Advanced search

Plans for compulsory registration in Wales

(32 Posts)
FionaJNicholson Fri 17-Aug-12 07:56:11

The Education (Wales) Bill will set out a number of proposals, including the registration of children of compulsory school age who are home educated. The basis of the provisions within this Bill will be formed by the consultation on the educational provision made by home-based educators [expected in September 2012]

The Government plans to bring forward the Bill in Spring 2013, and the timing of the Bill will partly depend on the progress of public sector workforce reform proposals. Click here for more details about how a new law is made in Wales, There is no Second Chamber in Wales which is equivalent to the House of Lords at Westminster.

A new workshop has just been arranged for Friday September 14th in Wrexham to
discuss the Welsh Government plans for compulsory registration.

lindy20 Sat 18-Aug-12 18:24:20

Had a read will be watching for next chapter.....

FionaJNicholson Mon 03-Sep-12 20:44:00

Consultation opened today.

The proposals in this consultation seek to introduce a compulsory registration and monitoring scheme for children who are home educated, with the LA able to refuse registration at the outset and thereafter annually, following the monitoring visit.

More on home education and Wales here

FionaJNicholson Mon 10-Sep-12 11:26:23

I've just uploaded a new web page about this

Indigo8 Tue 11-Sep-12 22:37:03

Thanks for posting this. I'm not in Wales, but this is quite worrying. I know that this is still in the consultation stages, but how likely is it that this bill could be put through?

FionaJNicholson Wed 12-Sep-12 10:12:36

I've just added more here. Click on link below to get the hyperlinks to law and commentary.

2012 Wales Legislative Programme Proposes Change Law on Home Education

Home education is mentioned in the Education Bill and there are further details from the First Minister in July 2012 here Click here for further details.

2012 Wales consultation

On September 3rd 2012 the Welsh Assembly launched a consultation on registering and monitoring home educated children.

The 13 page consultation document can be found here and the consultation closes on November 23rd 2012. There are three main strands to the Government's proposals.

Changing the law in Wales to permit compulsory registration of home educated children

Using existing powers to develop statutory guidance on best practice for LAs working with home educating families

Future consultation on definition of "suitable education" in "context of variety of educational approaches used in home education, to be "covered in statutory guidance and consulted on separately."

NB It is not clear whether the Minister believes that "suitable education" could be prescribed within the current legal framework or whether this would require further changes to the law. Home educators are seeking legal opinion on this matter.

Section 436A Duty

Proposals to change the law contained in the registration consultation document hinge on what the Welsh Assembly Government calls "the section 436A duty", which the Welsh Government appears to believe requires the local authority to establish whether learners who are not on a school roll (including home educated children) are receiving a suitable education.

In this context, it should be remembered that the Welsh Government did not prioritise the introduction of section 436A into Welsh law until September 2009, over two years after it was first incorporated into English law, and that the first statutory guidance on Children Missing Education was not published in Wales until April 2010.

Ian Dowty on section 436A

Read barrister Ian Dowty's commentary on section 436A here and here but please bear in mind that while the primary legislation covers both England and Wales, all references to Government Home Education Guidelines and Children Missing Education Guidance in the Dowty documents are for England only, since the articles were written in the context of Lancashire Council's policy review.

FionaJNicholson Wed 12-Sep-12 10:14:58

re how likely that the Bill could go through and succeed in introducing compulsory registration and monitoring in Wales...

it will depend on the lobbying efforts of home educators in Wales

Home educators are quite good at lobbying.

ommmward Wed 12-Sep-12 20:12:18

I've done my bit filling in the consultation <phew>

Let me know if there's anything else I should be doing!

FionaJNicholson Wed 12-Sep-12 23:31:23

Need to find out more from home educators in Wales what they'd like us to be doing. I'm doing a workshop in Wrexham on Friday so hoping to have a useful exchange of views.

FionaJNicholson Thu 13-Sep-12 11:20:46

The word doc on the consultation site is a bit gruesome to use, so I've uploaded a Draft Response Form which is easier for making notes.


FionaJNicholson Fri 14-Sep-12 23:21:48

Notes from Wrexham Workshop earlier today

FionaJNicholson Sun 16-Sep-12 09:31:23

Before filling in the consultation response form on the Welsh Assembly website, please consider downloading this 3 page file which gives the consultation questions from both the Standard Response Form and the Plain English Response Form. Consultation Response Form (For Comparison and Notes) The Comparison and Notes Form can also be used to make notes when you are drafting your own consultation response.

