What’s been said?
Yesterday (10th April 2018) the Department for Education (DfE) launched a consultation and call for evidence on Elective Home Education. A commitment to consult on draft revised non-statutory guidance for local authorities had been made during the Second Reading debate on Lord Soley’s Bill.
Reassuring parents (para 1.1) that the government “intends to safeguard the primary duty of parents to lead their children’s education, including the provision of home education” and adding that it “does not intend that the state should supplant this parental role”, evidence is sought as to whether “current arrangements for oversight of elective home education are adequate to fulfil the government’s aspiration that all children in England should receive a good education”.
The government claims not to have put forward any specific proposals for change, but asks for “comment, evidence and suggestions” on two issues:
- the registration of children who are home educated
- local authorities’ monitoring of EHE educational provision
To this end, draft versions of the revised guidance can be downloaded, one document intended primarily for local authorities and the other for parents. Section 2 of the all important Call for Evidence (Background and Context) provides useful insights into various factors which have influenced government thinking on issues they believe need further consideration.
Why does it matter?
Para 1.5 states, “We would like all those with an interest in home education to submit responses to this call for evidence so that the department can gather the fullest possible information.”
This consultation is an opportunity to respond directly to the DfE’s perception of home educators and home education. There are a lot of questions to answer – 23 in response to the main document, plus others on the revised guidance documents – but hopefully it will be time well spent.
Respondents, say the government, can “put forward ideas and proposals for change, and justification for such change.” For their part, the government say that they will consider the responses carefully, publish their response to the call for evidence (paras 3.2 and 3.3) and revise the draft guidance documents for publication in due course.
Although we should continue to keep our eye on the progress of Lord Soley’s PMB, here is the main opportunity of influencing future policy regarding EHE which should not be ignored.
What can I do?
The deadline for submissions is 2nd July 2018, but do make a start as soon as you can on reading the call for evidence and interspersed questions. Previewing the questions in plenty of time allows you to turn the issues over in your mind before actually sitting down to formulate a response. Drafting answers then copying and pasting them into the reply form can prove less stressful than trying to complete it all in one go, especially if you have a lot of distractions.
Begin now by downloading the documents, and as you read, make a note of any particular points you want to make in response.
Please make sure that other HE parents are aware of the call for evidence, and discuss the issues amongst yourselves. Keep an eye on this site for further comments.