Isle of Man Home Education Legal Changes

A consultation on the Isle of Man about what should be included in a future draft of an Education Bill opened on October 11th 2017 and closes on November 22nd 2017. Home education is mentioned 

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This is what the online survey says, scroll down for the reference to home education

Proposed areas no longer included in the Education Act 2001
It is proposed that the following areas in the Education Act 2001 are not included in the new Education Bill:
Religious Education – This is a specific section in the present Act specifying what has to be done and what exemptions exist for both religious education and assemblies
Religious Education Advisory Council (REAC) – Discusses religious education issues and decides on a religious education curriculum
Education Council – The Education Council came into existence after changes in 2009 and members sit on various bodies such as governing bodies or hearing panels, as well as discussing education issues and advising the Department of Education and Children.

Religious Education
The Department feels Religious Education is a subject like any other one in the school curriculum and therefore should be treated in the same manner by inclusion in the curriculum regulations, rather than in primary legislation. The nature and content of assemblies has changed and it is necessary to reflect this in legislation.
The present Education Act 2001 determines:
what can and cannot be done in terms of religious education and assemblies
when children can be excused and what should happen for such education
Specific subjects studied in school are determined in regulations rather than being specified in the Education Act 2001. This means that as a subject the material to be studied will be determined by lead professionals in schools in collaboration with the Department of Education and Children.
Parents who opt to send their children to a Faith School have already opted into religious worship, so it is proposed that there will be no need to include clauses 13 and 14 of the 2001 Act in the new Bill.
The sections of the current Act that put in place the Religious Education Advisory Council (REAC) are also proposed be removed and the role of this Council to be reviewed by the Department.
1. Do you agree that Religious Education should be treated the same as any other curriculum subject through the curriculum regulations?
2. Do you agree that the role of the Religious Education Advisory Council is no longer required?
Education Council
The 2009 Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act replaced the former Board of Education with the Education Council, whose role is to act as a body that advises the Department as necessary and members sit on various panels and hearings. Education Council members also act as Department representatives on each school governing body.
Education Council members are appointed after interview and must display knowledge of the education system. The Council has a maximum of 10 members.
The role and value of the Education Council has been questioned by:
schools
parents
the Department
It is proposed that the new Bill will remove the Education Council and replace it with Department Appointed Governors, so that a Department representative will continue to be on school governing bodies.
The Department Appointed Governors will also sit on appeal and hearing panels, but will not have an advisory role.
3. Do you think that the Education Council has a role in providing advice to the Department?

Proposed new areas in the Education Bill
Areas proposed to be included in the Education Bill:
Inspection and quality assurance of the educational provision of pre-school settings (currently they are only inspected by the Registration and Inspections Unit of DHSC in regard to their compliance with the Regulation of Care Act and Regulations)
Regulation and registration of private tutors, training and educational establishments as currently there is no statutory role in ensuring checks are undertaken
Inspection and quality assurance of pre-school settings
The Pre-School Credit Scheme currently provides:
10 hours universal credit per week
12.5 hours credit per week for lower income families
The Scheme was introduced without the Department having the legal authority to carry out inspection and quality assurance of the pre-school education being provided and paid for by IOM Government.
The Department of Health and Social Care have the ability to inspect nursery and pre-school settings for the care they provide for children but this does not extend to the education element being provided for preschool children.
The proposal in the new Bill is to give the Department of Education and Children the legal authority to inspect the quality of the pre-school education being provided using a quality assurance framework.
4. Do you agree that pre-school education should be quality assured?

Regulation and registration
Regulation and registration of private tutors, training and educational establishments
At present there is no regulation around private tutors or educational / training establishments. At present anyone can establish themselves as a tutor or educational/training establishment.
Private tutors are presently not checked:
with the Dislosure Barring Service (DBS) for whether there are safeguarding issues
to confirm that they can deliver the subjects they say they can
Currently the Department of Education and Children does not have a statutory obligation to ensure tutors or educational/training establishments are checked. The Department of Education and Children is seeking to ensure safeguarding procedures are implemented.
Private tutors
The Department is proposing to ask all tutors:
to be voluntarily registered
to ensure that they have a DBS check
to confirm they are qualified to teach the subjects they are offering
to confirm they have received safeguarding training.
It is proposed that a list of registered tutors would be on the government website.
Training and educational establishments
Currently anyone can set up an educational establishment on the Isle of Man and there is currently no governance in place to regulate the activities of such an establishment, with the exception of sections 52 and 53 of the current Act which controls awards and degrees that can be offered.
In the past the Island has already experienced the negative effect of an unauthorised provider.
The Department is proposing that educational establishments voluntarily register in the same way as tutors.
5. Should the Department provide a list of registered tutors and educational establishments
6. Should all providers of education, particularly to children, be suitably qualified to teach the subject on offer and police checked?

