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Letter from Alan Johnson

Page history last edited by Denise McCallum 15 years, 12 months ago

Thank you for your letter of 10 January, together with an enclosed email from your constituent, Ms Denise McCallum, of address about the home education consultation.




I should first clarify that the state does not currently prescribe what form of education parents should provide, whilst all maintained and independent school provision is prescribed in legislation and subject to inspection. This anomaly is at odds with Every Child Matters reforms, supported by the Children Act 2004, which set out this Government’s aim to improve educational outcomes for all children, regardless of where they are educated, and to narrow the gap between those who are doing well and those who are not.




We intend that the forthcoming consultation on elective home education will be a full one, conducted via my Department’s consultation website. We hope this will ensure that the documents are accessible to as many people as possible, and officials are currently compiling a list of home educators who have expressed an interest in being involved in the consultation.




The concerns about lack of Local Authority (LA) access to the child, expressed by respondents to last year’s consultation on draft LA guidelines (which were not necessarily concerns about potential abuse, but rather about the general difficulty in assessing children’s progress and children’s views on their education being heard) is the reason this further consultation is taking place.




As the consultation will primarily be conducted via my Department’s website, with support from the DfES in house Consultation Unit, the costs will be minimal and met from general administrative expenditure.




I note Ms McCallum’s comments and would like to re-assure her that the intention of the consultation is to open up a constructive debate on whether or not changes are required, and if so what they might be. Following Consultation, if changes to legislation were to be introduced, they would of course be subject to the full parliamentary process.




Can I suggest that Ms McCallum gathers together her thoughts on home education monitoring, and any other aspects of home education, and submits these in due course as part of the consultation. My officials will


add Ms McCallum to their consultation email list so that she will be informed of the consultation when it starts and afforded the opportunity to participate.

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