educated children for each heading for which data was collected, we need assurances that this is comparable data, and an account of how the data were collected.

4) Furthermore:

‘Section 41 (information provided in confidence) is engaged because this information was imparted in circumstances whereby those providing it did so in the expectation that it would remain confidential because of its very nature. The Department therefore considers that disclosure of it to the public would constitute an actionable breach of confidence.’

There is no problem here as aggregate data will not reveal data about individuals.  This is not an argument for not releasing the data at aggregate level.

5) On the public interest test, you said:

‘In addition the following qualified exemption, requiring a public interest test, is engaged:

Section 38(1)(a) and (b) this section 38 provides that information is exempt if its disclosure under the Act would, or would be likely, to

(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual; or

(b) endanger the safety of any individual.

This exemption is subject to the public interest test which means that even where prejudice or likely prejudice can be demonstrated, it is still necessary to consider whether in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure. This exemption covers events that could reasonably be expected but do not have to be definitely foreseeable.’

Again aggregate data cannot do that.

6) With respect to the ‘balancing test’ you say:

‘Having carried out the balancing test, the Department takes the view that it is not in the public interest for the any of the further information to be released.’

This is not a reasonable stance to adopt.  The only quantitative claim made in the Review that there is a ‘problem’ with respect to home education and safeguarding concerns is made in paragraph 8.12.  The data underpinning this claim MUST be subject to critical scrutiny – something that has not yet happened since it is unclear precisely what data was used, hence our FOI.  Failure to scrutinise this data risks implementation of the Review’s recommendations that could cause significant harm to home educated children.  At the moment, the evidence unpinning paragraph 8.12 is untested, and the public interest will not be served until it is.

If it is not the public interest to release this data even at aggregated level so that the case for change can be seen by all; then in what sense is it in the public interest for the author of the Review to be allowed to collect data after the review was ostensibly completed.  Data that relates to a claim he makes in paragraph 8.12

The public interest test does not appear to be being applied consistently.

The information Commissioner will no doubt be able to see this exchange which has taken place after our referral when using the link we have sent to this conversation.

And some afterthoughts.

We wish to make some more comments on your letter.

You say,

‘While I appreciate that it is in no way a justification I should like to explain that the Department makes every effort to meet deadlines, but the delay in responding in this case has been due to the unusual volume of requests the Department has received in recent months. The Information Commissioner has been informed of the situation.’

The solution is, of course, to redeploy staff so that they can answer the FOIs.  Otherwise the department risks looking as though it is being obstructive and stonewalling.

You say,

I am not clear which media reports quoted Mr Badman in the way that you suggest above. For information a link to the Department's press release of 11 June is here:

Been there seen it before.  Possibly the Department’s own press office is slipping up – they should have copies of all press reports mentioning the Department, perhaps the author of this letter could ask her colleagues, or may be go to: and

You say,

I think it is likely that some confusion has arisen with the statement at paragraph 8.12 of the report of the review which indicated that 'the number of children known to children's social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high relative to the size of their home educating population'.

Yes and we feel strongly that this misunderstanding is entirely intentional and if evidence of that is needed it can be found in the absence of any clarification by the DCSF even though this misinformation is damaging actual real children.  That Badman is having a third go at collecting the data to support this claim, suggests that any confusion is confined to the Review not home educating parents.  It also imples a level of incompetence in collecting data for the Review that is utterly staggering.

You say.

As you will appreciate the Department cannot consider the release of information which it does not hold, but with regard to your requests we have taken them to refer to the information underpinning the reference
in paragraph 8.12 as this is likely to be more helpful to you. As background, a copy of information that has already been released to other FOI requesters can be found attached to the Department reply at There is a calculation error in the fourth point of this release. This has however been released because it is information which the Department holds and which appears to be within - or most nearly within - scope of your request, and which does not engage exemptions under the Act. I understand that the error does not affect the overall findings at paragraph 8.12 of Mr Badman's report.

As Delyth Morgan Dawn Primalo is now on record in letters to Home Educators saying that this is not the evidence that the review recommendations are based on I self evidently don’t accept that this is the evidence most nearly within the scope of our request.

We and the home educating community are still waiting.

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.

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