Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Time to respond, Registering and monitoring home-based education Consultation, Wales

Here is my initial response; I have not proof read it and would welcome any comments and corrections.  There are only two days to go and the more I think about it the more I cannot understand how people who think themselves fit to rule us and sort out the problems of the world can even consider this proposal.  It is really important that they get a huge negative response, what are they thinking of, 50% of their schools are failing and there is absolutely no evidence of a need for this.  Leighton Andrews at the same time as wanting to give this extra extra power to oppress us to LAs is talking about removing education from their remit as they are failing so badly, how ridiculous!

Fiona has a lot of helpful information here.  Thinking back to Badman, a most unpleasant thing to do, it seems to me that the big push in England came once his shameful report was published.  With this in mind it would be worth being part of these groups so that a coordinated push against any silly ploughing on with these proposals despite an almost certain mainly negative response to the consultation can be challenged most effectively.

Here is a link to the actual consultation form and here Fiona has an explanation of the page here.

When you have downloaded and  filled in your response email it to  cue faint hysterical laughter at the irony!

And Gill has done a far more comprehensive analysis than mine here.

Consultation response form 

Your name:

Organisation (if applicable):

e-mail/telephone number:

Your address:

Responses should be returned by 23 November 2012 to:

Pupil Wellbeing Branch
Support for Learners Division
Department for Education and Skills
Welsh Government 
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ

or completed electronically and sent to:

e-mail: (please enter elective home education consultation in the subject matter box).

Please tick the box that best describes you as a respondent

Home educated Home educating 
child/young person parent
Local authority Organisation representing
home educating families

Other organisation Other (please specify in 
with responsibility for box below)
children (please specify
in box below)

Please specify:

About this consultation

The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views on the Welsh Government’s proposals for the introduction of a compulsory registration and monitoring system for home educated children. This document asks questions relating to specific aspects of the proposals.

Question 1 – Do you agree that a register should be kept and that it should be a requirement to register if a parent elects to home educate?



Not sure


As private citizens home educating parents should be served by the state not controlled by it.  There is no evidence of a need for this change in the law and surely with the dire state of education in Wales the money it would require could be far better spent.   Parents are the most suitable people to have responsibility for their children’s education, the state, especially in Wales is failing spectacularly, Leighton Andrews is talking seriously about removing responsibility for education from LAs, what sense does it make to give them power over home educating parents who for the most part do a far superior job?  There is real danger of introducing one size fits all, broad and balanced requirements that will hinder home educators in meeting the individual needs of their particular children, a benefit of a this form of private education that can produce spectacular results and nearly always exceeds what can be achieved as one of thirty children in a stressed, teaching to the test environment so common in today’s schools.

Question 2 – Do you agree that if a parent fails to register or provides inadequate or false information then the child being home educated should be required to attend school?



Not sure

Why would it be an improvement for the child to have their own and their parents’ legitimate choice removed violently by the state and the child thrust into the failing schools run by LAs obviously inadequate to meet their actual responsibilities.

Question 3 – Do you agree that home educating parents should engage with their local authority to enable them to assess the suitability of their home education provision?



Not sure

Absolutely not, why should sovereign citizens engage with their employees for a service they do not require, especially when they run such an inadequate service.  The LAs are obviously in no position to judge a suitable education and if it is defined they will also be judged against that definition much to the detriment of their budget.  How many parents would just love to sue the state for its failure to educate their children suitably!

Question 4 – Do you agree that the initial meeting between the local authority and home educating parent and child should take place in the main location where the education is being provided?



Not sure

The state should not be forcing itself into private homes; as has often been said “1984” was a warning not a helpful guide to state oppression.  The home educating parent has no need to meet state officials unless they can be of service to them or there is evidence of failure on their part.  Do we not live in a democracy rather than an authoritarian despotism?  Home education is equal in law to school education; schools are inspected to let parents and citizens know that their money is being prudently handled and their children well served.  Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case in Wales and there is definitely no reason to let failing LAs force their way into private homes to make a judgement on the education provided.  On what basis would they be fit to do that, surely they would have to prove that that they could provide an efficient education themselves first?  Parents are the people responsible for the education of their children and do not need to prove that they are using public money well or caring for strangers’ children appropriately because unlike schools they are not.

