Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FAQ: Call for Evidence and revised DfE guidance

The DfE issued this consultation yesterday. Here is an FAQ about it for home educators:

1. Why has the government issued new draft guidance for consultation when Lord Soley's bill is about to go to its committee stage and it isn't compatible with the new draft guidance?

Some of us have a theory that this was the plan all along: that the bill was designed to make enough 'noise' in Parliament and the media to generate sufficient moral panic to allow someone (we're guessing at Daniel Monk) to offer to save the day and some cash by imposing their own interpretation of the statute on us. Mr Monk's Regulating home education: negotiating standards, anomalies and rights article formed the basis for the Badman Review and we think he is probably the 'DM' featuring in the various Freedom of Information bundles we have received concerning correspondence about the bill.

2. What are the main problems with the draft guidances?

They stretch the law to try to make it mean something completely different to the way it has been for decades in respect of home education. The new draft guidance for local authorities bares little resemblance to the existing Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities. In future posts I'll hopefully be setting out the problems that will be caused by each instance of this and also the conflicts and incompatabilities with other laws and regulations it gives rise to.

3. How can we respond to the consultation?

The closing date is 2nd July 2018, so we have nearly 12 weeks in which to do so. I will probably put my response in during the final week, having taken as much time as possible to consider all of the many points arising. Some people have responded already but I think that's premature, unless they're thinking of sending additions when the various discussions have finished towards the end of the time period.

4. What's likely to happen with Lord Soley's bill now?

Many of us have been saying for a long time that we don't expect that bill to receive debating time in the House of Commons, meaning it will not be able to proceed much beyond committee stage and become statute.

5. Where else can I read about this or discuss this with other home educators?

The new HE Byte is a good place to keep up with news and updates. A Facebook group has also been set up as a discussion hub. If you want to join this, please email or Facebook message me.