That is certainly wrong

Yesterday I had a quick look at a new report from the Department for Education.

I was distressed to read the following:

“Parents of children of compulsory school age (aged between 5 and 15 at the start of the academic year) are, by law, required to ensure that their children receive a suitable education through regular attendance at school.”

What’s missing is “or otherwise.”

Parents are required to ensure that their children receive a suitable education through regular attendance at school or otherwise.

School is not compulsory.

Parents can be prosecuted for failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school but only where the child is already a registered pupil.

I used the contact form on the GOV.UK web page to ask for the information to be corrected. I know from Facebook and Twitter that other people did this too.

This is what I put on my contact form

Page 2 says “Parents of children of compulsory school age (aged between 5 and 15 at the start of the academic year) are, by law, required to ensure that their children receive a suitable education through regular attendance at school”

This should be amended to say either parents of pupils or else regular attendance at school or otherwise.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/absence-and-attainment-at-key-stages-2-and-4-2012-to-2013

I then forwarded my GOV.UK complaint to Stephen Bishop who is the person dealing with home education at the Department for Education.

I copied in Graham Stuart’s office and Lord Lucas.

Stephen Bishop replied:

“Yes, that is certainly wrong. I don’t know who in DfE is responsible for this publication. However if you have no proper response from your contact form please let me know and we will see what we can do”

UPDATE 11.56 am: GOV.UK got back to me to say they’d passed it to the relevant department at DfE (presumably “Attendance” although this wasn’t specified) and also invited me to use the DfE beta version contact form to write to them directly, which I have just done.

(Incidentally, the new improved DfE contact form now has a follow-up where they email you with a dated confirmation of your specific query which means it’s better for a whole range of other stuff such as Freedom of Information requests as well)

UPDATE MARCH 16TH: thanks to Stephen Bishop at DfE this document  has now been amended. 

Background material here on home education and the law, plus the difference between prosecutions for failing to ensure regular attendance of a registered pupil and School Attendance Orders

http://edyourself.org/articles/helaw.php

http://edyourself.org/articles/sao.php#s.444

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17 thoughts on “That is certainly wrong

  1. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    Just had this back from DfE:
    “Thank you for your observation about our reference to parents of children of compulsory school age being required to secure their children’s regular attendance at a school. This statement was made in the context of children who are already registered at a school as explained under the “background and context” heading in the report.

    Under any other circumstances we would agree that making such statement in isolation may be misleading because children of compulsory school age do not have attend a school to receive their education. However this research is solely based on children of compulsory school age who are registered at a school and how their regular absence from school can affect those children’s level of attainment.”

    Relating to this https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/absence-and-attainment-at-key-stages-2-and-4-2012-to-2013

    I’m not satisfied. I think it may be because they don’t know how to get it corrected, so they are taking the line that it’s not wrong.

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  2. Tracey

    Their argument, that it is within a research report relating to children registered at a school and is not therefore misleading, is totally disingenuous. They are stating :”Parents of children of compulsory school age (aged between 5 and 15 at the start of the academic year are, by law, required to ensure that their children receive a suitable education through regular attendance at school.” This statement is factually inaccurate. Therefore, it is misleading.

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  3. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    Tracey, I honestly think they don’t know how to edit the pdf. Remember this? “I’m not sure if the fact that it is a pdf document will make it difficult for you” and “Because the guidelines are a pdf document, (junior officials name removed) cannot amend. She is asking (junior officials name removed) if he has the WORD version but if this cannot be found, do you want the entire document taken off for the time being?” http://edyourself.org/flexifoichronological.pdf

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  4. Tracey

    Ye Gods. So, it really is incompetence (original content error plus inability to edit) rather than deliberate disinformation this time..?

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  5. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    Well, it IS a pdf. Which I know they have trouble with. And they’ve been trying to track down who wrote it. And it’s wrong. So I think if you didn’t know I was like a dog with a bone, you’d have a go at saying it wasn’t really wrong first in the hope [insert mirthless laugh] that I’d go away. Just my theory!

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  6. Tracey

    No, but I have seen similar before. I think the Dept. can get three edits a month done for free before they need to subscribe…

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  7. Pingback: persistence pays off, getting DfE information changed | edyourself

  8. Pingback: my first 20 blog posts | edyourself

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