Action for Home Education (AHEd) has today written to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove MP, alerting him to the contradictions inherent within legislation relating to Children Missing Education (CME) and seeking his assurances that appropriate action will be taken by the government to address the difficulties for families and confusion for local authorities which have arisen as a result.
In particular, AHEd has proposed the removal from the Education Act 1996 of Section 436a, as introduced by Section 4(1) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (c. 40), which enabled statutory guidance in 2007, later revised in 2009. The revised guidance is widely believed to be ultra vires, exceeding the power of the enabling statute and contradicting the 2007 guidance which expressly excluded electively home educated children from the definition of CME.
As AHEd reminds the minister:
“The parental responsibility to ensure suitable educational provision as set out in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 and reinforced by section 437, is replaced by an invocation for local authority action whether or not there is due cause for concern. The presumption of innocence is selectively removed from those choosing elective home education, creating clear discrimination.
“This ambiguity has also led to local authorities believing they have a mandate to produce a register of elective home educators and to monitor their education; both issues which were strongly contested during the last government and which the Coalition has assured us are not intended.”
AHEd has offered to supply Mr Gove with case studies of families who have been affected by the ambiguity which currently exists and has urged him to act to reverse the mission creep which has been identified by their members and the wider home education community.
The full text of the letter may be read on the AHEd website here.