Q 3: Does the guidance clearly outline the legal position of elective home education in Wales?
Q 4: Does the guidance clearly outline the responsibilities of local authorities in relation to elective home education?
The Welsh Government is currently asking for views on new draft elective home education guidance. The consultation runs until July 3rd 2015.
Yesterday I put up notes on questions 1 & 2
Q3 clear on legal position?
NO. Position goes well beyond law. Expectation annual face to face meetings to assess provision and consider ‘evidence’ (children’s version says ‘check evidence like study diaries or samples of work’). Part 4, Reviewing Provision Unacceptable to require LA to speak to children. Potentially even greater problem face to face where SEN eg autism.
Section 436A (Children Missing Education) NO proactive duty to assess provision. CME not law in Wales till 2009. 2010 Wales Stat Guidance CME take action only ‘where the local authority has significant grounds for believing that satisfactory home education is not being provided by parents’. Problems with School Attendance Order section; families in limbo being ‘spared’ the legal process but also denied independent review + access to legal-aided defence. All Wales Attendance Framework wrong in saying no statutory defence against failure comply SAO. 4.2 Statements SEN, not up to LA to decide cease statement just because nothing provided.
Current Guidelines stay within law, advising council ‘should assume that efficient educational provision is taking place, which is suitable for the child, unless there is evidence to the contrary’ adding that ‘there is no express requirement … to investigate actively …” and ‘no legal framework … to regularly monitor provision’. Current Guidelines also say contact rather than meetings.
Q 4: Guidance clearly outline responsibilities local authorities?
NO. Draft guidance neither clear nor accurate. Responsibilities shd include: provide named contact on website so parent can initiate contact & other service areas know right person; challenge schools where necessary eg re bullying & unmet SEN; raise awareness specifics of law regarding home education wider workforce (goes beyond just saying home ed is legal option); oppose discrimination against home educators & promote access to services; understand section 437 notice at start of School Attendance Order process framed in negative ‘if it appears’, no proactive duty to investigate/assess/inspect.
Previous Blog Posts
first impressions on reading the proposed new home education guidance
the long awaited readable children’s version
Children Missing Education (section 436A)
Examples Good Practice
Why Not More Examples Good Practice?
Welsh Government consultation web page (includes draft guidance, response form, children’s version now in pdf AND plain text, children’s rights impact assessment, and equality impact assessment)
Draft guidance set out as web page
Children’s version set out as web page