Sample differences include: "STANDARD VERSION 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? Plain English Version Question 1 Do you agree with our proposal that requires children educated at home to be included on a register?" + STANDARD VERSION QUESTION 3 – DO YOU AGREE THAT HOME EDUCATING PARENTS SHOULD ENGAGE WITH THEIR LOCAL AUTHORITY TO ENABLE THEM TO ASSES THE SUITABILITY OF THEIR HOME EDUCATION PROVISION? Plain English version Question 3 - Do you agree that parents should work with their local authority to make sure home education is meeting their child’s needs?"

ThreadWatcher Sun 16-Sep-12 13:03:46

Fiona you said:
Need to find out more from home educators in Wales what they'd like us to be doing.

I'd personally want it stopped to allow us all to happily continue as we have been.

Registration and monitoring won't bring us any benefit. It will cost £££ too.
Im interested to know how they think they will force us to comply.
I will not do so willingly.

If there are welfare issues they should be treated as such - not lumped in with education.
I object to being assumed a failure unless I prove otherwise.

FionaJNicholson Sun 16-Sep-12 18:22:44

Hi Threadwatcher

It's hard to see how it could actually work, but that doesn't mean nobody would be daft enough to try and bring it in. I guess they have to be made to see how ill-advised it is.

Indigo8 Sun 16-Sep-12 19:02:09

Sorry if I'm being thick here, but is the consultation response doc just for those living in Wales?

FionaJNicholson Sun 16-Sep-12 22:22:34

Hi Indigo8

Anyone can fill in the consultation response form, but I'm betting the Welsh Assembly Government will categorise Wales and non-Wales responses. (There are various ways round that, of course.)

I made a few observations about consultations here, based on past experience

Response types are categorised: Government will expect home educators to say no

Cut and paste answers will probably be categorised as "campaign" responses and analysed separately. See example here

Responses have more impact if they are unexpected and if respondents come from a range of different backgrounds, not just "the usual suspects"

The Welsh Assembly Government has said that consultation responses will be published in full and local authorities should be aware that their views will be come under scrutiny

Indigo8 Sun 16-Sep-12 23:09:10

Hi Fiona thanks for your response. So if they categorise responses, is it worth those of us outside of Wales responding? And if so how do we "get round" the fact we're not in Wales? Clearly it would be best for as many people as possible to raise concerns about this, and I would like to contribute, although at the same time make the most impact. Also, are Homes Educators in general "the usual suspects", or just those that have contributed regularly to lobbying efforts related to HE?

FionaJNicholson Mon 17-Sep-12 07:38:29

This is still a half-formed idea in my mind but...

I see English home educators wanting to do SOMETHING and having lots of ideas about what they might put in a consultation response and at the same there are Welsh home educators who feel they ought to be doing the consultation but particularly if they have younger children it's hard to find time to organise their thoughts or even actually to LOOK at the consultation proposals because they are so scary, let alone put into words the impact of red tape, bureaucratic regulation and oversight and having to pass an inspection every year to be allowed to continue...

So I'm thinking is there any way that individual English home educators who are getting to grips with the Welsh stuff, who are brimming over with things to say...could somehow gift their early consultation notes to Welsh home educators, because some Welsh home educators are isolated or a bit stumped - particularly as I say if they have younger children and don't have direct experience of the arguments we rehearsed and the points we made in England against "light touch changes to monitoring" in 2007 and against the Children Schools and Families Bill in 2009-10, and they could really use something as a springboard for their own ideas.

Not sure how this could be done, but instinctively I feel it's worth a try...

I know that some home educators in England and Wales are adopting a Just Say No approach, and are opposed to the idea of spending time getting bogged down in the small print of consultation responses, as though anyone would ever pay any attention, since the Government has already decided what it's going to do...and that in any event, participation is a snare and a delusion since it allows the Government to say that it has reached a view "after consulting"

I have a certain sympathy with this viewpoint but...any plan which involves mass action or inaction is a bit of a non-starter with home educators as everyone will just do their own thing anyway...

So my two pence, for what it's worth...I would definitely say don't answer the actual QUESTIONS, but instead when you tackle the consultation, think of the points you would want to make if you were debating with...someone working in [insert value-neutral supermarket chain] or with your mum or with a friend who is a teacher...and shoehorn those points into the consultation response boxes wherever you can.

And yes, I'd say home educators ARE the usual suspects, which is why at the Wrexham Workshop I was asking for example whether people had any ways of shaping the local authority responses, or whether they could encourage acquaintances who might not otherwise have considered responding to say their piece about self-motivated home educated teens compared to spoon-fed pupils for example....or whether the parents themselves would be able truthfully to tick other boxes than home educating parent.

This is all based on analysing the effectiveness of consultation exercises in the past and securing maximum impact and coverage.

