Friday, July 21, 2006

A Paragon of Ambiguity

So here it is: the Statutory Instrument regarding Pupil Registration Regulations.

Make of it what you will. The local authorities sure will.

The principle areas of concern to home educators: is there or is there not potential for schools to introduce a delay between parental notification of de-registration from school and removal from the register, and who is actually responsible for registering a child at a school in the first place?

Both of the above ambiguities in the SI will surely allow for abuse of the principle of parental responsibility for education of children, which (believe it or not - and in a spirit that is directly contradictory to elements of the Children Act 2004), is still enshrined in Section 7 of 1996 Education Act as quoted below in the manner of a consoling mantra:


"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable-

(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."


Jax said...

I wrote to my mp. And she wrote to the education office. And I got a three page letter back all about it.

Looks kind of different to what they consulted on though, doesn't it? As far as I can tell, there's no delay built in any more, is there?

Carlotta said...

I think there are good grounds to think that the pressure applied by HEors made a difference to the drafting and yes, I do agree that the final result actually looks a lot less awful than they were originally proposing.

The bit re de-reg that may be open to abuse: Section 12(3) "As to the contents of the admission register comprising particulars relating to a pupil whose name is to be deleted in accordance with regulation 8(1)(d), (e),(g),(i) or (m), the proprietor shall make a return to the local authority for every such pupil giving the full name of the pupil, the address of any parent with whom the pupil normally resides and the ground upon which their name is to be deleted from the admission register as soon as the ground for deletion is met in relation to that pupil, and in any event no later than deleting the pupil's name from the register."

which does seem to be very tight if you read the whole thing properly, ie: deletion should be immediate upon parental notification, but which in reality is likely to be abused, since LAs may do things such as delay de-reg whilst they check out why a child has had leave of absence, or they may interpret the SI to mean that they must delay de-reg in order to inform the LA - with all the potential for abuse of families that this may well entail.

Having said all that, I do think that if we read this thing tightly and stand firm on our doorsteps, we will quite rightly be able to use it in defence of immediate de-reg.

Carlotta said...

Just to add re ambiguity and potential for abuse...the registration issue does look very worrying in it's ambiguity.

Given that (if the database works) we will all become knowns and with the drive to find Children Missing from Education, it doesn't seem at all inconcievable that the state will take over the whole of the registration process and implicitly therefore appropriate to themselves the responsibility for the education of children.

Jax said...

The registration side of things worries me more than the dereg atm, but my brain keeps exploding when I try to read it.

what would happen if you rang every school in your area saying your child needed a school place, then deregged from one? I don't think it's clear at all.

Carlotta said...

"my brain keeps exploding when I try to read it."

:) Ikewym, though I mistakenly took this effect to be the result of a hangover when I first tried to read it. But I'm actually completely sober today and it still happens.

I also agree about being more concerned about the registration side of things, though I suppose this has been the case since the implementation of ECM and the database.

In my view, compulsory de facto registration (as implied by the database) is already a move too far on the part of the acceptance that parents are not to be trusted and must be accountable to someone else.

Already I feel nannied, inclined to roll over and hand over all responsibility.

goo goo ga-ga...