Elective Home Education Wales: Welsh Assembly

Home Education in Wales

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July 2016 Summary: The new home education guidance initially announced in 2014 has still not materialised. The Review into Dylan Seabridge's death was published on July 8th. Changes to additional learning needs will be set out in a new Bill and Code which are yet to be published. There has been no further news about increased regulation part time out of school settings put forward in Spring 2016.

Home Education Law in Wales

The principle primary legislation which applies to elective home education is the Education Act 1996 and the Education and Inspection Act 2006. Section 7 of the Education Act (England and Wales) 1996 states that "the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable — (1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (2) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."

Section 4 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006 deals with Children Missing Education and introduces Section 436A into the 1996 Education Act. Scroll down or click here to read more about Children Missing Education law and guidance for Wales. The procedure to be followed when a parent takes a child out of school for home education (known as deregistration) is covered by Pupil Registration Regulations Wales. Scroll down or click here to read more about deregistration.

Wales has had the power to make its own education legislation - separate from England - since 2011. More. The current Home Education Guidelines for Wales are here (Welsh Government page updated March 2016) Following the 2016 elections in Wales, A Labour minority Government with Plaid was formed, and Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams was appointed Education Secretary(replacing Labour's Huw Lewis)

New Home Education Guidance 2016?

CONSULTATION on new home education guidance for Wales closed July 3rd 2015. (See my page on the consultation here) At the time of writing on July 3rd 2016 the guidance has not been published.

In October 2015 the Welsh Government announced a delay. A further delay was annnounced in February 2016 to take account of findings from the Dylan Seabridge Child Practice Review

Background: In 2012 the Welsh Government consulted on Registering and monitoring home-based education Plans were subsequently dropped, and in May 2014 the Minister Huw Lewis said instead there would be new EHE Guidance by May 2015


How Many Children Are Home Educated in Wales?

A headcount of children in Wales known to be home educated is carried out each January by local authorities and published by the Welsh Government in July/August. The next update will be July 27th 2016. This link showed that 1399 (1225) children were home educated in Wales in January 2015. The breakdown is as follows (January 2014 in brackets).
Anglesey 21 (23), Gwynnedd 55 (69), Conwy 62 (40), Denbighshire 55 (58), Flintshire 46 (39), Wrexham 30 (20), Powys 112 (120), Ceredigion 111 (112), Pembrokeshire 106 (92), Carmarthenshire 160 (122), Swansea 104 (81), Neath Port Talbot 58 (34) , Bridgend 67 (43), The Vale of Glamorgan 35 (30), Rhondda Cynon Taff 63 (55), Merthyr Tydfil 17 (13), Caerphilly 29 (31), Blaenau Gwent 14 (19), Torfaen 36 (32), Monmouthshire 27 (24), Newport 33 (26), Cardiff 158 (142).

Expressed as a percentage of school-age children, Ceredigion had by far the highest rate at 14.9 per thousand children, while Caerphilly had the lowest rate at 1.3 home educated per thousand children. The biggest rise in absolute and percentage terms was Carmarthenshire, up from 122 to 160. 2 LAs, Carmarthenshire and Conwy were responsible for half the overall increase in numbers between 2014 and 2015. Here are the schools' ratings for Carmarthenshire where very few schools rated "Green.". More on schools' coding here and on the Welsh Government website here, or check on http://mylocalschool.wales.gov.uk/. In some LAs home education numbers remained roughly the same or even went down slightly.

Guidance on Completing the EOTAS Return confirms that the EOTAS data collection focuses on children receiving education funded by the local authority otherwise than at school. However, LAs are also asked for a headcount of home educated children. The note adds that "although there is no legal basis upon which authorities can collect personal data about pupils educated at home by parents i.e. not paid for by the authority, LAs are expected to be aware of such pupils, especially where a parent has given notice to a school that a parent is withdrawing the pupil from school to educate the pupil at home."

SEN Numbers and SAOs

At the end of 2012 I sent FOIs to all the local authorities in Wales, which revealed that - among other things - a total of 4 School Attendance Orders were issued in 2011-12; around 5% of home educated children in Wales have a statement of SEN; and that a third of Welsh councils have fewer than 25 home educated children on their books, with only 1 LA having more than a 100.


Summary Current Welsh Home Education Guidelines

In 2006 the Welsh Assembly Government published Elective Home Education Guidelines (14 pages) as part of a much larger document covering Inclusion and Pupil Support. The bigger document is being revised (2016) hence the home education part is reissued separately.

