Pa gynlluniau sydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru i'w gwneud yn orfodol cofrestru plant sy'n cael addysg ddewisol yn y cartref?
The Welsh Government has no plans to introduce compulsory registration of electively home educated children. On the 30 January I announced plans to consult on using existing powers to require local authorities to establish a database to assist them in identifying children not receiving suitable education. The consultation will also consider which partners will be able to provide the most complete database, such as local health boards. To support local authorities in the operation of the database and in the arrangements to assess the suitability of education to children on the database, I will consult on statutory guidance to be issued to local authorities. The statutory guidance will include advice for local authorities on making assessments regarding the suitability of education. This will ensure the approach is consistent, fair and transparent across Wales.
My full oral statement can be found at the link below.
Local authorities are under a duty to make arrangements to identify children not receiving a suitable education. Local authorities can make reasonable requests of home-educating parents to see examples of learning, such as projects, assessments etc. Parents have no legal duty to respond to such queries and they do not have to meet with or accept visits by local authority officers, they do not have to follow the national curriculum, nor provide formal lessons. The education provided must be suited to the individual child's age, aptitude, ability and special educational needs. Many parents, in consideration of their rights and responsibilities, already share with local authorities’ information regarding the education provision they provide their children. It is up to the local authority to decide if they are satisfied that the education provided is “suitable”. If it appears to a local authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving a suitable education they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.
It is too soon to determine the exact costs of requiring local authorities to establish a database. However my officials have commenced work on a cost benefit analysis encompassing both the development of the database and a range of broader assessment arrangements and requirements which could be placed on local authorities. The cost benefit analysis will provide a range of options to inform how the database and statutory guidance will function. It will also explore the cost implications for other partners.
Local authorities can already, if they so wish do so, provide training and support to parents or careers who choose to home-educate. However, local authorities are not responsible for the provision of home education or under any statutory obligation to financially support home-educated children. That said, they should, where possible, promote access to learning opportunities open to all children and young people in their area. Some local authorities provide links to youth support services, through information packs to home-educating parents. Others promote access to specialist educational support services, such as education psychology and school nurses.
During my plenary statement on the 30 January I announced my intention to strengthen the support available to home educators, by developing a package of educational support. This package will include making Hwb available to home-educated children, additional learning needs support, help with exam registration, and exploring options for home-educating families to learn Welsh and a clear offer of support from Careers Wales. Some local authorities have encouraged and facilitated home-educators to take part in local authority training, such as safeguarding. Some home-educators have trained to become exam invigilators with the help of FE colleges and local authorities. As we develop the statutory guidance we will explore with local authorities and other agencies how we can develop consistent offers of training to home-educators.