Question 5 – How often should the annual monitoring meetings with both the home educator and the home educated child take place at the main location of education?


Every two years

Every three years

Up to five years


Not sure

The LA has no business concerning itself with private home education unless it is brought to their attention that education is not taking place.  They need to conserve their time, money and energy to put their own house in order, a task that seems to be beyond them.

Question 6 – Do you agree that registration should be denied or revoked in the limited set of circumstances set out in the consultation document?



Not sure


It is the parents choice and no business of strangers ill versed in individual education in the real world and failing in the institutionalised education they are tasked to provide.

Question 7 – Do you agree the amount of time taken between receipt of application to register and notification of registration outcome should be no more than 12 weeks?



Not sure

No to registration, no to monitoring.  Do not take this foolish step, the unintended consequences will drown you in court cases and cause unimaginable harm to home educated children.  There is absolutely no evidence of a need for this policy, policy should always be evidence based.  This seems like some sort of distraction technique in order to avoid considering the dramatic failure of state based education in Wales.

Question 8 – We have asked a number of specific questions. If you have any related issues which we have not specifically addressed, please use this space to report them:

Defining suitable education will mean that schools will have to meet the standards decided not just home educators.  Changing the law so that the state has primary responsibility for education will leave it open legal challenge from the many parents whose children have been failed by the state.  When the state fails a child it is just a number to it, to the parent it is a far more important issue.  As a now home educating parent whose children would have been shamefully failed without vigorous intervention on my part, intervention that in the end was not sufficient, I would grasp eagerly at the chance to gain redress against a heartless and unfeeling system that cared not one jot for my children’s wellbeing or learning, believe me I am not the only one!

Responses to consultations may be made public – on the internet or in a report. If you would prefer your response to be kept confidential, please tick here:


Anonymous said...

how do i go about doing this because i am too late to be able to post, ive seen the answers given on the front of here but not sure if thats what i am supposed to put or my own comments etc

Maire said...

Hi Anonymous, I have updated the post with a link to the downloads, a link to an explanation of them and an email to send the finished response to.

Fiona Nicholson said...


Thanks for this. I've got a walkthrough here which explains how you go about responding to the consultation

The page also includes a link to my draft response which has the following sub-headings

Home Educators Report That The Council Ignores Them
Why The Government Should Heed Bridgend
Plan B: Use Existing Powers To Develop Statutory Guidance Best Practice LAs
Current Government Guidelines Advocate Building Positive Relationships
Current Government Guidelines Already Set Out Enforcement Procedures
Section 437 Education Act 1996
Current Government Guidelines Already Set Out Child Protection Procedures
Current Government Guidelines Already Allow For Diversity Home Education Provision
Subjective Nature of Inadequate Information
Why Don't LAs Issue More School Attendance Orders Already?
New Definition of Suitable Education
Disproportionate Impact On Home Educated Children With Additional Needs
Tackle Issue Of School Exclusions Where Children Have Additional Needs
Criticism Of Ambiguous/Misleading Phrasing
Discrepancy Between Local Authority Reports And Home Educators' Experience
Lack Of Transparency Over Compulsory Access To Home
Lack Of Adherence To Current Government Guidelines
Sue Mitchell's Research
Attempt To Minimise Far-reaching Grounds For Refusing/Revoking Registration
Current Government Guidelines: Enforcement/Welfare/Safeguarding
Waiting To Be Granted Permission To Home Educate
Flawed Consultation Process: Government Did Not Ask Local Authorities To Circulate Information To Stakeholders
Children's Version Of Consultation Paperwork Is Highly Misleading
National Behaviour and Attendance Review
Child's Right To Education: School Exclusions
Children Missing Education

The proposals are even worse than Badman in many respects, as they include plans for a new definition of "suitable education"

The parent will have to apply to the council for permission to home educate
The application process will involve interviews with the parent and the child
The parent will have to satisfy the council that education is "suitable"
"Suitable education" is to be redefined in law
All-encompassing "welfare issues" will give discretion to council staff with power to grant or refuse permission to home educate

And yep, the consultation closes Friday 23rd November!


Maire said...

Thanks Fiona and here it is

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