Boycott the secret EO petition


While the naive and/or gullible may contend that it doesn't matter who organised this secret petition in cahoots with a Tory MP, it most certainly does to me and many others I know.

Unsurprisingly, we now discover (once it's a fait accompli) that EO are behind it, but it could well have been the BNP for all we knew as there are no contact details on the website (which I won't link to) and no indication of who the “we” are, which makes it all highly suspect.

What is deeply troubling is the suggestion that other HE orgs have signed up to it, despite at least one of them knowing nothing about it (and being deliberately excluded from any discussion of it).

And why would anyone consider supporting a petition without knowing what it says? It all smacks of another desperate stab at rent seeking by EO which seems to be losing members (i.e. money) at a rate of knots.

For these reasons alone, I would argue it should be boycotted, but surely people must realise by now that fighting on the home ed front alone is pretty futile in the context of the much bigger agenda? :fencing:

Anyone else of like mind?

Renegade Parent

Well-known member
fighting on the home ed front alone is pretty futile in the context of the much bigger agenda
I hear you Ali.

Boycotting is not a manifestation of internal politics; it is a refusal to entertain the idea of compromise. No compromise.

The state has no prior claim on our children. Full stop.

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
Boycotting is not a manifestation of internal politics; it is a refusal to entertain the idea of compromise. No compromise.

The state has no prior claim on our children. Full stop.
Totally agree!
Full agreement here too. Typical MO for EO and only the dimwitted can't see it.

I should refrain from mentioning the Tory connection, but would just remind everyone that Dave Cam and co have failed to commit to scrapping any Badman legislation that is rushed through by Labour in its dying hours.

Those who sup with the devil get what they deserve.
I can confirm that AHEd were never invited or even informed about this. The first thing we knew about it was this morning. In fact most people woke up today to this news for the first time.

Also many of the home educators who met Graham Stuart weren't informed either, never mind invited.

AIM (Autism in Mind) weren't invited either and despite asking why not they've received no answer.

It certainly appears to many that the APPG is now owned and run by EO.


It certainly appears to many that the APPG is now owned and run by EO.
So they get their cosy little council after all, the one that Lucas was so keen to promote for reasons best known to himself.

AHEd has been used by EO here in a similar way to Lucas misrepresenting Schoolhouse's role in Scotland on the official record.

It is nevertheless shocking to see so many home educators shoving others out of the way just to get into the last lifeboat on the Titanic. I think I'd rather drown as the company will be far better.


Well-known member
Certainly of like mind Ali. Home ed is on the fringes of the general attack on family and civil liberties in our time. Will not collude with EO dominated agendas either. They are poison.
The wording of the petition is also contentious. There is a widespread concensus of opinion that the review was not done in haste. It was done with a set of results in mind that was arranged beforehand. Then everything was fitted into it to 'prove' the result they wanted. It seems pretty obvious from the way the whole thing was conducted, the lack of research and the shoddy statistics.

The EHE 2007 guidelines are not free of problems and some of it does not sit with current legislation.


Hi Elizabeth....

I heard this morning that the petition wording couldn't be revealed because
there was anxiety that it would be printed off randomly by people not
signing in to take official co-ordinator role and therefore several people
from each constituency might go about with different petitions, which is
apparently not how it should work. Each MP should only get one petition

I do think this explanation should have gone up on the website, but gather
that everything had to be done so quickly, that this just wasn't considered.

Have also just seen the precis of the wording on the EO yahoo list...which
is for says:

Copy and pasted:

Q What does the petition say:

A: The Petition to Parliament says that the signatories are concerned about
the recommendations of the Badman Report and believe that the
recommendations are based on a rushed review which failed to consider and
evaluate evidence and failed to take account of the existing legislative
framework. The Petition goes on to say that measures in forthcoming
legislation should be not brought forward or should be withdrawn and that
the Government should take steps to see that the Home Education Guidelines
are properly implemented, learning from best practice in local authorities.

Q: Who has put this together?

A: The wording of the petition has been devised by Graham Stuart MP's
parliamentary research assistant. Graham Stuart is also Chair of the new All
Party Parliamentary Group.

Q: Why does it say "not to bring forward, or to withdraw"?

A: This is a form of wording devised by the MP's parliamentary research
assistant which takes account of the fact that the Children and Families
Bill will not be withdrawn, since most of it deals with the Schools White
Paper. Clauses of the Bill can be withdrawn or the Government can allow
clauses to be defeated on a vote.

Q: How did this come about?

