Education: Home Schooling

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th January 2010.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 10 December (HL433), why the release of the reply to a questionnaire might lead to harassment if the existence of that reply has not; and on what evidence that statement was based.

Photo of Baroness Morgan of Drefelin Baroness Morgan of Drefelin Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Children, Young People and Families), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Children, Young People and Families)

We cannot say with absolute certainty that releasing Birmingham City Council's responses to the questionnaires would lead to harassment and vilification of specific individuals in the authority. This does, however, appear to the department to be a likely outcome. The internet campaign of vilification and harassment against Graham Badman and individual home educators who have declared they support aspects of the review has worried local authority officers. Some have suffered personal harassment through the internet, some have found individual home educators have ceased to co-operate with the local authority and others have come under severe pressure from repeated Freedom of Information Act requests which seem intended more to disrupt their day-to-day work than genuinely to be seeking relevant information.

We and individual local authorities keep the release of data under review, bearing in mind the nature and intensity of harassment and the risks this indicates. Some local authorities have decided that the risks to individual children and their employees are sufficiently low to release the questionnaire responses. These assessments can only be made at local level and bearing in mind the circumstances prevailing at a particular point in time.

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