Further on the 2006 DfES consultation on a proposal to provide further guidance as to what constitutes full time education in independent schools to which many home educators responded, we have a follow-up consultation which, amongst some other sources of contention and alarm, does little to solve the original problem of how one ascertains who is the main provider of an education.
The problem with the first consultation was that if the phrase "main provider of education" is to mean what it apparently says, then presumably a private pupil who accumulates more theories from his parents than from his school will be counted as home educated and will therefore be excluded from regulations that apply to private schools. Of course, quite how the state proposed to make such an assessment was utterly baffling and demonstrated very neatly the poor epistemology that underpins much of the legislation on education.
However, for the purposes of this next consultation, the DCSF have changed the phrase from "main provider" to "main organiser" of education, presumably hoping to shift the balance from the need to demonstrate from whence the majority of a child's theories have been acquired, to an apparently more quantifiable task of working out who plans and implements the majority of the education of the child. It doesn't work though, since you still have to answer the impossible question of from whence the child acquires the greater number of his theories since this is the only way to ascertain who (or what) is the real main organiser of his education.
However, it looks as if we will be required to suspend disbelief in this regard since the DCSF
"have concluded that the best approach is to adjust the definition of an independent school so as to specify that an independent school is the main organiser of a programme of education for children of compulsory school age, unless provision is excluded through regulations."
"We would propose that regulations exclude:
schools maintained by a local authority;
non-maintained special schools;
temporary provision e.g. summer schools;
any institutions providing less than 12.5 hours per week tuition (primary) and 15 hours (secondary) for individual children;
further education colleges;
home tutorial services organised by a local authority;
education supervised or delivered by parents"
Disbelief suspended as above, the confusion here concerns the last point, ie: "education supervised or delivered by parents", since under Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, the education of all children is meant to be supervised by parents which would presumably therefore mean that none of the regulations for independent schools would apply anywhere. On the other hand, home educators will fight tooth and nail to stop this phrase from being changed because it would rule out the use of tutors for more than the stipulated hours (in red).
The problem might be superficially solved (ie: putting aside the outstanding problem of quantification of education) to ask that both individual private tutors teaching on domestic premises and informal co-operatives without a fixed meeting place be excluded from the requirement to register.
Home educators might do well to respond to this further consultation to make these points.