Below - a list of organisations which asked for home educated children to be included in the scope of new guidance on sex, relationships and alcohol education:
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV: 'The needs of those educated at home should be considered. The assumption may be that they are not a high risk group, but this is not known. Can resources be provided for those home-educated?'
Central Lancashire PCT: 'Why will this not affect children and young people educated at home?'
East Sussex County Council: 'The omission of home-educated children is a concern; this cohort includes some very vulnerable children and young people. Perhaps guidance could address LEA supervisory/advisory duties for this cohort, and liaison with home educators' associations e.g. 'Education Otherwise' could be useful.'
Healthcare Commission: 'CYP not educated at home may not be covered under the elements of the guidance which is delivered but perhaps (hopefully) they will have access to provision through youth, voluntary and community services. Information for home educators could still be provided through voluntary networks. Could explain provision for 0-4 is through other channels and cite (perhaps that's for the guidance when published!)'
Jo's Trust: 'Children and young people educated at home should be covered by any guidance.'
Sex Education Forum: '"Groups not covered". It is unclear why this document would not be relevant to children educated at home.'
To every which one of these, one would say: thanks for the offer but home educating families would rather not be included. Firstly, they are almost always perfectly capable of managing this on their own without any government initiatives on the matter. They know they are responsible for managing this aspect of education. They know they can't delegate these responsibilities to some half-baked crusade in schools. Secondly, despite the fact that there is no statutory basis for enforcement of this guidance, local authorities may well try to use the guidance to pry into extremely private areas of family life.
Moves are afoot in the home educating community to try to remove the offending phrase from section 4.1.1, but should this not pan out, LAs should be aware that any attempt by them to insist upon monitoring HE families for this provision will be met with strong resistance and many a suggestion that they go and remind themselves of Protocol 1, article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights which states that:
"In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions."