Following a deluge of responses to the Welsh Government’s consultation on its misguided proposals to introduce parent licensing for home educators as part of the forthcoming Education (Wales) Bill, plans for such a scheme have now been officially shelved.
In a statement issued to Assembly Members under cover of Christmas, Education Minister Leighton Andrews announced:
“I have asked my officials to undertake a thorough analysis of the consultation responses as I want to ensure all views to the proposals are fully considered.
“Due to the large volume and detail of the responses this is going to take time and is not something I want rushed.
“In order to facilitate this process I believe it would be beneficial to delay taking forward the legislative proposals in the current Education(Wales) Bill.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson was at pains to point out that the proposals have not been “scrapped”, but simply “need more time”. Meanwhile we can expect a report summarising the 500+ responses to the proposals in due course.
Commenting on the policy U-turn, a Scottish home education spokesperson said:
“In its response to this consultation, we had no hesitation in condemning plans for ‘ContactPoint Cymru’ as draconian and wholly disproportionate. We are therefore pleased for our home educating colleagues and friends in Wales that their Government, in the face of robust opposition and evidence, finally appears to be thinking through the unintended consequences of such a scheme.
Hopefully reason will prevail, otherwise the Welsh Government can expect strong resistance which will inevitably take resources from the far more pressing policy priorities that exercise its citizenry and media on such an embarrassingly regular basis.”
See also Welsh Home Education Consultation (Home Education Forums discussion thread).