Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
On 21 December 2012 my predecessor announced in a written statement that, following the Welsh Government’s consultation on legislative proposals to introduce a compulsory registration and monitoring scheme for those who elect to educate their children at home, the Welsh Government would not legislate as part of the Education (Wales) Bill. In his statement he undertook to provide an update in due course. I am now updating you on the outcome of the consultation and my intentions going forward.
The consultation revealed a clear divide in opinion. The majority of home educating parents, home educated children and young people and organisations representing home educating families were strongly opposed to the introduction of any form of legislation. However, the majority of local authorities (LAs) and organisations with responsibility for children were of the opinion that legislation was absolutely necessary to ensure home-educated children were receiving a suitable education.
Having carefully considered the consultation responses from all stakeholders I have decided not to legislate for a compulsory registration and monitoring scheme during the current Assembly term. I have however, asked my officials to develop non-statutory guidance on home education by May 2015 to assist LAs with supporting their home-educating families, and to help create a more consistent approach to how LAs engage with their home-educating communities. The guidance will be developed in consultation with LAs and the elective home-educating community to provide an opportunity for them to work together to build consensus and trust. The guidance will assist LAs to develop a level of knowledge and expertise on home education, which was highlighted as an area for further development during the consultation.
The consultation highlighted that there is good practice and good engagement by some LAs with the home-educating community. We will draw upon this existing good practice in developing the guidance.
Developing non-statutory guidance will enable us to try out and evaluate different approaches to achieve the best learning outcomes for home-educated learners.
Today I have published an analysis of the consultation responses and this can be found on the Welsh Government website.