A: Graham Stuart MP spoke about an All Party Parliamentary Group to
constituents and to home educators who gave evidence to the Select Committee
and also to those who attended the Select Committee to watch the
proceedings. The topic of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home
Education also came up at the Education Otherwise Parliamentary Event on
October 20th. As a follow-up, home educators were invited to meet Graham
Stuart and at the meeting the subject of the Petition to Parliament was
Home educators who had been involved with organising the Parliamentary
Event, whether or not they were able to attend, have remained in touch with
each other and have been a point of contact for Graham Stuart's researcher.
Graham Stuart asked for a web page which would feature the petition and
would enable home educators to sign up by constituency. (The usual Petition
to Parliament is from a single constituency) Roarke volunteered for this
The final wording of the Petition was sent to the web page designer on
Thursday 12th. Graham Stuart wanted people to be able to sign up as
co-ordinators as soon as possible. The first emails thanking volunteer
co-ordinators were signed by Roarke as web page designer. Roarke is not
signing subsequent emails since he does not wish his role to be
misunderstood or overstated.

Q: Is this an Education Otherwise thing?

A: Some of the home educators talking to Graham Stuart are postholders in
Education Otherwise. Other home educators talking to Graham Stuart are not
postholders or members of EO. Education Otherwise is not in any sense
controlling or directing the Petition to Parliament. Graham Stuart asked for
a web page which could be promoted to as many home educators as possible so
that anyone could come forward and volunteer to co-ordinate a constituency

End of paste.

Really hoping this helps.



Posted by: "(no author)" <mailto:(no email address)?Subject= Re%3A%28no%20subject%29> (no email address)

Sat Nov*14,*2009 6:42*am (PST)

Just a bit of background information - I don't remember a time when I haven't been in one campaign or another so I think I need to remind myself from time to time that some people are new to all this- it would be great to have the time to do the work and explain it all - but that just is not possible sometimes- it is now the Parliamentary timetable and conventions that is driving the pace of when things happen and how they happen and all of us have very little control over that.

If you think you feel like we are being rushed now- and I think we are- when we get past the Queen's speech things will get even more chaotic and rushed.

Any MP can join an APPG - so anyone can encourage their MP to be a member. As far as I am aware no home educator has seen a final list of who has joined it.

A maximum of 20 MPs names- members of the group - is published. I keep looking, but as far as I am aware this has not happened yet. The first meeting has to be MPs only - and my understanding is that the paperwork from that meeting is now awaiting approval and publication. Should eventually be on the Parliamentary website.

An enormous amount of frantic work has been done in the last few weeks , including by sympathetic MPs, because there have to be 10 Labour MPs for it to go ahead- someone in south yorkshire thankfully finally managed to get the tenth MP to commit the day before a room had been booked for what it was hoped could be the first meeting. These things don't just happen .

The meeting could strictly have gone ahead without ten but then another rule kicks in to say there must be ten within ..I think from memory...28 days - or the whole thing fails.

( There is a whole formula about membership which changes with the change of the party in government)

No home educators have been consulted about the wording of the petition - including me - GPG member and EO trustee. We hoped to get it last week but there were delays.

This was provided by Graham's office - his office have worked on the petition with the authorities in the House to ensure it is in the correct form ( it has to include what is called a prayer)- there are all sorts of silly rules which would disallow petitions and particular wording - including I seem to remember really silly things like having ruled lines for people to write their names on.

MPs have been enormously busy because it is the end of the Parliamentary session and anything from the last Queens speech will fall if not completed.

I do think we need to remember that we are a tiny, insignificant speck in an MPs workload - and we are really fortunate that so many have made time to support us - they don't have to and I guess they won't if we make it hard work for them to help us.

A local MP explained about his workload to a young home educated person at his surgery

He said something like this- pointing to a huge stack of paperwork-

I have this big document to work on and it will affect over 10,000 people in my constituency and this one will affect about 8,000 and this one 5,000 and so on down the pile. How many families come to your group? 20. So you see if I just put the work in the order of the people it will affect you would be at the bottom of the pile. I won't be able to read all of these - there just won't be time.

BUT this MP gave over an hour of his time to meet people and has been very supportive.

I am only posting this here - I have left many of the lists because of the behaviour of a tiny minority of people on them - as a result I guess I personally am less accesible and accountable than I would wish to be- but I am not prepared to work in an environment where hostility and personal attacks are tolerated- I wouldn't put up with it in a workplace.

