This time it's the turn of County Durham LA. We hear that until about a month ago, their website informed those who wanted to find out more about home education that they should contact the Child Protection Team...ho hum! This does now seem to have been removed but the LA is still far from exonerated. Ultra vires implications are littered about the website with a what looks like a happy disregard for the law of the land. Take the following statement:
"The Local Authority is responsible for ensuring that the arrangements put in place provide a suitable education for the child."
Err....No! An LA only has a duty to act when it appears that a suitable education is not taking place or where a child has a statement. If an LA goes down the slippery path of assuming they have an automatic right to monitor and assess, they run the risk of appropriating responsibility for the provision of education and we all know where this could lead - if parents are no longer ultimately responsible for educational provision, LAs should expect to foot a huge bill from angry parents of children who were failed by the school system.
The suggestion that County Durham LA believes they are indeed ultimately responsible for educational provision is confirmed in letters to local HEors. In a recent missive, the LA's "Operations Manager" asserts that home educators make applications to the LA in order to be allowed to HE. So yep, Section 7 which ensures parental responsibility for the provision of an education thereby goes out the window. Oh right then, come on one and all - jump in and sue your LA when your child doesn't thrive in school.
Wake up County Durham, stick to the law of the land and don't just pretend that you do with specious assertions in your letters to HEors that you are sticking to government guidelines.