Thanks are due to the person who pointed out to me that my contention that children will be damaged by Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill has been contested by a supporter of the Bill. I don't want to get bogged down in unproductive debate with this particular individual who has repeatedly demonstrated an incapacity to argue with a due respect for reality, the rules of logic or with much integrity, but I am prepared to address at least one of his points.
My basic argument is this: if LAs and/or courts are given any greater powers to override parental/familial autonomy with regard to determining the place of education, children who are not suited to school-based education will be forced into schools and will suffer, and some will die as a result.
This for those of us who have known and acknowledged the terrible pain of many schooled children, isn't an unreasonable contention. For everyone else who trivialises the impact of the damage caused by schools, I am sorry but I just can't be bothered to argue this point just now, mostly because I think it likely that the trivialisation of school trauma is such a norm and a heftily entrenched meme amongst school advocates and others, that anything other than the most protracted explanations/investigations/epiphanic moments is unlikely to shift this.
What remains at issue however, is whether the CSF bill will actually override parental autonomy with regard to the determining of the place of education. It is perfectly understandable that there might have been some disagreement over whether the new system for School Attendance Orders (which would result from the overlaying of the CSF Bill) would result in further removal of parental/familial autonomy to decide the place of education, as there is considerable ambiguity about how the re-writing of s437 will play out.
From the relevant sections of the Bill:
"(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.
Don't be fooled by the bit about section 19 in B1(a) since this only applies to children whose education is funded by local authorities out of school.
B1(b) and (c) seem to imply that a child must already be on their own or another LA's home education register when the LA make a written request to the parent giving them 'x' days notice to demonstrate that this is the case.
Should the parent fail to demonstrate either a, b or c, an SAO will be issued.
The only possible get-out clause: that a family might be able to scramble an acceptance onto the LA's home education register within the time frame that an LA sets out in the notice, but it is by no means clear that this would be possible and given the ambiguity and the intent behind the law, which is surely to frighten home educators into registering, LAs are almost certain to opt for the first interpretation, ie: if you aren't already on a register...boomf, an SAO is coming your way soon.
From the DCSF's Policy Statement on Schedule 1, (para 18), it seems unlikely that a family will be able to do such scrambling, since it appears that new HEors will only have 20 days to apply to register, whilst HEors who have been in the business a long time will only have three months in which to apply.
It therefore seems highly unlikely that there will be a chance for home educating families to argue that whilst they aren't registered, they are still actually providing a suitable education outside of school.
If the notice runs out before the family can demonstrate that they are on the home education register and the LA think it expedient that the child attend school, the authority shall serve a school attendance order. In considering whether it is expedient that a child should attend school:
"(3B)...an authority shall disregard any education being provided to the child as a home-educated child."
Hmm...so even less chance that a family can get out of jail (I mean school) free then?
So, given that the SAO has been issued, what should a family with a child who would fail in school then do? Most will not dare to face court, (given that the penalty for being found guilty is likely to be a hefty fine, "not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale" - whatever that means) and will therefore probably just accede to authority, and try to cope with all the suffering that this will entail for their child.
On the other hand, if such a family do dig in their heels, what then? At this point, we must look to the re-write of s443.
443 Offence: failure to comply with school attendance order
(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.
This seems to make it clear that the courts in England at least are not allowed to consider the nature of suitability of education (again do not be fooled by A1a as this only applies to Section 19 children). Unless the parent is still able to set about getting the child on the register, even at this late stage, my original contention that a parent will have no defence regarding suitability of educational provision in court does indeed appear to stand.
In which case, supporters of the CSF Bill - children will suffer and some will indeed die because of it.
For other reasons why the CSF Bill will kill children, see Firebird's comment below.