and to my MP
and to Michael Gove c/o
I am astonished to read the draft "improving schools and safeguarding children bill": here
The surprising clause is:
"improving monitoring arrangements for children educated at home".
Please would you investigate this URGENTLY? The DCSF is currently engaged in a consultation process about the law relating to Elective Home Education, a consultation which does not end until October: here
How, then, can legislation relating to this consultation be in progress? Does this not break the code of practice on consultations? e.g. criterion 1: "Consultation should take place at a stage when there is scope to influence the policy outcome." If Government policy is that monitoring arrangements for children educated at home should be improved, then what scope do the stakeholders - home educating families - have to influence the policy outcome, please?
Should the process not be that the consultation takes place, then a report on that consultation is written (I understand that it is expected to be completed in January 2010) and THEN a legislative programme can be planned if appropriate. The phrase "stitch up" comes to mind.
You doubtless know this already, but I would remind you that Elective Home Education has been the subject of consultation after consultation in the last five years. The recent bout is the worst yet: a consultation announced in January which swiftly turned into a "review" once it was pointed out to the DCSF that the code of practice was being broken; a so-called "independent" review undertaken by the anything-but-independent Graham Badman; and, worst of all, a smear campaign in which educational practice and government concerns about safeguarding have been conflated with no justification beyond political expediency.
I protest against this draft legislation in the strongest terms. Please tell me what the procedure is for halting this presumptive draft legislation until the proper consulting process has taken place (and for ever, if the findings of the consultation are that no change to the law is needed).