Home Education Duty of Local Authorities Bill 2017-19

On June 27th 2017 the Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill [HL] 2017-19  had its First Reading in the House of Lords.  1 PAGE HANDOUT TO PRINT

The most important features of this Bill are:

  1.  that it is a Private Members Bill and
  2. that it has started in the Lords, not the Commons

Between 2012 and 2016, 113 Private Members Bills originating in the House of Lords. Only 2 out of the 113 went on to become law. Slightly more Private Members Bills originating in the House of Commons do go on to become law, although numbers are still very small. See this parliament statistics page for more detail.


Private Members Bills

There are two main types of Bills in Parliament:

  1. those which are introduced by the Government, which is what is usually understood by the term Public Bills” and
  2. those introduced by MPs in the House of Commons or peers in the House of Lords  which are a completely different category of “Public Bill” known as “Private Members Bills”.

(“Private Bills” are something different again. See this parliament page for an explanation of the types of Bill)

Private Members Bills Introduced In The Lords 

What happens in the House of Lords for Private Members Bills now is that there is a ballot   at the start of the new parliamentary session to agree the order in which Private Members’ Bills will have their First Reading in the Lords.  (As explained here  the House of Lords began holding ballots for Private Member’s Bills a couple of years ago in 2015)

These are the ballot results for June 2017.  The Home Education Bill was drawn at number 9 which meant that it had its First Reading on June 27th alongside a raft of other Private Members Bills.


A grand total of 61 Bills are on the 2017 list for the Lords. This is a higher number than usual,  probably because some of last year’s Bills which ran out when the General Election was called have won a place on the ballot to be started for a second time (and in at least one case started for the third time.) A batch of Bills are to be slotted in every day up to the parliamentary recess.


All Private Members Bills which go on to have their First Reading in the House of Lords will then appear in the list of “Bills Before Parliament”  and you can click on the name of the Bill in the list to reach the dedicated page which will look like this


Progress of Private Members Bills Introduced In The House Of Lords 

Looking at last year’s Private Members Bills introduced in the House of Lords, 60% did not go any further    than First Reading in the House of Lords.

Only 2 Bills out of 50 made it through the House of Lords, neither of which got past First Reading in the House of Commons.

For reference, ALL the Bills which got past stage 1 (ie managed a Second Reading in the Lords) were in the first half of the ballot and the 2 Bills which made it to the House of Commons were in the top 5 of the ballot while Lord Soley’s Bill is number 9 this year.

Download 2016-17 spreadsheet here.


Stages Of A Bill 

The stages of a Bill are set out here and comprise First Reading, Second Reading, Committee, Third Reading, Report in the ORIGINATING House (Commons or Lords) FOLLOWED BY the same in the OTHER House (ie going through all the same stages in the Commons if started in the Lords and vice versa)  None of the Private Members Bills introduced last year in the Lords made it past the very first stage in the House of Commons. 

To repeat, out of the 113 Private Members Bills introduced in the House of Lords between 2012 and 2016, only 2 became law.

Parliamentary Timetabling 

There is no specific time in the House of Lords which must be set aside for Private Members Bills to be debated.  In practice these debates usually take place on a Friday. and  a Bill which has a substantial number of amendments tabled might struggle to find space or as this briefing puts it “the tabling of amendments to private member’s bills may also have an impact on their ability to progress.” 

The Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill [HL] 2017-19 has been tabled by Lord Soley who displayed an interest in home education a few years ago, see here  and here although he was not available to present the Bill himself.


10 thoughts on “Home Education Duty of Local Authorities Bill 2017-19

  1. randalluk

    Thanks Fiona for a very helpful summary of the status of this Private Members Bill and how unlikely it is to proceed. It remains however a reminder that there are still those in positions of authority who are not content with the present law on home education, and will keep lobbying for some for of registration/control of home education.


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  3. Gina

    At the moment it is the parents’ responsibility to see that their child is educated. If the state takes over from parents as being responsible for children’s education, then certainly parents have the right to sue them if their children are not adequately educated. I cannot really see that the state would want that type of situation. Or would a bill taking over responsibility for children’s education include a ‘get out’ clause stating that children do not HAVE to be educated properly, so therefore the state cannot be held liable for children who turn out uneducated?

    Personally, I have never understood why under current legislation no one ever sues schools for not educating their children properly in loco parentis.


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