Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Well, this one's made very easy since someone else has already done most of the work. From Freedom for Children to Grow:

"Please Write To Your MP This Week

Every one of us can make a difference if we write to our MP before the Second Reading of the Children Schools and Families Bill on January 11th. The Government has tried to say that the new law is "about support" but this is categorically not the case and we need to put our MPs straight.

We have been told that if an MP receives three messages from different constituents on the same issue then it is a hot topic.

Read our new page explaining why now is a good time to write to your MP, with links to background information plus a sample letter for you to customise.

Also think about going to visit your MP. This is a chance to raise awareness of home education and to dispel prejudices and stereotypes. Your MP will also be much more motivated to speak in Parliament on behalf of home educators if he or she has actually met a home educating family. Read more here."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bearer of Bad Tidings

Whoops, not a nice post to be putting up just before Christmas but I thought the subject constructive in some ways as it will serve to remind us why we have bothered to put in all that effort to preventing Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill from ever becoming law and why we must start all over again in the New Year.

More and more stories are emerging, usually from local HE email lists, of what amounts to abusive local authority practices. Home educators have been accosted on their doorsteps by LA personel and told that they must let the person in, despite never having seen them before in their lives. The LA bod may then demand to see evidence of the success of the educational provision (ie: will hold the family to an instantaneously FAR higher standard than schools routinely manage), and that the right to continue to home educate is dependent upon an official stamp of approval from this stranger.

The LA officer has also been known to state in front of the children that one of the reasons why they are there is because the parent may be abusing the child. Luckily most HE children I know, however young, are worldly-wise enough to know that clip-board bearing officials can talk complete rubbish, so it is unlikely to create trouble, but REALLY!

Honestly, if LA authorities want to get into the business of actually saving lives, they should get out and grit the roads.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Parents v. the State

Although this story from the Guardian describes a parent's struggle to achieve an appropriate school education for their child in the face of state bureaucracy, it is very reminiscent of the struggles that many home educating families experience when it comes to dealing with their local authorities.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Message from Graham Stuart

There will be a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Home Education with the Schools Minister, Diana Johnson, who will address the group and take questions.

Wednesday 6th January, 4- 5pm

Committee Room 10 of the House of Commons.

Make sure your MP is there!

The session is primarily aimed at MPs, MPs’ staff, and Peers, but everyone is welcome. The room has capacity for about 100.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home Educators Are a Diverse Bunch

Ah good. I have so little time just now but life in some regards is getting easier as I can now just link to other bloggers. For example, Kelly here blows the myth that home educators bully each other into silence.

I do, however, just want to post an endorsement of Kelly's argument:

Whilst it is true that the majority of home educators do strongly oppose the Badman proposals and the tiny minority who see some merit in it, (though usually not much ) can sometimes fall silent when others are discussing it, it doesn't mean that they are forced to change their minds, or have been forced to change their consultation responses or their letters to their MPs, etc. Great friends disagree over some of the details, yet we remain the best of friends.

Generally speaking, home educators UNDERSTAND the power of non-coercion better than almost any other community I have ever met and it is wrong of the Select Committee to suggest otherwise.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Press Association

...on the Select Committee Report.

And here's the Independent's take on it, and here, the report by UTV News.

Also, Children and Young People Now , Education Now , the TES , Parent Pages, Teaching Personnel and now EGov.

Kelly on Registration

Kelly Green and Gold explores the issue of registration further.

Despite my diatribe yesterday about how it could only result in trouble for UK home educators, I do think it is worth taking the more balanced view that Kelly achieves.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Select Committee Report...

...is now available here.

Whilst being critical of Badman's methods and data, it nonetheless recommends that a suitable education be more strictly defined:

"We agree that there should be a more precise definition of what constitutes "suitable" education. The definition must be established prior to any registration and monitoring proposals being introduced "

and that a voluntary registration scheme be implemented. The reason given for the latter:

"In our view it is unacceptable that local authorities do not know accurately how many children of school age in their area are in school, are being home educated or are otherwise not in school. The main argument for a registration scheme, as we see it, is to help to provide this information."

Simply not having this information does not in itself seem like a strong enough reason for the state needing to know the whereabouts of all children of school age. On the same basis of just not knowing, I could argue that I should have the statutory right to know how often our next-door neighbour waters her banana plant. Of course, not knowing is simply not a good enough reason in itself, for intruding upon her privacy, (though I suspect, without any evidence whatsoever, that she doesn't water it enough).

It seems that by not providing a substantial reason for voluntary registration, the Select Committee are merely trying not to stir up the hornet's nest all over again. They are trying not to say that they actually do believe, along with Baroness Morgan, that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse.

But why, oh why, you may ask, (as indeed I was asked yesterday), if I have nothing to hide, do I resist registration?

One of my principle reasons for continued resistance is this: proving your innocence is very often not a trivial matter. It can involve a HUGE amount of work, it can take up almost all your time, it can substantially alter your life so that you cannot live it in a more positive and constructive way. If you stand accused, as any investigation by the LA in this instance would imply, you would have to go out of you way to life-altering lengths, to prove that you educate appropriately and are not abusing your children, and even when you do this, you have no guarantee that the person assessing you will agree with you that you are doing things, since there as many different versions of a suitable education, and there is a strong possibility that they may not understand your form of parenting and may take what is in fact the least abusive method for a form of neglect.

If you don't believe me that proving your innocence can be a huge distraction and vastly detrimental to normal life, let me give you a recent example of the lengths we, as in my family, should have gone to to prove our innocence in another matter entirely.

Not long ago, we received a stern letter from the council informing us of a complaint from a neighbour about our barking dogs. We were quite surprised to receive this, particularly as we actually only have one neighbour, they have approximately six dogs, all of which bark a great deal! Our two do bark occasionally, usually asking to be let in. However, we do respond pdq, so their barks are usually one-offs, though I concede that in the case of the wolf-hound cross, they are ear-shatteringly loud.

Anyhow, I went round to all the neighbours (only three altogether) within the radius of approximately 3/4 of a mile to apologise and say I thought it couldn't really be us. Rather mysteriously, they all looked duly shocked and said they weren't responsible for reporting us.

So we then rang the council and explained that we thought that the letter was over the top and that complaints really couldn't be held against us. We also said that we thought it likely that the barking was coming from elsewhere, though it didn't trouble us in the least as it was far enough away from us to make it almost inaudible in the general hubbub of life here.

