Recent DfE Publications and another Consultation.
On Tuesday 2nd April the Department for Education published the following:
- A response to the Elective home education: call for evidence 2018
- Two revised guidance documents ‘Elective home education Departmental guidance for local authorities’ and ‘Elective home education Departmental guidance for parents’ both of which can be downloaded from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elective-home-education These new guidance documents replace the existing guidance developed in 2007 last updated March 2013.
- A new consultation ‘Children not in school’ which seeks views on proposed legislation to establish a register maintained by local authorities of children not attending mainstream schools and duties on parents and the proprietors of certain educational settings. It also consults on proposed legislation to establish a duty to support parents who educate children at home and seek support from their local authority in doing so. The consultation is open now, closes 11:59pm on 24 June 2019 and can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/children-not-in-school and responded to here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/school-frameworks/children-not-in-school/
It is important to understand that the law has not changed. However, this new guidance may embolden some Local Authority personnel to act as though it has. In reality the powers available to LAs are no different today than they were on Monday, 1st April. In some areas of the new guidance LAs are encouraged by the DfE to be more aggressive in their approach toward home educating families. We suggest you become familiar with these new guidance documents as soon as possible as they came into force with immediate effect.
In so far as the ‘Children Not In School’ consultation is concerned, EO encourages you to look carefully at what is proposed, the potential impacts on families who educate their children otherwise than at school now and the impact on those families who may choose to do so in the future. Registration of home educated children has not been decoupled from ‘monitoring’ in past consultations or in proposed legislative changes. While it may appear to be decoupled in this consultation at this time it is worth noting that this is the second consultation in two years that has the potential to create a more rigid framework within which home education may be forced to operate.
Please consider responding to the consultation. We will be preparing a response over the coming weeks and will consider including suggested responses from you. You can provide your views via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address or by posting in the Members Forum.