There's worrying news from a nominally reputable LEA: we hear today from a newish home educator who was recently contacted by the Education Welfare Officer in her area and informed that she was under an obligation to tell the authorities about her home educating 5 year old who has never been to school. HE mum quite rightly said that she was under no such obligation and was even good enough to provide a number of links and legal references in support of her point, but the EWO was so angry and forceful that HE mum (despite being pretty smart and relatively well-informed), started to lose her nerve.
The EWO went on to insist that HE mum must conform to something very similar to the National Curriculum and that she would be prosecuted if she didn't. Again HE mum protested, saying that this is not prescribed by law, but all to no avail.
Things did look up when the EWO passed the case on to the LEA officer, but one wonders how many new HEors would have been put off their stride by such an aggressive intrusiveness; and this is under current regulations where it is clear that the LEAs have no duty at all to find children missing from education. It will undoubtedly be much harder to argue our case against such interference in the very near future.
(JB are you out there...this was one of yours!)