The council told us that in order to clear our names, we would have to make a record of any barking that we heard, to note the times, duration and loudness of the barks.

Well we did try, but rapidly found this nigh impossible. Had we done this, all normal life in our home would have had to have ceased. We would have had to have sat still in a quietened house, pen and paper in hand, waiting for the next batch of barking to happen. Of course, the barking is not in the least predictable and is as likely to happen late in the evening and well into the night when the foxes come sniffing around, so you couldn't possibly go for a night out, practice the drums, go to bed early or watch the TV of an evening. Proving our innocence turns out to be no trivial matter and of course, in asking the neighbour to quiet her dogs, her chickens and possibly a piglet or two, or even the TV, the sound system, a lawn mower or heaven forbid, the tractor may well get taken out as collateral.

In trying to improve the quality of life on the hill here, the council has, through failing to understand local need and through the problem of unintended consequences, actually disturbed a perfectly well-functioning system and created a terrible mess.

And so it would doubtless be, should we have to register as home educators. There is so little understanding of how autonomous education works that we would have to go out of our way to prove that it does, and in so doing, we would actually destroy it entirely. This is one of the principle reasons why I resist registration, voluntary or otherwise.

Of course there are others. As Graham Stuart said:

"If enacted, the Government's proposals will for the first time in our history tear away from parents and give to the state the responsibility for a child's education."

Whilst this would *arguably* not result from system of "voluntary" registration, it would nonetheless certainly happen if the 20 day pause in off-rolling a child from a school register, as endorsed by the Select Committee, were to go ahead.

From the Select Committee report:

"We believe that a child who is de-registered from school to be home educated should be nominally kept on his or her school's roll for 20 school days. This would offer much greater scope for resolving problems where parents had any unease about the prospect of home educating their child. We ask the Department to confirm that the child's absence from school during the 20 days would be treated as authorised absence. "

Ho hum.

To anyone from the DCSF and from LAs who happens to pass by this way: please just leave us alone. We will get on with things far better if you do. You DO have the powers to intervene if it appears that we aren't coping. Until that point, please, please just leave us alone, for the damage you cause by your ham-fisted attempts to intervene will only create havoc where there was none.

===============================

UPDATE: Goodness, Diana Johnson's response to the Select Committee report is woefully misleading in almost every regard. Take for example:

"We are confident that taken together, Graham Badman’s recommendations will make sure every child is safe and learning well."

Well, you may be confident, but you would be ridiculously wrong to be so, since your interventions will do next to nothing to ensure that children are learning well, and in most cases, you will probably damage the education of many home educated children by imposing irrelevant state-imposed "standards" for suitability. (Please see post above for analogy of why state-imposed standards do not work).

LAs will also waste a huge amount of money inspecting tens of thousands of otherwise well-functioning families when that money could have been far better spent dealing with families who are known to be at risk.

We believe the introduction of compulsory, light touch registration for home educated children is an important element of the way forward. "

Dear oh dear. What on earth is going on here? Does Ms Johnson really not realise that what the government is actually proposing is so far from LIGHT TOUCH it is hard to imagine. No minister with any sense of rightness or understanding of the situation could possibly pretend that these radical proposals which would shift responsibility for education entirely to the state are ANYTHING LIKE LIGHT TOUCH.

"It is only if all home educated children are registered that local authorities will get the information they need to make accurate assessments about the numbers of home educated children in their areas, and we agree with the Committee that this is essential."

We have yet to establish just WHY this is so essential. See post above for the essential fatuousness of such an argument which contains no actual explanation.

"Home education is a well established part of our education system and we have no plans to change that position."

Yes, you do. Don't fudge the facts. You may be allowing it to continue, insofar as children may still be educated at home, but they must now do the state's bidding and in that regard, it would be but home education in name.

"...we’ve said we want to provide better access for home educated children to facilities that enrich their experience of education, including school libraries, sports facilities and music lessons"

The government may have said this, but like plenty of other promises from the Labour party, there is actually no available evidence at all to show that they are working to implement this policy. There is nothing in the up and coming legislation as far as we are aware and is pure guff as far as we can see.

And anyway, most home educating families manage a far, far richer educational experience and environment for their children than I ever enjoyed in one of THE most expensive private schools in the country, so quite why HEors would want to come with begging bowl in hand to plead for the impoverished offerings of a bankrupted state, one can hardly imagine!


"Home educators also tell us they want more tailored support for children with special educational needs. This is something we’re working hard to address, and we will today publish our response to Brian Lamb’s review of SEN provision."

One would think this only fair as these home educators are saving the state a monstrous amount of money by not sending their children to school where special needs provision usually costs tens of thousands of pounds per child per annum. So yeah, by all means, actually do something useful with the money you haven't got!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Public Petition - Mass Presentation

...deserves a second viewing, I think.

Lessons from the States

Here's Kelly Green and Gold with some instructive histories about homeschooling legislation in the States.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lord Lucas's Questions

... here, on the so-called harassment of Graham Badman.

Here, on whether a local authority will have the right to refuse permission to home educate if a parent refuses to allow the local authority unaccompanied access to his or her child.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Home Educators' Petition Smashes the Record

It was a historic day. Yesterday evening, the record for the number of petitions presented to the House was well and truly smashed. Home educators really do MEAN it.

What's more, Graham Stuart nailed it in his introductory speech, when he said:

"If enacted, the Government's proposals will for the first time in our history tear away from parents and give to the state the responsibility for a child's education."

It is hard to overstress how important this is and thank goodness this key principle for which many statist proponents appear not to care a jot, is finally getting the publicity it deserves.

The state will never be able to tailor an educational programme to fit the child the way a parent can. To deliver the right to determine the nature of a suitable education for every family in the land into the hands of the state is to destroy any opportunity of parental responsibility in this area. The state must recognise the limits of its efficacy and must only intervene, as now, in cases of clear parental failure.

Fulsome thanks are due to Graham Stuart, and all those who support us. Thank you so much.

The presentation of the petition can be viewed here or from 7 hours, 52 mins into this recording.

From the MSM:

BBC
Channel 4 News
Yahoo/Sky News
North East Journal
The West Country
Western Telegraph
The Southern Daily Echo
London
Liverpool Echo
Birmingham Mail
East Devon
South Devon
North East Chronicle
St Albans' Review
Croydon
The Christian Institute
Politics.Co.UK
Politics.Co.UK
Politics.Co.UK

Update:
So far, it has been confirmed that 321 MPs have been contacted by home educators and have received petitions. MPs have been presenting these to the House and will continue to so into the New Year. So far, home educators have confirmed that 163 petitions have been delivered to the House.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mass Presentation of Petition Today!

