To respond to the consultation you will need to download the response form and type in your answers, then save it off and email it back to WellbeingShare@wales.gsi.gov.uk
NB 1 Governments often discount what they call ‘campaign style’ responses where people have just answered yes or no without further comment or where a lot of people have made exactly the same comment.
Often, the most effective response is personal testimony, ie how what is being proposed will affect you personally now, or the impact on people you know, or if you are no longer personally affected, the difference it WOULD have made
NB 2 if you have written out what you want to say and try and copy and paste into the boxes on the form you might find that the formatting goes to pot. You should give yourself enough time to check this! If this does happen, you can copy and paste the cover sheet and questions into a separate file and use that instead or else just email WellbeingShare@wales.gsi.gov.uk directly although you should include the information from the cover sheet ie your name and whether you consent for your response to be shared.
(Here is a round-up of all the things I have written about the new draft Guidance including a copy of my consultation response http://edyourself.org/articles/welshconsultation2015.php)
The stated aim of the new Guidance is to ‘build consensus and trust between local authorities and EHE families in Wales, and develop positive engagement and appropriate support.’
Examples of good practice are frustratingly hit and miss, lacking the basic information for follow-up eg no details for 14-16 college funding.
The Guidance is overshadowed by section 4. Reviewing provision with its emphasis on one-to-one monitoring, checking evidence and interviewing children.
There are hints that ‘education welfare’ or ‘social services’ might veto home education or impose additional supervision requirements although the law does not provide for this
The Guidance ducks out of confronting schools. There is no way schools will delegate their funding to alternative providers, let alone pay a top-up; it is much easier to persuade parents to take children out or contrive a situation where parents feel they have no choice.
There are hints that local authority officers might lose individual responsibility for home education, with it being passed to a single regional contact, which could equally mean the loss of existing good practice currently dependent on individuals within particular LAs
I have said that
‘In some cases it can be useful for families to have someone in the council they can contact before taking children out and soon after children have come out of school (phone, email, face to face), but it is counter-productive to frame this in terms of checking on parents as though home education needs to be approved, and does nothing to ‘rebuild trust’ .’
I have also said
‘There is an unquestioning assumption throughout the draft Guidance that families need to be seen and checked every year despite there being no basis in law for this. The Guidance therefore attempts to make home educating families feel valued and understood, possibly in the vain hope that this will make annual monitoring more acceptable.’
I have signposted to a model of good practice elsewhere
1: Do you feel that the guidance provides sufficient assistance for local authorities to support home educating families?
2: Is there anything missing from the guidance which you think should be included, if so please specify?
3: Does the guidance clearly outline the legal position of elective home education in Wales?
4: Does the guidance clearly outline the responsibilities of local authorities in relation to elective home education?
5: We have asked a number of specific questions. If you have any related issues which we have not specifically addressed, please use this space to report them.