Friday, December 18, 2009

Welsh concerns following the Badman report

Welsh Grand Committee in Parliament yesterday

Mark Williams: Before the hon. Gentleman moves on from education, he will be aware of the concerns expressed by many of our constituents about the implications of the Badman report. The Bill to which he alluded gives the National Assembly, quite rightly, the power to undertake an inquiry and to take action as it sees fit. Does he share the concerns of many of us in Wales about the knock-on effects of the Badman report on home education throughout Wales?

Mr. Llwyd: Like the hon. Gentleman, I have been lobbied extensively about the Badman report, and I presented a petition on it to Parliament last week. Currently, it is an England-only matter, and, to be honest, I have considerable faith that the National Assembly will be able to deal with things differently, as it did very early on in abolishing the rather strange tests that popped up all the time. We do things slightly differently in Wales, and sometimes we do them better. I believe that this is a case in point, and that we can and will be able to deal with the matter in a more acceptable way.

Lembit Öpik: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Llwyd: I do not want to take too many interventions, as I am keeping others from speaking.

Lembit Öpik: I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s generosity. A Mrs. McBride came to see me on this very matter. Is he aware of any serious impact assessment that accompanies the Badman report? As far as I can see, it is a completely disproportionate response to a theoretical concern.

Mr. Llwyd: The hon. Gentleman is right. As I said, I am confident in our colleagues across the political spectrum in the National Assembly. I am sure that they will do the right thing. It is a draconian report, and it is troubling for those who have always home educated their children, so I am hopeful that we will take a different view in Wales.

Mrs. Gillan: I have taken some interest in the Badman report because I, too, think that adopting its proposals would amount to undue interference by the state in the personal lives of all our constituents. Under the framework powers in the legislation, it is proposed that home education powers pass down to the Assembly, and as the hon. Gentleman’s party is in government, I would like his guarantee that the Badman report will not be implemented in Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: When I questioned the hon. Lady earlier, she said, “It is not for me to decide—it is for my colleagues”, so I think that the French word is touchÃ(c). I am not going to guarantee anything at this stage.

Mrs. Gillan: But you are in government.

Mr. Llwyd: Yes, we are in government, but I thought that the hon. Lady was hoping to be in government. Perhaps she is not really, but there we are. Let me put it this way: I sincerely hope that our colleagues in the National Assembly will take a different view of the Badman report. I am fairly sure that they will, but for obvious reasons I can offer no guarantees.

From here (scroll down to middle of column number 34).

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