The Mass presentation of the Public Petition, which calls upon the Government to withdraw the home education provisions from the CSF Bill, will take place today - Tuesday 8th December. MPs will be allowed a very brief personal comment before handing over.

Latest news is that 74 MPs will be presenting the petition from more than 120 constituencies and that this will smash the record for the number of petitions presented in one day - (previously 44 in March 2006). It means that more than 10% of Members of Parliament are involved.

Home educators have also had written confirmation of 257 constituencies covered by the Petition to Parliament i.e. at least one third of all MPs. Two thirds of these were where home educators had face to face meetings with MPs.

Home educators are tracking down what is happening with the remaining areas where we haven't had feedback for their database.

Please share this info freely to local lists etc.

Home Educators are also planning a short vigil outside the Houses of Parliament today, Tuesday evening, 18.00 - 19.30 hours.

We have permission to gather at the same place where the mass lobby was held: Old Palace Yard, opposite the House of Commons.

Feel free to bring banners, torches, lanterns, whistles, scary masks, bubbles, and probably umbrellas!

All welcome.

Petition Handovers

Home educators make it 156 delivered so far. We know that 288 constituencies had petitions.

Petition handovers began on November 30th

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091130/petntext/91130p0001.htm#09113019000001

November 30th

Heywood and Middleton John Dobbin

Walsall North David Winnick

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091201/petntext/91201p0001.htm#09120149000001

December 1st

Burton Janet Dean

West Worcestershire

Hampstead and Highgate

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2009-12-01b.1080.0&s=john+hemming#g1080.1

also December 1st

Birmingham Yardley John Hemming

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091202/petnindx/91202-x.htm

2nd December

Bath

Cannock Chase

Easington John Cummings

Portsmouth North

Swansea West

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2009-12-02a.1250.6&s=badman#g1250.9

also 2nd December

Bridgewater Ian Liddell Grainger

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091207/petnindx/91207-x.htm

3rd December

Billericay John Baron

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091207/petnindx/91207-x.htm

also 3rd December

West Chelmsford Simon Burns

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091207/petnindx/91207-x.htm

7th December

Eastbourne Nigel Waterson

Elmet Colin Burgon

Gloucester

Sheffield Hillsborough

Sittingbourne and Sheppey Derek Wyatt

Walthamstow Neil Gerrard

Wells David Heathcoat-Amory

http://www.freedomforfamilyeducation.org/presentation.htm

Mass Petition 8th December 10pm

Graham Stuart presented:

his own constituency of Beverley and Holderness

plus

North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald)
Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maples),
Winchester (Mr. Oaten),
Daventry (Mr. Boswell)
Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire),
Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry),
Ellesmere Port and Neston (Andrew Miller),
Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke),
Newport, West (Paul Flynn),
Colne Valley (Kali Mountford),
Finchley and Golders Green (Dr. Vis),
Hereford (Mr. Keetch),
Dudley, North (Mr. Austin),
Leeds, North-West (Greg Mulholland),
Salisbury (Robert Key)
Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames),
Brighton, Kemptown (Dr. Turner),
South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice)
The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard),
Redcar (Vera Baird),
Basildon (Angela E. Smith),
Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford),
Torridge and West Devon (Mr. Cox),
Conwy (Mrs. Williams),
Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps),
Hartlepool (Mr. Wright),
Beckenham (Mrs. Lait),
Dudley, South (Ian Pearson),
Wrexham (Ian Lucas),
Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik),
Battersea (Martin Linton),
Poplar and Canning Town (Jim Fitzpatrick),
City of Durham (Dr. Blackman-Woods),
Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes),
Crawley (Laura Moffatt)
Reading, West (Martin Salter),
Torfaen (Mr. Murphy)
Eccles (Ian Stewart),
Stoke-on-Trent, North (Joan Walley)
Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush (Mr. Slaughter)

Presented on their own behalf

Hertford and Stortford Mark Prisk

Hexham Peter Atkinson

Hemel Hempstead Mike Penning

Ashford Damian Green

Brighton Pavilion David Lepper

Eddisbury Stephen O'Brien

Guildford Anne Milton

Preseli Pembrokeshire Stephen Crabb

Caithness Sutherland John Thurso

Orpington John Horam

South West Bedfordshire Andrew Selous

Wimbledon Stephen Hammond

East Surrey Peter Ainsworth

Carshalton and Wallington Tom Brake

Huntingdon Jonathan Djanogly

Wellingborough Peter Bone

Woking Humfrey Malins

Macclesfield Nicholas Winterton

Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers

Manchester Withington John Leech

Cotswold Geoffrey Clifton Brown

North East Milton Keynes Mark Lancaster

Buckingham John Bercow( speaker) presented by Mark Lancaster

Bromsgrove Julie Kirkbride

High Peak Tom Levitt

Walthamstow Neil Gerrard

Fareham Mark Hoban

South West Hertfordshire David Gauke

Congleton Ann Winterton

North East Hampshire James Arbuthnot

Chesham and Amersham Cheryl Gillan

North Wiltshire James Gray

Hazell Grove Andrew Stunell

Vauxhall Kate Hoey

Enfield Southgate David Burrowes

Croydon Central Andrew Pelling

Regents Park and Kensington Karen Buck

Wokingham John Redwood

Berwick on Tweed Alan Beith

Bristol North West Doug Naysmith

Stroud David Drew

North East Bedfordshire Alastair Burt

Crewe and Nantwich Edward Timpson

Tewkesbury Laurence Robertson

Torbay Adrian Sanders

signatures from South Devon included with Torbay

Henley John Howell

Cities of London and Westminster Mark Field

Broxbourne Charles Walker

Witney ( David Cameron's constituency) presented by Tony Baldry

North Shropshire Owen Paterson

Newbury Richard Benyon

Wantage Edward Vaizey

Kettering Phillip Hollobone

Staffordshire Moorlands Charlotte Atkins

Wycombe Paul Goodman

East Devon Hugo Swire

Barnsley Central Eric Ilsley

Richmond Park Susan Kramer

Birmingham Selly Oak Lynne Jones

Brent East Sarah Teather

Brent South also presented by Sarah Teather

Tunbridge Wells Greg Clark

South Norfolk Richard Bacon

Wealden Charles Hendry

Leominster Bill Wiggin

South Cambridgeshire Andrew Lansley

Southend West David Amess

Havant David Willetts

Epping Forest Eleanor Laing

Windsor Adam Afriyie

Arundel and South Downs Nick Herbert

Also on the 8th

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091208/petntext/91208p0001.htm#0912095000090