FionaJNicholson Mon 17-Sep-12 07:45:42

I was also talking with a friend the other day about the campaigning effectiveness of home educated teens, who are able to talk about the benefits of freedom in home education and the security of being able to develop at their own pace...I'm looking at those facilitated workshops which are being run as part of the consultation exercise...wondering how these could best be used...

Indigo8 Mon 17-Sep-12 12:24:02

I'm afraid I'm in the category of being a relatively inexperienced HE-er with children under 6 who've never been to school. I got a bit involved in the Badman stuff, but I wasn't even "officially" HE at the time. I would be happy to do whatever you think is best - either gift any notes or submit something myself. I will also see if any friends might want to get involved who don't HE.

I understand the thinking that the gov will do whatever it wants, but I do think action is important, by as many people as possible. I think that non-action giving a lukewarm response to the consultation and then refusing to comply with any new bill, would surely be worse?

I also think getting HE teens involved in the consiltation is a brilliant idea - these are the individuals which are directly affected by any new proposals. (HE teens also tend to be very articulate).

So I will start to take notes to contribute.

Just one more question - we are unknown to our LA - will putting my name to a consultation related to HE make us known?!

FionaJNicholson Mon 17-Sep-12 21:23:25

Well, we picked it up as we went along during the campaigns in England

You can ask for your contact details not to be shared, but they aren't guaranteeing anonymity. Some people are considering a c/o address or PO Box address, I think.

Indigo8 Mon 17-Sep-12 22:01:49

Thank you, the articles were really informative & useful. Based on the article you posted, I will definitely use a c/o address.

FionaJNicholson Wed 19-Sep-12 06:55:28

I've been adding some more to this section here. The links might not show up in mumsnet, but you can click on them from the web page

Some Points Raised At Workshop

Can the government do this without anyone being able to stop it?
Changing the law is not quick or easy and there are a lot of formal steps in the process
We are still at a very early stage in the process
The Government wants to include registration in the Education Bill next year
The Education Bill will also include controversial proposals around registration of the education workforce and reform of the statutory framework for children and young people with special educational needs
Failed English home education legal proposals were similarly included in a wide-ranging Bill which dealt with SEN, family courts and PHSE (Personal, Health, Social and Economic Education, with the main objection being to sex education in schools)
It takes most people a while to get to grips with proposed new legislation
We don't know for sure where the Welsh registration and monitoring proposals have come from
There is unlikely to be a single explanation, it's probably a combination of factors
To bring people round to your point of view, you need to listen to their concerns
If we are asking people to oppose this, they will need a reason which works for them
It's easy to get bogged down in deciding what is "the best thing" to do
The "best thing to do" will vary from person to person
When campaigning, we don't know what will tip the balance; nothing is wasted; don't rule anything out
Range and variety of strategies deployed in England; nothing left to chance
People remembered "if you only have 10 minutes..." from the English campaign (2008)
When you go and talk to people, it's good to have printouts of relevant Government docs, especially the consultation document, 13 pages(NOT PLAIN ENGLISH VERSION
If your point isn't simple, people might misunderstand you
Example of above: saying "if you want to monitor, you will have to fund" could be heard as "yes" to monitoring OR as "monitoring is OK as long as it comes with funding..."
Try to go through your points with someone who isn't particularly sympathetic to home education and see what works
Possible fallback position? Government has also said it wants to "use existing powers" to develop statutory guidance on best practice for LAs working with home educating families
"Using existing powers" does not require a change to the law
The Welsh Assembly Government apparently commissioned research into home education: where is it?
Arguably, it makes no sense to look at home education until xyz (eg Additional Needs/Social Services/Exams and Qualifications/Nation-wide School Terms/Attendance and Statutory EOTAS Services/Gypsy Roma Traveller Funding/registration of the education workforce) have been properly reviewed

FionaJNicholson Wed 19-Sep-12 10:01:30

Sorry for obsessing about this, I've just inserted a few more points, reflecting on recent inquisition at the Select Committee (England)

Need to know the current legal position with home education in Wales
Are you clear whether you want change (from the current position) or no change?
You will be asked how YOU think it should be; do you have an answer?

FionaJNicholson Thu 27-Sep-12 10:02:17

I've just set out the Welsh Consultation Document as a web page here so you
don't have to download a pdf.

I've also included the appropriate quotes from the Education Act and given links
for the All Wales Attendance Framework, the Welsh Home Education Guidelines,
Children Missing Education Guidance, and the Welsh Pupil Registration

Please share freely, thanks

There is to be a workshop in Llandudno on October 16th and I think there will be something similar in South Wales shortly as well

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: