Thursday, June 26, 2008

Naming and Shaming - Part 2

This time it's the turn of County Durham LA. We hear that until about a month ago, their website informed those who wanted to find out more about home education that they should contact the Child Protection Team...ho hum! This does now seem to have been removed but the LA is still far from exonerated. Ultra vires implications are littered about the website with a what looks like a happy disregard for the law of the land. Take the following statement:

"The Local Authority is responsible for ensuring that the arrangements put in place provide a suitable education for the child."

Err....No! An LA only has a duty to act when it appears that a suitable education is not taking place or where a child has a statement. If an LA goes down the slippery path of assuming they have an automatic right to monitor and assess, they run the risk of appropriating responsibility for the provision of education and we all know where this could lead - if parents are no longer ultimately responsible for educational provision, LAs should expect to foot a huge bill from angry parents of children who were failed by the school system.

The suggestion that County Durham LA believes they are indeed ultimately responsible for educational provision is confirmed in letters to local HEors. In a recent missive, the LA's "Operations Manager" asserts that home educators make applications to the LA in order to be allowed to HE. So yep, Section 7 which ensures parental responsibility for the provision of an education thereby goes out the window. Oh right then, come on one and all - jump in and sue your LA when your child doesn't thrive in school.

Wake up County Durham, stick to the law of the land and don't just pretend that you do with specious assertions in your letters to HEors that you are sticking to government guidelines.


Milly said...

Well done Carlotta! I received a letter from Durham LA a week or so ago, telling me that I had to apply to their panel in order to HE, which would then decide whether or not I might be permitted to. This was the third time I'd been informed of this by Durham LA, despite telling them twice previously that they had no right to do any such thing!

I forwarded the letter to my MP who today informs me that she has written to the LA on this matter and also to ask them why the Head of Admissions is now responsible for HE - surely a conflict of interest, though I suppose better than the Child Protection Team!

True to form, Durham LA have ommitted to answer any of the questions I put to them over a month ago as to where in the Govt Guidelines it says that I must obtain their approval to HE, or that they have the right to impose deadlines for me to submit my proposals and order dates of their choice within which I must co-operate with their "regular reviews".

Hopefully my MP will be asking the LA to respond to me. If they persist, the LA will be hearing from my Solicitor!

Carlotta said...

Would be very interested to hear what happens!

They do have a nerve....perhaps they haven't realised that peeps in Scotland are now holding councils responsible when the education is not up to scratch. People in Durham should also be able to do so soon!