Barnsley East and Mexborough Jeff Ennis

Chichester

Ealing Southall

Gainsborough

Hove

Kensington and Chelsea

Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle

Lincoln Gillian Merron

Luton North Kelvin Hopkins

Maidenhead

Meiryonnyd Nant Conwy Elfyn Llwyd

Reigate

Sheffield Central Richard Caborn

Shrewsbury and Atcham Daniel Kawczinski

Stevenage

Watford Claire Ward

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/22.htm#hddr_8

9th December

Mid Dorset and North Poole Annette Brooke

Harborough Edward Garnier

Bristol West Stephen Williams

Cheadle Mark Hunter

Brecon and Radnorshire Roger Williams


What's Wrong with the Impact Assessment?

Phew, I was thinking that an extensive critique of the Impact Assessment for the EHE component of the Children, Schools and Families Bill was called for and thankfully, here it is.

This concludes:

"Overall there seems little doubt that the proposed options for registering and monitoring...will incur at best a very small net quantifiable gain. Given the potential numbers of EHE children it is more likely that the proposals will produce a net ten year lifetime loss."

And this is putting aside all those other key questions about how one actually judges the nature of a suitable education.

There's another more forthright critique of the IA here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

DCSF Consultation Process Confirmed as a Complete Charade

No great surprise there then, but let's make the depth of government duplicity quite clear for anyone not yet fully in the picture.

Back in June 09, the DCSF announced a consultation on the registration and monitoring of home educators. 5000 individuals and groups had responded by the closing date in October, the large majority of which were home educators who oppose the draconian, disproportionate and utterly wasteful proposals as detailed in the consultation documents.

We still await the report on the consultation, but of course, given the antipathy to the proposals, the DCSF has decided that it is better not to let the democratic process play out by waiting for the report which would only reveal that people will resist the Stasi-like powers that the state proposes to appropriate, so the DCSF ploughs on regardless and quickly produces the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which is one of the most fatuous, ill-conceived and ill-considered pieces of proposed legislation in every regard, not just in relation to home education, in recent memory, (which is saying something!)

The DCSF in it's recent communications, barely bothers to conceal it's contempt for and misuse of the consultative process. See below:

"Thank you for your email of 18 November, in which you asked about the publication of the report on the consultation about registration and monitoring proposals relating to home education and the announcement of the Children, Schools and Families Bill.The consultation ran from 11 June to 19 October and we received over 5000 replies.

We have always said that we would consider the consultation responses carefully before proceeding with legislation because they would help us to make arrangements that support parents to provide quality home education while allowing local authorities (LAs) to take action where arrangements have serious shortcomings. We introduced proposals for a home education registration scheme as part of the Children, Schools and Families Bill which had its first reading in Parliament on 19 November. The consultation replies were analysed by our Consultation
Unit prior to introduction of the Bill and we were able to use the key themes arising from the responses and other correspondence we had received to help us to shape the primary legislation.

We will continue to use the replies to help develop any regulations and statutory guidance. For example, we have listened to the views made in respect of LAs interviewing a child alone; and about whether it should be a criminal offence to fail to register a home educated child
and we have tailored the content of the Bill accordingly. We anticipate that the report will be published shortly.

Yours sincerely


Public Communications Unit"

This government needs to go now, before it's total disregard for the need for proportionate legislation renders any notion of the importance of freedom in this country utterly archaic. However there is a real danger that Labour will be returned to power. With the Scots abandoning the Scottish National Party in large numbers and returning, perforce, to Labour, we may well end up with some simply appalling pieces of legislation that will destroy the education system in this country and that were merely meant to be a load of empty electioneering and false promises made under the assumption that they wouldn't be getting back in.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

More on the Petition

..this time in the Sutton Guardian. (page 4), South West Devon and Amersham and Chesham,
and now from Stroud, Bexley, Chesterfield, Hexham, Lincoln and Daventry.

Tim Yeo on Disproportionate Social Services' Intervention



Given that home educators are already regarded with a high level suspicion by many social work departments, it is not wonder that they are afraid.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Where we are now and what to do next.

OK so I'm guessing, though I think my information may well be good, in which case I suspect that the situation in Westminster is currently pretty volatile with regard to the issue of what to do about the monitoring of home educators. Whilst the Labour position is pretty clear on what it pretends to want to do, (see also the EO briefing paper on the CSF bill here), the Tories and the Lib Dems don't yet have a firm policy line and I suspect are being submitted to quite a bit of internal lobbying which may sway them either way.

This is significant because the Tories and the Lib Dems could be HUGELY important should the Children, Schools and Families Bill be selected for the "wash-up" process - which looks to be the only way that this bill could get through, given the shortage of time before the next election must be called. If this were to happen, the government will approach the two main opposition parties and ask them to agree to let the CSF bill through. The Shadow Spokesmen, Michael Gove for Tories, and David Laws for Lib Dems, will have a lot of say since they could amend or remove clauses they do not like.

I believe that right now, we should be taking every opportunity to alert both main opposition parties to the problems with the proposals to monitor educational provision and attainment for home educated children. We have to point out that if they follow the government's path in this regard and choose to implement this type of monitoring as well, they will have a much, much bigger job on their hands than they may currently realise.

Labour have called our bluff in this regard, because other policy proposals for schooling parents in the CSF bill make it clear that they pretend that they don't give a monkeys for the argument that the state should not be held responsible for ensuring that a child "receives", - as in both "is provided with" and "attains" a suitable education, since they are giving schooling parents all those rights to complain about failures over these issues.

You would have thought the government wouldn't have dared go down this route as it looks like a recipe for bankruptcy for most LAs, so I'm thinking that in truth, the government really, really doesn't want this bit of the bill to go through unamended and that it was merely a bit of electioneering via the Queen's speech.

These universal proposals also served to obscure the significance of their proposal to monitor the educational provision and attainment of home educated children, which would mean that the government could slip this bit by the opposition parties whilst the Tories in particular rushed to obliterate the other bit about schooling parents having rights to sue over failure of educational provision and attainment.

