Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"We would therefore recommend that DCSF review the legislation pertaining to children educated at home.."

In the NSPCC's response to the previous 'Children Missing Education' consultation, Mr Vijay "We.. the inf.. We don’t have the evidence there statistically, no." Patel said: "We would therefore recommend that DCSF review the legislation pertaining to children educated at home in order to ensure that there are sufficient safeguards for the protection of children."

I'm wondering: which legislation is likely to be reviewed, and in what way?

My guess would be section 436A of the Education and Inspections Act 2006:

436A
Duty to make arrangements to identify children not receiving education

(1)
A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but—
(a) are not registered pupils at a school, and
(b) are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.
(2)
In exercising their functions under this section a local education authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(3)
In this Chapter, “suitable education”, in relation to a child, means efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have.”

"The existing legislation and guidance on elective home education is unbalanced," says Mr Patel in his response, but I'm not seeing that. Which legislation and guidance does he mean? The latest Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities don't seem particularly unbalanced with section 436A to me.

As far as I know, the crucial legislation relating to elective home education is still Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act:

Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age

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.

And this seems unlikely to be changed, because if it was then governments, LAs and probably even named individual officials having professional contact with families will become liable for any failures in provision.

So we're back to definition of "..efficient full-time education suitable.." - which is old ground, for us.

What legal standing does CME currently have? Well, here's 'the programme'..

Children and young people have told us that five outcomes are key to well-being in childhood and later life – being healthy; staying safe; enjoying and achieving; making a positive contribution; and achieving economic well-being..

I wonder which 'children and young people' told them that?

Oh and I like this one:

1.2 Every child matters and Every child matters: next steps2 recognised that the realisation of this
ambition for improved outcomes required radical change in the whole system of children’s
services, including:
...
  • listening to children, young people and their families when assessing and planning service
    provision, as well as in face-to-face delivery.

And look: this is how it's supposed to work:

National Framework for local change

See who's in the middle there, right on the bullseye? That's us, I think. You don't feel.. targeted or anything, do you? Well, this page on Axcis (whose business is education recruitment) says you're not to:

According to the ASCL, parents should not view the move as "an attack" on their right to educate their own children but just a move to ensure that all children are getting the best education.

Oh phew, that's alright then. Silly of us to be so worried.

Onto the Children Act 2004. I've just had a quick read through this and it's all about Children's Commissioners, Local Safeguarding Children Boards, "Children and Young People's Plans" etc. Does any of this relate to us? Could it? I don't see the dreaded five outcomes in there.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dani said...

I think the five outcomes are there, in a more palatable form - look at section 10. It's about local authorities being required to cooperate with their partners to make arrangements to improve children's well being in five areas (approximately matching the five outcomes, but making more sense). I am quoting it in my consultation response, to answer their question 3 about whether they have an obligation to ensure all children are able to achieve the five outcomes. Their obligations under S10 of the Children Act 2004 are not to ensure individual children achieve them, but to provide their own services with regard to children's welfare - quite a different kettle of fish, I think.

9:55 am, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Dani. I'll have another look there.

10:03 am, January 27, 2009  

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