Thursday, June 28, 2007

EO on Responding to the Consultation on Proposed Guidelines

Education Otherwise have the following to say on getting those responses in now:

"We must not think that the threat to our freedoms has gone away. These Guidelines are only a DRAFT and if local authorities use the consultation process to make demands for tighter controls and stricter monitoring then this needs to be counter-balanced by a strong assertive response from the home education community. Local authorities are ALREADY responding individually and regionally to the Guidelines Consultation and in some cases they are making it quite clear that they are not happy about the draft Guidelines. If the home education response is muted then this LA view will prevail.

EO Government Policy Group will be making a comprehensive response on behalf of EO but this will not be submitted until the deadline and in the meantime we need hundreds of individual
responses making the legal case for the rights of home educating families. . We have put together some draft responses [ hyperlink ] which you could use as a springboard for your own reply but it is very important to put your own views in your own words If everyone replies using the same form of words then this will only count as one response. Consider giving examples from your own experience wherever possible. The DfES needs to be convinced that hundreds and hundreds of home educating families would be up in arms about any changes to monitoring and they need to be convinced that good clear fair Guidelines are The Way Forward.
Please act now ! "


Ruth said...

I have been out of the loop a bit with this but was under the impression that any guidelines are not going to be enforced and are not above the current HE laws - is that not true anymore?

Carlotta said...

Dear Ruth,

re: non-enforcement..this is certainly the case as things stand, though I guess matters could change if they do change this aspect of the draft.

re: being above (or below the law)...I have the impression (see that the DfES think that they have plenty of room for manoeuvre with a flexible interpretation of the current laws which could mean that the guidelines could be re-written to be much more intrusive and prescriptive.

I actually don't think this is the case - that the DfES could insist on such stuff without upsetting the whole balance of English education law as it currently stands, but this would need to be made clear to them in our responses, otherwise I think there is a very real risk that the guidelines could be re-written to our detriment.

We have also seen how easy it is to change legislation, eg: in Scotland where they now need to gain consent to deregister from schools, and this apparently without Scottish legislature worrying too much that this impacts on other areas of the law. They seem perfectly happy to make this change, despite the fact that this really should impact upon Section 7. Ed Act 1996, since in having to seek consent to deregister, parents are effectively not in charge of their children's ed. They can no longer be deemed responsible for it, by any stretch of the imagination.

So, all in all, I do think it is worth all of us putting in a response, and even arguing against the worse case scenario, rather than what is currently in the draft guidelines, as this would make the case against the case that the LAs are constructing.

Ruth said...

Thanks Carlotta. I do intend to respond but I needed clarification about the situation:)