So, whether or not the CSF bill comes up in the wash-up, if anyone has a good opportunity to talk to their Tory or Lib Dem MP, it is worth mentioning that universal monitoring of the provision and educational attainment of home educated children will have a huge impact for any government, since it will reinterpret s7 for all children and will mean that any government must do something about every single child should the educational provision or attainment prove inadequate. The government will need to investigate and do something about all failure of educational provision and attainment, whether at home or in school.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

No Reason to Refuse our FOI Requests

Ciaran McHale challenges the DCSF's refusal to engage. He has taken apart the government’s claim that Graham Badman has been “vilified” and “harassed,” and he has decimated the government’s grounds for refusal of FOI requests.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

More News of the Petition

From Lincolnshire. (We have it on good authority that Asha actually describes herself as home "educated").

And Ealing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Daily Mail on CRB checks for Home Educating Parents

...here.

The Only Chance for the Children, Schools and Families Bill

On handing in our petitions, a number of us have taken the opportunity to ask our MPs about the chances of the Childrens, Schools and Families Bill actually being passed. The answer seems to be that it is unlikely to become law before the next election but it still could do so in a process known as the "the wash-up".

This is the procedure whereby once an election is announced, the government approaches the two main opposition parties and asks them to agree to let through say, three or four bills.

We will have to keep a close eye on this one.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Further Update on Petition

There are yet more reports from people who have handed over their petitions to MPs in the past few days. Some have managed to get the press involved as well.

People with uncooperative Labour MPs are sending their petitions straight to Graham Stuart which should generate further media coverage.

We hear that

"Over 370 constituencies have coordinators, so it’s a massive project and even if only a third of the petitions are presented formally, it will dwarf any previous national petition (apparently 44 is the highest to date)."

The Mother Magazine

...on the government's proposals to ruin the lives of home educators.

This is how it looks from the other side of the pond.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Petitions Well-received

Home educators have been handing over their petitions to their MPs in dozens of constituencies around the country today and have frequently met with a favorable reception. My MP greeted me with the words "You won't need to stay long, as I completely agree with you", and that was pretty much it!

Other MPs, whilst understanding that the current proposals are disproportionate, are more ambivalent on the issue of registration, but the more we can explain the mission-creep and resulting state-inflicted abuse that registration would almost inevitably entail, the better.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lord Lucas on the Children, Schools and Families Bill

...on Iplayer here and in Hansard here.

The home education community feels properly represented in Parliament. Lord Lucas is a good man who listens, understands and persists in making great good sense, but there are others who haven't taken the time. In her summing up, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon put the government's position:

"Clearly the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, does not like the part of the Bill relating to home education. However, the Government are committed to supporting its continuation as a choice for parents. Registration and monitoring will give local authorities the tools that they need to tackle the small number of cases where the education provided is not good enough. It will also ensure that in future there is a clearer picture on home-educated children. Home-educating families are doing a fine job and are co-operating with reasonable requests from their local authority; they will find little difference in their lives."

On this last point, she is completely wrong and shouldn't go about pretending that she knows what she is talking about.

What I will be saying to my MP tomorrow

My argument to him is now going to be: look what this will actually mean. It will mean that children, some of whom have profound problems of one sort or another with school, who may well be simply terrified of it and who would NOT be well served by being forced to go back to it, but who ARE extremely well served by being educated out of school, will spend their whole lives worrying about the subjective judgement of a complete stranger, since this could simply devastate their lives.

Home education is an entire way of life for these children. Being forced back into school on someone's probably poorly informed judgement about what constitutes a suitable education would destroy their entire lives and ruin the balance and trust that a family regularly achieves by home educating their children.

No other children are held to such regular and all-encompassing account.

There is a received but extremely poorly informed idea that school refusal is an irrational phobia that must be overcome and that this is best achieved by forcing children back to school. Yet outcomes for these children are not good. (Hersov and Berg). We don't force adults back into a work place where they are unhappy and/or unsuccessful and which doesn't suit them. Why should we persist with this approach with children when experience in the HE community demonstrates the success of home education as a means of achieving a successful outcome?

Children who were living extremely successful lives will find that those lives are entirely conditional, entirely unsafe. This will be devastating and home educating parents will not accept it and will do their utmost to resist it.

It MUST NOT HAPPEN.

Meanwhile, Lord Lucas who will be speaking on the bill in the Queen's Speech debate tomorrow, will be saying much the same thing, if for other extremely pressing reasons.

And for a general critique of the failure of Every Child Matters to deliver anything significant by way of safeguarding and success for children, go here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Children, Schools and Families Bill

The sections from the Children, Schools and Families Bill which relate to home education can be found here (Clauses 26 and 27) and here (Schedule 1).

It is easier to work this all out using the Explanatory Notes, though the whole thing is still far from transparent and home educators are still processing the full implications of it all.

Suffice it to say that it does not look good. It appears to place the decision about the nature of a suitable education firmly in the hands of the state. Registration can be refused on the arbitrary and subjective whim of the local authority as they are to be delivered of the right to decide upon the nature of "harm" to a child (section 19B,(7)) and as the Secretary of State is delivered of the right to determine the necessary requirements for successful registration. I am yet to clarify if harm will continue to mean what it has previously meant. (See section 47, Children Act 1989).

If my understanding is correct, registration may also be refused, not simply on the basis of suspicion of harm to the child, but if the statement of education or any other relevant information that is provided by the parent upon application to register is deemed inadequate: (section 19B,(8)). Registration may also be revoked if the education is deemed unsuitable (section 19F (1)) and an LA will be able to refuse repeat application to register until a certain time has passed.

Further, quoting Dani: "the Bill proposes that any home educated child who is not ‘registered’ with the local authority will be the subject of a School Attendance Order, should they be discovered. In such a situation, the Bill states that “an authority shall disregard any education being provided to the child as a home- educated child.”

Though the government has clearly decided to back away from the idea of creating a new criminal offence of failing to register, it is attempting to create a compulsory system by threatening to force home educated children into school if their parents do not comply.

Further on this point, it appears that LAs will not have to apply to the courts to issue an SAO - they just issue it. Should the parents fail to comply with the SAO, they will then be taken to the courts. (Schedule 1, Section 9). However, the courts would STILL not take the issue of suitable education into account, so the parents would almost certainly lose.

