Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Deregistration [from school] on demand - a vital civil liberty

... and one which successive UK governments have tried to chip away at with typically Fabian strategy for years.

Why is it of interest to home educators that the right of parents to deregister their children from school on demand be maintained?

Elaine Greenwood-Hyde says it better than I can:

Deregistration on demand is an incredibly important law for home educators and any tinkering will produce problems. It’s a very slippery slope. It is parents who are legally responsible, so when we deregister it should not be up to the government to say: "No, no … you have to wait 20 days." That’s not in accordance with section 7, for one thing.

It will mean 20 days of harassment that can be used to try to stop a family home educating. In particular I think families with children with SEN will be singled out. Ask any parent what it was like before deregistration on demand. There are horror stories.

It also leaves a loop hole for term time holidays for school pupils which might later be all-too-easily closed by government. The obvious next step is for them to decide that deregistration on demand itself is a nuisance.

Add to this that home educators have neither been informed or consulted about this and you know this doesn’t bode well for the future. Sneaky is as sneaky does. Beware the frog boiling...

Here's the latest, and here's the schedule for these changes:

By 21 March - responses received
W/c 28 March* - regulations to be signed
By 1 April* - regulations laid in parliament
6 April - House rises for recess
......On 1 September* - regulations come into force
* these timings depend on nature and content of the comments received from this letter.

So the new regulations are due to be signed this week!

Home educators were not informed - I gather someone came across the letter by accident this week. Ofsted - which has no role in home education - was informed, as was something called The Education Forum, which I've just joined but can't find any discussion about this.

People are emailing the letter's author (address in the heading) to make their views known, and some people are also emailing their MPs.

I think if this proposed change goes through, the general public will be even more reluctant to enroll their children in school in the first place.

Edit:

Letter from Greg Midcalf, Policy Manager, School Attendance Safety Team:
http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/p/pupil%20registration%20regulations%20-%20handout.pdf

16 Comments:

Blogger Simon Webb said...

'Ask any parent what it was like before deregistration on demand'

OK, I'm puzzled! When was it not a case of deregistration on demand?

8:49 am, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Gill said...

Not sure! Sometime in the 70s, I seem to think? Hopefully someone who does know will come and tell us.

9:00 am, March 30, 2011  
Blogger OrganisedPauper said...

Deregistration on demand was given by the Conservative government in about 1993.

1:19 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Simon Webb said...

Ah yes, thanks; I have found it. Education (Pupil Registration) Regulation 9 (1) (c) 1995.

1:39 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger OrganisedPauper said...

I think there may be a regulation slightly early than 1995 as, from memory, I think deregistration on demand was available in 1994.

2:59 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger OrganisedPauper said...

I meant *earlier* than 1995.

3:00 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Gill said...

I deregistered a child 'on demand' without any problems in 1992.

3:00 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Peter and Carol said...

will the goverment try and bring in more of Badman ideas?

3:19 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Gill said...

No idea, but if they're doing this then it's probably reasonable to expect more of the same.

3:24 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Peter and Carol said...

it wont affect us Peter will be to old but for others it will be much harder to home educate if their do bring in more of Badman crazy ideas!

wrote to that guy in the letter and our M.P for all the good it will do!
To Greg Midcalf

We want it recorded by you and your department as a complaint that we do not agree with the CHANGES TO THE PUPIL REGISTRATION REGULATIONS AND SCHOOL ATTENDANCE CODES and the bit that affect new home educators is that the school will keep the name of the child on the role for 20 days.

What action are you going to take over this complaint?

Yours sincerely

Master Peter Williams Mrs Carol Williams Mr Peter Williams

A Home Educating Family

Dear Damian

I have just been informed that there is going to be CHANGES TO THE PUPIL REGISTRATION REGULATIONS AND SCHOOL ATTENDANCE CODES and the bit that affect new home educators is that the school will keep the name of the child on the role for 20 days according to my sources the regulations will be signed in parliament this week!

Home educators have neither been informed or consulted about this? Ofsted was informed but it has NO role in home education?

I think if this proposed change goes through, the general public will be even more reluctant to enroll their children in school in the first place?.

It does not affect us but I don't think it is the right way to be going about this matter. What are you going to do about this? Or are you in agreement with it?

Best Regards

Peter Carol Peter

A Home Educating family

3:39 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Gill said...

Good :) I said something similar.

3:45 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Peter and Carol said...

just had this reply from our M.P

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Williams and Peter,

Thank you for your message.

I am making some enquiries about this and I will reply more fully in due course.

Kind regards,

4:31 pm, March 30, 2011  
Blogger lucy.web said...

Is my understanding correct that the new regs will mean:

If my child is in school and I want to home ed him/her, I will have to write to the school to dereg (as has always been the case?)

But the *new* difference is that now, my child’s name will remain on the register for 20 days following receipt of my letter?

Does this mean I can get prosecuted for unauthorised absences if I take my child out of school as soon as I’ve written the letter? Does this mean the school have responsibility for my child for another 20 days? Will these potential, so called “unauthorised absences” count against me if we ever brush up against the LA wrt Home Ed?

If so, I can see that this is a HUGE problem if I want to Home Ed my currently Schooled kids.

It’s also a big moral stumbling block for everyone, in a kind of *how dare they* way. And with one eye on the general frog-boiling, of course, like Elaine says.

Also, I can see that this is also a problem for existing Home Ed families that might, one day, want to give school a go (for the first time, or again). It makes it more onerous to even think about using school. And what happens with flexischoolers?

Thanks for alerting us to these sneaky new regs, Gill.

1:26 pm, March 31, 2011  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Lucy, yes, I think you're right about the new difference being that your child's name would stay on the register for 20 days after they receive your deregistration letter.

I think the issues around responsibility for the child and unauthorised absences if this change goes through seem unclear and it's difficult to see how they could be clarified.

Totally agree about the moral stumbling block. flexischoolers and those wanting to experiment with school for a term or two. All very worrying.

Seems like Elaine G-H did the alerting though, not me! I just put it here to help spread the word. :)

3:05 pm, March 31, 2011  
Blogger Danae said...

It bugs me that they can use anything from that monumental pile of dogswallop called the Badman Review. At the very least it shows really bad faith to the home educating community.

7:56 pm, March 31, 2011  
Blogger Simon Webb said...

'Does this mean I can get prosecuted for unauthorised absences if I take my child out of school as soon as I’ve written the letter?'

No, it does not mean this at all. Code Z on the register relates to pupils who are on roll but not currently attending. It is used at the moment for children who have been registered at a school but have not yet started.

9:55 pm, April 03, 2011  

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