Home Education in Wales

Cardiff Bay - geograph.org.uk - 1102077

Wales has had the power to make its own education legislation - separate from England - since 2011. In early 2020 the Welsh Government launched a public consultation inviting comments on new draft regulations which would require each local authority to set up a database of all compulsory school age children in their area, plus new statutory home education guidance. However, in June 2020 the Welsh Government published a statement saying "it will not now be possible to complete the planned work on the home education statutory guidance and database regulations within this Government term." The subsequent Senedd election went ahead in May 2021.

There have been persistent references to the database and new guidance being brought back - linked to more support for home educators - but at the time of writing in December 2022 no concrete proposals have been published. See eg this report from the Children, Young People and Education Committee, November 2022, pages 45-50

Home education guidance for Wales was published on January 9th 2017 (the Gov.Wales web page is wrong in saying 2016) and remains current. It is non-statutory.

The principle primary legislation for England and Wales is the Education Act 1996. Section 7 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."

Children Missing Education is covered in Section 436A. CME Guidance 2017 for Wales can be found here described as "A practical toolkit to help identify children and young people missing education". Elective home education is on pages 74-76.

School Attendance Orders can be found in section 437 to section 443

Deregistration is the procedure to be followed when a parent takes a child out of school for home education. The legal source is the Pupil Registration Regulations Wales 2010 (only available on the public site in its original form). The Welsh Regulations 2010 say the child's name should be deleted from the roll and the school then has 10 school days to notify the local authority.

Numbers

The Welsh Government asks local authorities to provide annual information about home educated children which is published in the Autumn. The latest is September 2022. Key points 2022: In the 2021/22 academic year 4,681 children were known to be electively home educated in Wales. (4342 in 2020-21). The most common age for home educated pupils is 15.

The 2022 breakdown is as follows (2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 in brackets).
Anglesey 109 (132, - , 12,39,37), Gwynnedd 141 (135, - ,79, 45,55), Conwy 180 (160, 114,118,114), Denbighshire 145 (145,101,90,77), Flintshire 172 (154, -,96,65), Wrexham 156 (143, - ,86,68,74), Powys 325 (301 207,159,134), Ceredigion 233 (257, 187,173,151), Pembrokeshire 323 (279, - , 185,197,161), Carmarthenshire 546 (457, 288, 290, -), Swansea 275 (260, 159,139,160), Neath Port Talbot 255 (250,200,180,150), Bridgend 164 (188, 160,131,109), The Vale of Glamorgan 139 (107,59,69,45), Rhondda Cynon Taff 282 (257,171,153,133), Merthyr Tydfil 68 (56, - , 43,42,32), Caerphilly 176 (146, - ,82,86), Blaenau Gwent 137 (112,70,72,55), Torfaen 160 (149,71,85,67), Monmouthshire 100 (82,69,60,52), Newport 198 (195,124,95,60), Cardiff 387 (377, - , 229,194).

NB Local authorities currently provide more information to the Government than is actually published and various bodies would like to see more data analysis made available. This would not require new database legislation as it would be covered under the existing non-statutory arrangements. The Education Minister Jeremy Miles told the Children, Young People and Education Committee in Summer 2022 that he has commissioned Data Cymru to analyse the annual local authority returns for the reasons why families are choosing home education. See this Committee report November 2022, pages 45-50

ALN in Wales

Wales has its own laws for additional learning needs also known as special educational needs. My page on ALN in Wales can be found here


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