Dani continues:

...the Bill states that there will be no automatic right of entry to homes or to see children alone. However, the proposed new Section 19F(1)(e) would give local authorities the right to remove a child’s name from the home education register if it appears to them that:

“by reason of a failure to co-operate with the authority in arrangements made by them under section 19E, or an objection to a meeting as mentioned in section 19E(4), the authority have not had an adequate opportunity to ascertain the matters referred to in section 19E(1)”

Our interpretation of this is that the system of monitoring will be determined by the local authority, and any objections raised by a home educating family could easily lead to their child’s removal from the register and a consequent School Attendance Order."

Dani adds:

"These sections in particular, especially combined with the proposed new section 19C (which allows for the issuing of regulations on various key aspects of the registration system) would have the effect of locking home educating families into a monitoring system, which can be amended without Parliamentary scrutiny by any future government."


Explanatory notes:

"
Home education

Clause 26: Home Education: England

"112. This clause needs to be read with Schedule 1. This clause and Schedule 1 introduce a registration scheme for children who are being educated at home in England. Home education is lawful and at present it is largely unregulated. Where a child has never attended school, parents are not required to inform their local authority that the child is being educated at home, or to seek approval of the home education being provided. The Schedule introduces a new registration scheme to enable local authorities in England to keep track of home-educated children. In terms of enforcement of the new system, the Schedule links the home education registration scheme to the school attendance order regime.

Home Education: registration and monitoring

113. Clause 26 gives effect to the provisions of the Schedule. Paragraph 1 of the Schedule inserts new sections 19A to 19I into Part 1, Chapter 3, of the EA 1996 (local authorities). The new sections impose new duties on English local authorities in relation to children who are to be electively home-educated.

114. New section 19A requires a local authority to keep a register of all children of compulsory school age in their area who are being educated entirely at home - i.e., none of whose education is provided at a school, or under section 19 of the EA 1996 (exceptional provision of education in pupil referral units or elsewhere).

115. Subsections (2) and (3) of new section 19A enable the Secretary of State to make regulations about how local authorities will maintain and amend the register. Subsection (4) of new section 19A defines what is meant by a “home-educated child” and “home education register”.

116. New Section 19B sets out what a local authority is required to do when the parent of a home-educated child of compulsory school age in their area applies, in the prescribed way, for the child to be placed on their home education register. The authority must register the child unless they consider that the child is within subsection (6) or (7), or that subsection (8) applies to the child’s application. If they consider the child is within subsection (7), they must not register the child. But if they think the child is within subsection (6), or that subsection (8) applies to the child’s application, they may choose whether or not to register the child. For example, a child may be within subsection (7) if that child is subject to a child protection plan and is thought to be safer at school or in alternative provision than being educated at home. Giving local authorities the discretion to register in relation to children falling within subsections (6) and (8) will allow a local authority to consider issues and circumstances which are likely to be relevant to whether those children should be registered. The local authority must notify the child’s parent of registration or, if registration is refused, of this fact and the reasons for it (subsection (5)).

117. New section 19C confers power on the Secretary of State to make regulations about steps to be taken by a local authority in connection with an application for registration, and specifies that this may include provision as described in subsection (2).

118. New section 19C also specifies that the power conferred by section 19B(1)(a) may be used to make provision about the form and content of any application for entry on the home education register, and as described in subsection (5). There is a specific reference in subsection (4) of new section 19C to a statement giving information about the child’s prospective education. The Government envisages that all applications will be required to provide such a statement, or to provide an undertaking to provide such a statement. In addition the power under new section 19B(1)(a) is likely to be used as described in subsection (5), i.e. to make provision enabling an authority that has refused a child’s application, or revoked a child’s registration, to require a period of time to elapse before a fresh application is made in respect of the child. This would prevent local authorities from having to process immediate, subsequent re-applications for registration from parents where there have been no material changes in circumstances.

119. New section 19D makes provision about how long registration will last. It also provides that, for enforcement purposes, a child will be treated as registered as soon as an application for registration has been made.

120. The effect is that once an application has been made in respect of a child, the child will be treated as registered until the application is rejected, or (assuming that the application is successful) until the expiry of the period of 12 months from the date of registration. But if the child’s registration is revoked during that 12 month period, then the child will cease to be treated as registered as from the date of the notice of revocation that needs to be given to the child’s parent. The registration will also terminate if the child ceases to be of compulsory school age.

121. New section 19E obliges a local authority to make arrangements to monitor the education provided to a child on their home education register. The objective of the arrangements is to ascertain, as far as reasonably practicable, whether the child is receiving a suitable education, whether the education accords with the information given about it, what the child’s wishes and feelings about it are, and whether it would be harmful for the child’s welfare for the education to continue.

122. Subsection (2) of new section 19E defines what is meant by a suitable education for this purpose. Subsection (3) provides that the arrangements made by a local authority under new section 19E must include arrangements, in each registration period, for at least the meetings and visits described in that subsection- unless the registration period begins less than 6 months from the end of compulsory education, in which case the local authority has a power to make arrangements of the sort described in subsection (3) rather than a duty. The duty requires an authority to see a child, the parent and the place (or at least one of the places) where the education is to take place, at least once in any registration period. Where a local authority consider that someone other than the parent is primarily responsible for providing education then the local authority will be under a duty to see that other person as well, at least once in any registration period. For most home-educated children, these visits will be carried out concurrently. Subsection (4) explains that the local authority cannot make arrangements to see the child on their own if the child or the parent objects to such a meeting.

123. Subsection (5) explains that a local authority must give at least two weeks written notice of a proposed meeting or of a visit to a place where education is provided.

124. New section 19F gives a local authority the power to revoke registration on their home education register in certain circumstances. Where a local authority exercises this power, it must give notice of the revocation to the child’s parent (subsection (3)).

125. Section 19F(1)(a) to (g) set out the circumstances in which a local authority may revoke registration. Subsection (4) provides that in deciding for the purpose of revoking registration whether it would be harmful to the child’s welfare for home-education to continue, and whether the home-education being provided is suitable, the local authority is to take into account the wishes and feelings of the child as far as is reasonably practicable.

126. Subsection (2) of new section 19F provides a definition of suitable education for the purposes of revocation under section 19F(1). (This is the same as the definition in new section 19E.)

127. Subsection (5) of new section 19F gives power to the Secretary of State to make regulations about the specific actions that a local authority should take in connection with revocation, or proposed revocation. The regulations may (subsection (6)) include provision about matters that local authorities should and should not take into account when considering revocation.