We are all volunteers doing many hours of work every day, probably to the detriment of our own children and family life- fighting for a cause we passionately believe in.

I don't want or expect to be thanked- I do it willingly because it matters - but I do get pretty tired of people who are making huge sacrifices to help being battered on the lists for their trouble

I also believe MPs will walk away if we are seen to be disunited- why would they prioritise helping people who can't even work together to help themselves?

You can cross post in its entirety but I won't be entering into discussion - have to work out how our local young people can achieve as much as they wanted to on half the budget we applied for - in my spare time!


Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
Hi Leonor I think people are rightly nervous that a petition that has been in the planning for 2 months, without general knowledge of it's existence, suddenly appears giving people 2 weeks to sign up and act!
This wariness can be justified considering that earlier this year a 'prospectus' appeared that nobody , not even members of EO, was aware existed.
EO have said the petition was written by Graham Stuart , at least that was the tale 2hrs ago when the actual wording was released, but recent news indicates that it was not written by Graham Stuart and He merely added a piece.
There are places like these forums where information can be posted to ensure information reaches as many home educators as possible, yet nothing has been said.
you ask why the conspiracy theories ? my answer has to be- because we need to understand the nature of this obvious conspiracy.


Well-known member
my reasoning

It is no secret that I have no respect whatsoever for EO, over the past 9 years I have seen them betray their members and home educators time after time. I am going to leave aside the *ancient* history, and just look at the very recent history now to explain why I think this is a bad idea.

EO, just this year, has three times (so far, we're not at the end of the year yet!) acted in an appallingly high handed manner with it's members/SUMs and the wider *community*.

At the beginning of the year we had the despicable situation where SUMs had to take EO to court to get information that they were legally entitled to have in order to contact other SUMs to discuss voting issues. The way that this whole process unfolded should have been enough to show people the rotten core of EO.

Refresh your memory here: statement.htm

Later in the year were presented, out of the blue, with the *prospectus*, remember the prospectus? The *it's EO* *it's not really EO* fiasco that we had to watch from the sidelines when they were again pulled up by horrified home educators from across the board. Something created in secrecy, without input from any other home educators outside the EO GPG clique. Again, refresh your memory:

http://www.freedomforchildrentogrow...g Support to Home Educating Families 0409.pdf

And so now we come to yesterday's events.

I saw this email on the picnic list from Fiona Nicolson:


I signed up for Sheffield Central and have been asked to pass the word.

Please share freely



Petition to Parliament :deadline for signatures November 30th

The debate in the House of Commons on the Badman proposals could be as early
as December 3rd.

In response, Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Home Education has offered to organise a Petition to Parliament

The link to the petition details is:

A number of MPs have told us that petitions to Downing Street have much less effect than a Petition to Parliament.

The key thing is the number of constituencies where a Petition to Parliament is signed, rather than getting a huge number of signatories from any one constituency.

The Petitions to Parliament are taken by MPs to Parliament and are recorded in Hansard.

Graham Stuart believes that home educators have an opportunity to raise the greatest number of petitions ever presented to the House.

Here's what you can do:

1. Volunteer to be the local coordinator for the signatures on the petition papers.
You will receive a file with the petition which you will print out and post or email to people who contact you and ask for a copy. You will be responsible for coordinating the collection of
petitions signed by local home educators and presenting it to your MP (along with other local home educators if possible) You will get information on how to gain press interest for the presentation.

2.If when you click on the link, someone has already volunteered to be co-ordinator in your constituency, click on the link to email them and get a paper or electronic copy of the petition.

3.Ask friends/ family who live in a constutuency where no one has
volunteered if they would organise a petition from their area.

Share this link

All petitions will be presented in parliament by MPs on or around 3rd

Hence we need petitions returned to co-ordinators by November 30th at the latest.

The idea is to have as many MPs as possible present petitions on
that day. The number of signatories is, of course, significant , and the
more the better --but more dramatic will be the numbers of MPs who present
petitions (ie the number of consituencies represented --so even if you only
have one signature on the petition for your MP to present it is still
worth it!! )

Click on the link above to volunteer to be your local co ordinator or to
find out who your local coordinator is so that you can arrange to sign the petition.

We have only two weeks to organise this!

Graham Stuart believes that home educators have an opportunity to raise the
greatest number of petitions ever presented to the House.
We cover almost every constituency and the issues we are raising affect

every family --home educators or not .