Proposed areas to be strengthened or amended
Areas in the current Act that are proposed to be strengthened or changed:
Governing bodies
Home education
School attendance
Special Educational Needs
Catchment areas
Behaviour

Governing Bodies
The roles of governing bodies in our school and at University College Isle of Man (UCM) need:
to be more robust
to provide rigour
to challenge decisions
to play a more significant role in the life of the schools
In the new Act, it is intended that governing bodies will have more clearly defined role and responsibilities.
It is proposed to tighten the rules around:
co-opted governors
length of tenure of governors
the number of governors (currently a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6)
the inclusion of a Department appointed governor rather than an Education Council one
7. Is the role of Governors in schools clearly understood and recognised by parents?
8. Do you have a recommendation on the number of governors and how long they should serve on the governing body?

Home education
It is a duty of parents of children of compulsory school age to ensure that they receive a suitable education.
A suitable education is defined in the current Act as ‘efficient full time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude taking into account any special educational needs.’
This parental duty applies whether the education is provided in schools or at home. The Department has a duty to enforce this requirement so that a suitable education is given.
At present the Department has no way of ensuring that parents who choose to home educate meet the suitable education provision in Section 24 of the Education Act 2001.
Home education is not, in itself, a risk factor for abuse or neglect. However, there is potential that these children can become ‘invisible’ and in these cases there is a safeguarding risk of isolation from professionals. The aim is to establish an appropriate scope of duties for the Department to ensure that children do not go unseen.
The Department is seeking to add another subsection to the existing clause 24 to allow the Department to introduce regulations which may require parents to provide evidence to the Department of the Education of the educational provision their children are receiving.
9. Should the Department seek evidence from home educators on the education they are giving to their children?

School Attendance
The 2009 Act gives the Department powers to impose fixed penalties on parents or guardians for poor attendance at school and it has been successful in reducing long term attendance issues.
There have been a growing number of incidents taking place in public places during school hours that are due to children who are suspended from school. This may arise as they are not supervised by their parents at home during this time.
The Department is looking to extend the provisions further to fine parents whose children are out in a public place during school hours when they are suspended. It is proposed that this fine can be imposed by the Department or possibly the Police.
10. Do you agree with this proposal?

Special Educational Needs
This is one area that has changed significantly since the 2001 Act was introduced.
Special Education Needs (SEN) legislation needs to be updated to ensure that there is clarity in what is available for the parents of children with SEN in the Isle of Man. In particular regarding:
information
access and guidance
redress
appeals
mediation
dispute resolution
Clarity is needed around entitlement to additional services for children with SEN and the procedures to qualify for provisions. This needs to be an Isle of Man specific approach.
We need the ability in the new Bill to be able to put in place regulations to:
detail the role of the Department in carrying out assessments
determine level of need and support for children with additional needs
cover all children from an early years setting to the time they leave full time education.
It will also clearly define the roles of educational psychologists in the terms of state and private education.
11. Is clarity around access to services for children with SEN needed?
12. Does the role of educational psychologists need further clarification?

Catchment Areas
In order for the Department to run its schools efficiently it is proposed that a child will attend their catchment area school unless they meet more specific exception criteria than is currently the case, which will be defined in regulations.
Regulations will define reasons why an out of catchment request can be submitted for the Department’s consideration.
13. Should children always attend their catchment area school unless their needs cannot be met by the school?

Behaviour
Inappropriate behaviour ‘at the school’ is an aspect of school life which needs to be considered particularly how it is dealt with.
Headteachers cannot police what happens outside the school gate, but there may be circumstances where inappropriate behaviour outside of the school grounds can affect and be detrimental to the effective running of the school.
The current Education Act 2001 is silent on school activities that take place elsewhere such as school trips. The current sections of the 2001 Act need to be expanded to cover these instances.
We are not proposing to put in any changes to address pupil behaviour outside the school environment.
14. Should the same behaviour standards for students that apply while ‘at the school’ be applicable when they are attending school-based events such as trips?
15. Who do you feel is responsible for dealing with inappropriate behaviour of students outside the school environment?
Parents / guardians
Teachers
Both
Other
Final thoughts
Please state any additional comments you have regarding this consultation.

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