128. New section 19G requires regulations to provide for a parent to be able to appeal against a local authority’s decision to refuse or revoke registration. The provision made by the regulations may include provision about the matters listed in subsection (2) - including the time limit for bringing appeals and the procedure on appeals. The regulations may also provide that where a right of appeal has been exercised in respect of a child’s registration, the child is to be treated as registered, for the purposes of enforcement, despite the refusal or revocation of registration.

129. New section 19H permits the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring information relating to a child to be supplied to a local authority in England, in certain circumstances, for the purposes of the exercise of their home-education functions. The persons who may be required to supply information are another local authority in England, and the proprietor of a school in England from which the child has been withdrawn for home-education. The Government intends to use this power, for example, to provide that if a school has been notified that a child is being withdrawn to be home-educated, and the school knows the identity of the local authority for the area where the child will be home-educated, the school must notify that local authority and pass on certain information about the child such as the child’s educational attainment to date.

130. New section 19I requires local authorities to have regard to any statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State when exercising their functions under sections 19A to 19H.

Duty to make arrangements to identify unregistered children, etc

131. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 inserts a new section 436ZA into the EA 1996. This is needed to reflect the fact that, in England, home-educated children will need to be registered on their local authority’s home-education register. The new section requires a local authority in England to make arrangements to identify two categories of children of compulsory school age in their area. The first category is that consisting of children who are not home-educated, are not registered pupils at a school, and are not receiving suitable education provided under section 19 of the EA 1996 (alternative provision). Children within this category will be those who are not receiving any education at all, or who are receiving education under section 19 (of the Education Act 1996) that for some reason is not suitable. The second category is that consisting of home-educated children who are not on the authority’s home education register.

132. Subsection (4) of new section 436ZA requires local authorities to have regard to any statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State when exercising their function of making arrangements to identify these children.

School attendance orders

133. The new registration scheme is to be enforced through the existing system of school attendance orders. Paragraphs 5 - 10 of Schedule 1 amend the EA 1996 to provide for this. The bulk of the amendments are to sections 437, 442 and 443 of the EA 1996. There are also consequential amendments to sections 438 and 441 of the EA 1996. Since the provisions in the Bill about home education apply only in relation to local authorities in England, the result is that the school attendance order system will work slightly differently in England from the way in which it works in Wales. The amendments do not change the operation of the school attendance order system in Wales.

134. The result of the amendments to section 437 is that, if a child in the area of a local authority in England appears to the authority to be being home-educated, but is not on their home education register (and has not applied to go on the register), a school attendance order will be served - provided that the authority considers that it is expedient for the child to attend school (new subsection (3A) of section 437 of the EA 1996, as inserted by paragraph 5(6) of Schedule 1.) In considering for this purpose whether it is expedient that an unregistered home-educated child should attend school, an authority is to disregard the unregistered home education being provided to the child (new subsection (3B) of section 437). But they may consider other matters, for example whether alternative provision should be made for the child under section 19 of the EA 1996.

135. If a child in the area of a local authority in England does not appear to the authority to be a home-educated child, but it appears to the authority that the child is not receiving suitable education, then the effect of section 437(B1) of the EA 1996, as inserted by paragraph 5(2) of Schedule 1 is that the authority must serve notice on the child’s parent. If, in response to the notice, the parent satisfies the authority that the child is receiving suitable education provided at school or under section 19, or that the child is registered on their own or another authority’s home education register, then this will be the end of the matter. So for instance a parent of a home-educated child could respond to a notice by applying for registration, thus stopping the school attendance order process. Or a parent of a child who had not been attending school because of, for instance, bullying concerns, could decide to opt for home education, and make an application accordingly, thus stopping the process. But if the parent fails to satisfy the local authority of any of these matters then the authority will serve a school attendance order.

136. Section 442 of the EA 1996 makes provision for a school attendance order to be revoked in certain circumstances. The amendments made to section 442 by paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 reflect the fact that, in England, revocation of a school attendance order will need to take into account the new registration system. The effect of the amendments is that a local authority in England must revoke a school attendance order served by them in respect of a child if the child is registered on their home education register. They must also revoke the order if they are satisfied that the child is registered on another authority’s register (provided that the child is in that other authority’s area). So for instance if a home-educated child in respect of whom an order has been served by one authority moves to another authority’s area after service of the order, and the child’s parent applies for registration there, the parent will be able to have the order revoked by informing the original authority of the registration. The local authority must also revoke the order if the parent applies for revocation on the ground that arrangements have been made for the child to receive suitable education under section 19 of the EA 1996, unless they do not think that satisfactory arrangements for this have been made.

137. Section 443 of the EA 1996 makes it a criminal offence to fail to comply with a school attendance order. Paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 amends section 443 to reflect the new registration system. The result is that, where a school attendance order has been served by a local authority in England, a non-complying parent will not be guilty of an offence if the child is registered on the authority’s home education register. Nor will a non-complying parent be guilty of an offence if he or she can prove that the child is registered on another authority’s home education register, or is receiving suitable education provided under section 19 of the EA 1996.

Clause 27: Power of National Assembly for Wales to make provision by Measure

138. Clause 27 confers power on the National Assembly for Wales to make provision about the regulation of home education, and the inspection of services provided by local authorities for persons involved in providing home education. It achieves this by amending field 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 (legislative competence of National Assembly for Wales in the area of education and training).


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Section 437 with Amendments

437. School attendance orders.

(A1) Subsection (B1) applies if—

(a) it appears to a local authority in England that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, and

(b) the child does not appear to the authority to be a home-educated child.

(B1) The authority shall serve a notice in writing on the child’s parent requiring the parent to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is either—

(a) receiving suitable education provided wholly or partly by regular attendance at school, or otherwise than at school under section 19,

(b) registered on their home education register, or

(c) in the area of another authority and registered on that authority’s home education register.

(1) If it appears to a local education authority in Wales that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.

(2) The period specified in a notice under this section shall not be less than 15 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served.

(3) If—

(a) a parent on whom a notice has been served under subsection (B1) or (1) fails to satisfy the local education authority as specified in the notice, within the period specified in the notice,

(b) in the opinion of the authority it is expedient that the child should attend school, the authority shall serve a school attendance order on the parent

(c) in the case of a notice served under subsection (B1), the child does not appear to the authority to be a home- educated child,”;

(3A) If it appears to a local authority in England—

(a) that a child of compulsory school age in their area is a home-educated child, but is not registered on their home education register, and

(b) that it is expedient that the child should attend school, the authority shall serve a school attendance order on the child’s parent.