Freedom for Family Education-- because FAMILIES raise children! "

When I read this email, because of the person it was from, I was a little sceptical, but as some of us who were invited to the Select Committee Round Table Discussion, had spoken to Graham Stuart after the meeting ended, and this idea of his had come up, I assumed that that this was the website that he had said he was going to get together to take this idea forward.

When I looked at the website I looked at it very carefully, but couldn't see anything outwardly to concern me, so I signed up to be a co-ordinator for my area. It wasn't until I had filled in the details that I came to the final page, which was a thank you from A Roarke, which rang alarm bells as he is one of the trustees of EO, and was very involved in the Denton's court case, and is of course the husband of Ann Newstead - EO trustee and media spokesperson. When I clicked on the *contact by email* button I was presented with an official EO email address.

At this point I felt very, very stupid and very angry. I had been duped into participating in something that EO were responsible for.

Does it not strike anyone else as odd that the website was devoid of any details about who was behind it?

It transpires that the whole thing was set up behind closed doors, on an invite only email group, run by Ann Newstead. The names of some of the people who have been invited to this cosy little club will be familiar to those who have looked at the above prospectus link, and this should ring alarm bells, IMO.

The idea of the HECC that was later taken up by EO's friendly Lord, Lord Lucas and added as an amendment to the apprentices bill, but it was removed the other day, however he still puts forward the idea that:

"What is needed is some form of intermediary body.
..... I hope that the Government will express themselves open to an initiative in this area and say that they would welcome such an intermediary body if it could be created, or something that would enable the home education community to speak effectively to Government, and then perhaps if there is a known willingness something will happen. I beg to move.""home-education"#g553.0

This *invite only* group is being described on some email lists thusly:

"Freedom for Family Education-- because FAMILIES raise children!
FFE is a group of home educators formed a couple of months ago to organise a Parliamentary briefing. The event was organised by EO but the group includes members of HEAS, AHEd, HEYC and EO as well as many others who are not part of national groups."

Ooh, it's supported by all those different organisations then? Wow, the home education community coming together in one group to work together?

Erm, well, no. The AHEd committee knew nothing about this group, and I am informed that HEAS are saying they are not involved.So there appears to be some selective PR work going on here.

Now that EO's involvement is being questioned, people are pleading with others to put aside their *differences* because this could be our *last chance to save Home Ed*.

Let's just play through a little scenario:

Suppose people do put aside *differences* and this idea works, and we stop the Badman recommendations. What then? What of Lord Lucas's (EO's) idea of a group of home educators working on behalf of us all, sitting around the table with government to discuss issues pertaining to the home education community.

Don't you imagine that home educators up and down the country will be so grateful to this band of righteous individuals who have coordinated this amazing feat, that they won't mind in the least if this same group becomes the official HECC? The same HECC that so many of us were absolutely opposed to at the time it was put forward. The group created by EO, with *independent* home educators invited to join by EO.

Would you trust them to have the best interests of you and your family at heart? I wouldn't. And whilst this last part of my note involves some projection into the future, it's not out of the bounds of possibility is it? Are you happy to risk bringing this scenario to fruition?


Well-known member
absolutely agree Elaine! This is what I think the petition is saying and what it asks:

It says/implies:

That registration is in place but should not be tighter (making no comment on it and therefore accepting registration)
That monitoring is already in place (and makes no comment on this, thus legitimising it)
That the review was merely rushed (poor Graham!)
That we need a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England.

Is this what we want to ask or what we want to happen?
Excuse Badman and the preconceived agenda,
Accept the concept of registration (that it should not be tighter – but remember that EO is not opposed to registration, only conditional registration,)
Accept the concept of monitoring against our current legal framework,
Another review as long as it is thorough and independent,
Confirm the 2007 guidelines and ensure they are implemented even those parts that are not in accord with our current legal framework and existing freedoms?

This is what the petition is saying to me.

Renegade Parent

Well-known member
This has nothing to do with conspiracy theories and everything to do with sensible people analysing complex human situations and likely future events.

Any ifs, buts, toings and froings that do not operate according to the highest level - that is saying NO NO NO to anything that threatens the primacy of parental responsibility - should be boycotted.

Simply ask yourself what good can come of engaging in begging activity that has been conducted in an underhand manner and with the assistance of an organisation that has consistently let down its members and the wider community it purports to represent.

Why should we beg and scrape - through EO or any other organisation no less - for anything that rightly belongs to us? Why should we compromise?

Just say NO.
Boycotting is not a manifestation of internal politics; it is a refusal to entertain the idea of compromise. No compromise.

The state has no prior claim on our children. Full stop.

Totally agree.