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Wales Home Education: Changing Relationships

Parents home educating in Wales have traditionally reported their local authorities to be supportive and positive. Relationships have been mutually respectful for many years, in most areas, whilst complaints made to Education Otherwise and support groups about local authority officer practice in Wales have been significantly fewer per capita than in England. However, parents and local authorities alike have expressed concern in respect of how changing government policies have affected the nature of those relationships.

As far back as 2010, Welsh Ministers and civil servants were mooting introduction of close monitoring of home educated children and the possibility of mandatory meetings. Parents were alarmed by this sea shift of approach and raised concerns about unwarranted interference in their families and privacy, lack of understanding of individual approaches to education, stigmatisation of home educating families and the effect which any change in legislation and guidance could have not only on their whole educational approach, but also on their children.

On 12th May 2023 the Welsh Government issued new Elective Home Education Guidance1 about which home educating families expressed significant reservations, specifically the emphasis placed on local authorities meeting and talking to children. Education Otherwise acted on behalf of its members and service users to challenge this guidance and on 12th August 2023 the Welsh Government agreed to amend the guidance to make clear that each case must be considered on an individual basis; a crucial point for families.

Six months on from the introduction of the new guidance, this report examines how home educating cohorts have changed and how parents have experienced their relationships with their local authorities under the new regime.

Please download the new report: here.