Fiona Nicholson of EO had this to say at the Public Bill Committee:
"I really believe that you will not find home-education support organisations that will deliver training on how to implement the Bill, so in respect of all those plans for softening the edges and making it palatable and home-education friendly, I cannot see where you will find such people. There are two home-education support charities: Education Otherwise and the Home Education Advisory Service. They are both registered charities. They are membership subscription organisations. They get their funding entirely from member subscriptions. Our members are not paying ours to help the Government to implement the Bill, so unless you set up your own home-education support organisation, I do not really see how you will find home educators to train local authorities to deliver the Bill, even with substantial amendments. It will be very difficult."
Further on this point, it seems EO are drawing the line in the sand. We heard yesterday that:
"Education Otherwise has just written to the Minister Vernon Coaker declining an offer of a meeting with Diana Johnson."
We also hear that the DCSF have responded to EO's question about the legal status of the DCSF's Position Statement:
"They do not have any legislative status, as the final content of both the Bill and the regulations are subject to the will of Parliament, and there must also be a statutory period of consultation on the content of the regulations."
Well, at least the DCSF recognises that their own Position Statement is legislatively meaningless. Do pass this statement on to your MP, if you haven't already!
It would also be worth pointing out that it seems that the DCSF can't manage a single sentence without coming out with yet another falsehood, for as it stands, the regulations that would result from the Bill would not necessarily be subject to the will of Parliament at all, since there is plenty of scope in Schedule 1 for regulations simply to be subject to the will of the Secretary of State.