Another one from the lists, this time Jill Fisher provides probably the best summary so far: Badman’s review could do no better than just quote this:
My feeling is that the best outcome from this review would be for the government to decide to do nothing.
The arguments I can see that might be most persuasive have to do with the fact that the LAs already have powers that they aren’t using, and that there are new systems being put in place which should address LAs concerns. They need to give these new systems time. Specifically:
1) Local authorities already have powers to act if they are concerned. S. 437 gives them the right to insist on information about home education if there are any doubts, and SAOs give them access to the child – once they have an SAO in force and the child is in school, they can see them. If there are cases that LAs are worried about they should use existing powers not whine about needing new ones.
2) For the forced marriage issue, these are children (according to the NSPCC and others) who are being removed from school to be forced into marriage. The LA already has a responsibility to ask about the education of these children. If there are educational concerns, see point 1. If any other concerns arise in the course of asking about the education, then they should have procedures to follow.
3) CME databases are still quite new and LAs are still implementing CME guidance. There isn’t enough information yet to know how this will affect identification of unknown home educated children. They should give it some time.
4) Contact Point is just coming in. It is being trialed in 17 LAs. If Contact Point works the way they believe it should then problem cases will be picked up. They need to give it some time.
5) Given that many abused children attend school and are never identified, there is a big question about how closer monitoring by LAs of home educators would spot abuse.
Just me thinking out loud, from the safe place of a retired home educator, but in the hopes that my children will have the choice to home educate ther putative children.