(3B) In determining for the purposes of subsection (3A)(b) whether it is expedient that a child should attend school, an authority shall disregard any education being provided to the child as a home-educated child.

(4) A school attendance order shall (subject to any amendment made by the local education authority) continue in force for so long as the child is of compulsory school age, unless—

(a) it is revoked by the authority, or

(b) a direction is made in respect of it under section 443(2) or 447(5).

(5) Where a maintained school is named in a school attendance order, the local education authority shall inform the governing body and the head teacher

(6) Where a maintained school is named in a school attendance order, the governing body (and, in the case of a maintained school, the local education authority) shall admit the child to the school.

(7) Subsection (6) does not affect any power to exclude from a school a pupil who is already a registered pupil there.

(8) In this Chapter— “maintained school” means any community, foundation or voluntary
school or any community or foundation special school not established in a hospital; and “suitable education”, in relation to a child, means efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have.

(9) In this Act “school attendance order” means an order, in such form as may be prescribed, served on a child’s parent under this section and requiring the parent to cause the child to become a registered pupil at a school named in the order.”

If we have this correctly, this would mean that if a home educated child is unregistered, it doesn't matter if a suitable education is being provided. An SAO will be automatically issued. Whether it would be possible to apply to register within the time specified in the notice of the SAO is another matter.

If parents refuse to co-operate with the SAO, the courts will also not consider the matter of whether a suitable education is being provided and will automatically find them guilty.

9

(1) Section 443 of EA 1996 (offence: failure to comply with order) is amended as follows.

(2) Before subsection (1) there is inserted—

(A1) A parent on whom a school attendance order is served in respect of a child by a local authority in England, and who fails to comply with the requirements of the order, is guilty of an offence unless—

(a) the parent proves that he is causing the child to receive suitable education, otherwise than at school, under section 19,

(b) the child is registered on the authority’s home education register, or

(c) the parent proves that the child is in the area of another authority, and the child is registered on that authority’s home education register.”

A Wikiversity Page

...on the Children, Schools and Families Bill has been set up here. Discussion and edits required.

Children, Schools and Families Bill, Schedule 1 Paragraph 5 - 10

Schedule 1 Paragraph 5 - 10

School attendance orders

5 (1)Section 437 of EA 1996 (school attendance orders) is amended as follows.


5 (2) Before subsection (1) there is inserted—

(A1) Subsection (B1) applies if—

(a) it appears to a local authority in England that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, and

(b) the child does not appear to the authority to be a home-educated child.

(B1) The authority shall serve a notice in writing on the child’s parent requiring the parent to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is either—

(a) receiving suitable education provided wholly or partly by regular attendance at school, or otherwise than at school under section 19,

(b) registered on their home education register, or

(c) in the area of another authority and registered on that authority’s home education register.”

(3) In subsection (1), after “authority” there is inserted “in Wales”.

(4) In subsection (2), for “That period” there is substituted “The period specified in a notice under this section”.

(5) In subsection (3)—

(a) in paragraph (a)—

(i) after “subsection” there is inserted “(B1) or”;

(ii) after “authority” there is inserted “as specified in the notice”;

(iii) the words “that the child is receiving suitable education, and” are omitted;

(b) at the end of paragraph (b) there is inserted “and

(c) in the case of a notice served under subsection (B1), the child does not appear to the authority to be a home- educated child,”;

(c) for the words from “on the parent” to the end there is substituted “a school attendance order on the parent”.

(6) After subsection (3) there is inserted—

“(3A) If it appears to a local authority in England—

(a) that a child of compulsory school age in their area is a home-educated child, but is not registered on their home education register, and

(b) that it is expedient that the child should attend school, the authority shall serve a school attendance order on the child’s parent.

(3B) In determining for the purposes of subsection (3A)(b) whether it is expedient that a child should attend school, an authority shall disregard any education being provided to the child as a home-educated child.”


(7) After subsection (8) there is inserted—

“(9) In this Act “school attendance order” means an order, in such form as may be prescribed, served on a child’s parent under this section and requiring the parent to cause the child to become a registered pupil at a school named in the order.”

(6)In section 438 of EA 1996 (choice of school), after “section 437(3)” there is inserted “or (3A)”.


(7) In section 441 of EA 1996 (choice of school: child with statement of special educational needs), after “section 437(3)” there is inserted “or (3A)”.

8 (1) Section 442 of EA 1996 (revocation of order at request of parent) is amended as follows.

(2) Before subsection (1) there is inserted—

“(A1) Subsections (B1) to (D1) apply where a school attendance order served by a local authority in England is in force in respect of a child.

(B1) If the child is registered on the authority’s home education register, the authority shall revoke the order.

(C1) If the authority are satisfied that the child—

(a) is in the area of another authority, and


(b) is registered on that authority’s home education register, they shall revoke the order.


(D1) If at any time the parent applies to the authority requesting that the order be revoked on the ground that arrangements have been made for the child to receive suitable education, otherwise than at a school, under section 19, the authority shall comply with the request, unless
they are of the opinion that no satisfactory arrangements to this effect have been made.”

(3) In subsection (1), for the words from “This section” to “order” there is substituted “Subsection (2) applies where a school attendance order served by a local authority in Wales”.

(4) In subsection (3), after “subsection” there is inserted “(D1) or”.


(5) In subsection (5)(a), after “subsections” there is inserted “(B1) to (D1) and”.

9 (1) Section 443 of EA 1996 (offence: failure to comply with order) is amended as follows.

(2) Before subsection (1) there is inserted—“(A1) A parent on whom a school attendance order is served in respect of a child by a local authority in England, and who fails to comply with the requirements of the order, is guilty of an offence unless—

(a) the parent proves that he is causing the child to receive suitable education, otherwise than at school, under section

(b) the child is registered on the authority’s home education register, or

(c) the parent proves that the child is in the area of another authority, and the child is registered on that authority’s home education register.”

(3) In subsection (1), after “served” there is inserted “by a local authority in Wales”.

10 In section 580 of EA 1996 (index), in the entry for “school attendance order”, for “section 437(3)” there is substituted “section 437(9)”.