Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bad evidence: the curious case of the government-commissioned review of elective home education in England and how parents exposed its weaknesses

an article by Bruce Stafford (affiliation(s) not provided) published in Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice Volume 8 Number 3 (August 2012)


Governments in the United Kingdom have been contracting out policy reviews to individuals.

One such review, of elective home education in England, reveals serious shortcomings to this practice.

This paper explores the shortcomings – methodological and presentational – with the review, and highlights the fact that there was no governmental mechanism or code against which a commissioned review can be held accountable.

Although a select committee held an inquiry, it was home educators using the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and social media who identified weaknesses in the review.

The review’s recommendations were not implemented, but this was only because a general election was called.

Hazel’s comment:
I include this item here not because of its inherent subject matter but because of the lack of accountability apparent in this specific case. Had it not been for some very determined people we, the general public, would never have known what was happening.
How many other policies are based on dubious evidence?

My cynical core tends to ask about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but should perhaps be concentrating on the evidence for the demise of Connexions services.

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