Key points from the Welsh Home Education Guidelines are: assume efficient and suitable unless evidence to contrary; duty to serve School Attendance Order; seek to build effective relationships; named contact familiar with home education; LAs to post information to parents where not meeting in person; no legal framework for regular monitoring; make contact on annual basis; seek agreement to see provision first hand without undue pressure; no right to insist on access to the home; reports, samples of work, alternative venue; expected characteristics of provision; respecting parent's philosophy.


Home Education Guidelines Differ in England and Wales

There are a number of significant differences between the Government Guidelines for England and for Wales.

  • Welsh Guidelines specifically state that the authority should assume efficient educational provision is taking place, which is suitable for the child, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
  • Welsh Guidelines say the law doesn't specifically require the authority to investigate home education.
  • Welsh Guidelines say the authority should make annual contact with the home educating family.

Regulation Out of School Settings Wales

LINK Consultation closed April 5th 2016

Wales: Children Missing Education

"Children Missing Education" in both England and Wales comes under section 436a of the Education Act England and Wales 1996 which states:

(1)A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but—
(a)are not registered pupils at a school, and
(b)are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.
(2)In exercising their functions under this section a local education authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(3)In this Chapter, "suitable education", in relation to a child, means efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have."

CME Guidance in Wales (April 2010) differs from the CME Guidance in England (January 2015). The Welsh CME Guidance section on elective home education is largely taken from the 2006 Home Education Guidelines for Wales.


Young people in Wales going to college in England

I received the following answer from DfE in August 2014: "A student who is currently living in Wales can receive public funding at a college in England, in some circumstances but education providers must comply with the EFA's rules on claiming public funding for Welsh students set out in the Funding regulations' guidance

"Some English colleges and education providers are located close to the borders with Wales and Scotland, and may have recruitment areas that normally include areas outside England. Alternatively, the typical 'travel to learn' pattern for students may include an education provider over the border. In these circumstances, there is no issue with providers claiming funding for students (Funding regulations' guidance paragraph 53). English education providers can only claim funding for Welsh home educated students when they are either within the normal recruitment area, or when the travel to learn patterns for the area include the English provider. The EFA would not expect to see large numbers of Welsh students being funded in English providers."


Revised Guidance Safeguarding Children Education 2015

The Welsh Government consulted on safeguarding in education in 2013

In January 2015 a new guidance document was published which said the following about home education:

"Operational responsibilities 2.19
At this level the local authority should seek to build effective relationships with home educators that function to safeguard the educational interests and welfare of children and young people. Doing so will provide parents with access to any support that is available and allow authorities to understand the parents’ educational provision. For further information refer to chapter 6 of Welsh Government Circular 47/2006: Inclusion and Pupil Support. New guidance for local authorities on home education will be developed for public consultation by May 2015. It is anticipated that this guidance will be finalised by September 2015." [page 21]

This is a considerable improvement on the proposals contained in the original consultation although the definition of "significant harm" in the Glossary is still incorrect and misleading (see my consultation response for further details)


Deregistration: How Soon Should School Notify Local Authority? Government Guidance 2010

The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 say the child's name should be deleted from the roll BEFORE informing the authority. It makes no difference if the child has a statement of SEN unless he/she is a registered pupil at a special school (see Pupil Registration Regulations for Wales, paragraph 8.(2))

(3) When the name of a pupil has been deleted from the admission register in accordance with regulation 8(1)(c), (d), (g), (i) or (m), the proprietor must make a return to the local authority giving the full name and address of that pupil within the ten school days immediately following the date on which the pupil’s name was so deleted.

Pupil Registration Regulations Wales 2010

Current Regulations for SEN

The Welsh Special Educational Needs Code of Practice has exactly the same paragraphs dealing with education otherwise than at school in cases where the child has a statement of SEN as the 2001 SEN Code for England. (The system in England was changed for new cases from September 2014) The Welsh and English Home Education Guidelines currently contain exactly the same information about home educating children with a statement of SEN.

Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (Wales) 2004

8:95 Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 recognises parents’ right to choose to educate their child at home. Such arrangements are described as ‘education otherwise than at school’. In such cases, if the child has a statement of special educational needs, it remains the LEA’s duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met. The statement must remain in force and the LEA must ensure that parents can make suitable, provision, including provision for the child’s special educational needs. If the parent’s arrangements are suitable the LEA are relieved of their duty to arrange the provision specified in the statement. If, however, the parents’ attempt to educate the child at home results in provision which falls short of meeting the child’s needs, then the parents are not making ‘suitable arrangements’ and the LEA could not conclude that they were absolved of their responsibility to arrange the provision in the statement. Even if the LEA is satisfied, the LEA remains under a duty to maintain the child’s statement and to review it annually, following the procedures set out in Chapter Nine. 8:96 In such situations section 324 (4A) of the Education Act 1996 does not require the name of a school to be specified in Part 4 of the statement. Part 4 should state the type of school the LEA consider appropriate but go on to say that: "parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996." The statement can also specify any provision that the LEA have agreed to make under section 319 to help parents provide suitable education for their child at home." p.111

Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, Wales 2004


Changes Proposed for Additional Learning Needs in Wales 2016

Edyourself New ALN Page updated July 2016


Flexischooling in Wales

"Q8: I have a pupil who is home educated for 2 days a week under our flexi-schooling policy. What code should I use for the days that the pupil is not in school?
A: You will need to use Code C. As a school you have agreed to the flexi schooling arrangement and have effectively agreed an authorised absence."
Attendance Data Collection 2014/15 via this page (Welsh Government, Education and Skills, Information and data collection, Attendance Collection, last updated September 2015)


EOTAS Standards in Wales (Estyn)

EOTAS is NOT home education by parents. 2016 Estyn Thematic Report "Across Wales there is a lack of understanding about the registration requirements for pupils receiving EOTAS. Most local authorities do not monitor or oversee EOTAS or alterantive provision robustly enough.



Link Reference

This article is http://edyourself.org/articles/EnglandandWales.php. The following links to other websites are contained in the article, displayed as citations to aid you in printing the document.

  1. Section 7 of the Education Act (England and Wales) 1996 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/7
  2. here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/40/section/4
  3. was appointed Education Secretary http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/pupilsupport/elective-home-education-guidance
    /?lang=en
  4. here http://gov.wales/consultations/education/elective-home-education/?skip=1&lang=en
  5. the Dylan Seabridge Child Practice Review http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2015/homeeducation/?lang=en
  6. new EHE Guidance by May 2015 http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2012/electivehomeeducation/?lang=en
  7. This link http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/pupils-educated-other-than-school/?lang=en
  8. http://mylocalschool.wales.gov.uk/ http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/School-bandings-child-s-primary-secondary/story-25942736-det
    ail/story.html
  9. Guidance on Completing the EOTAS Return http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/schooldata/ims/datacollections/eotaspupillvlc
    ollection/?lang=en
  10. FOIs http://edyourself.org/articles/FOIwales2012.php
  11. Elective Home Education Guidelines http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/pupilsupport/elective-home-education-guidance
    /?lang=en
  12. LINK http://edyourself.org/articles/regulationoutofschoolsettingsWales.php
  13. section 436a of the Education Act England and Wales 1996 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/40/section/4
  14. (January 2015) http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/101419missingeducationen.pdf
  15. safeguarding in education http://edyourself.org/articles/safeguardingconsultwales.php
  16. page 21 http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/150114-keeping-learners-safe.pdf
  17. my consultation response http://edyourself.org/safeguardingedwalesconsultresponse.pdf
  18. The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 http://legislation.data.gov.uk/wsi/2010/1954/made/data.htm?wrap=true
  19. Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, Wales 2004 http://edyourself.org/SENcodepracticewales.pdf
  20. Edyourself New ALN Page http://edyourself.org/articles/senchangeswales.php
  21. this page http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/150514-attendance-collection-faq-en.pdf
  22. Home Education Wales http://edyourself.org/articles/EnglandandWales.php
  23. Consultation Web Page 2015 http://edyourself.org/articles/childrensversionwelshconsultation2015.php
  24. Pre-consultation Survey 2015 http://edyourself.org/articles/wavesurvwales2015.php
  25. Safeguarding Children Wales 2015 http://edyourself.org/articles/safeguardingconsultwales.php
  26. 2012 EHE Consultation Response http://edyourself.org/electivehomeeducationconsultationwales.pdf
  27. 2012 EHE Consultation Workshop Notes http://edyourself.org/articles/wrexhamworkshop.php
  28. 2012 EHE Consultation Briefing http://edyourself.org/articles/walesbriefing.php
  29. 2012 FOIs http://edyourself.org/articles/FOIwales2012.php
  30. 2014 SEN changes for Wales http://edyourself.org/articles/senchangeswales.php
  31. 2012 SEN Consultation Response http://edyourself.org/ANwales2012consultresponsesummary.pdf