In case study 3 of the proposed new home education guidance for local authorities the LA has some follow-up questions. We are told that “Efforts to resolve this informally are unsuccessful and so Angela issues a preliminary notice (section 437(1) of the 1996 Act)” . There are no case studies in the current guidance.
The proposed new guidance is not ready to be used. It is still at the draft stage. The consultation closed 18.1.24. The current guidance remains in force until such time as a final new version is published. The current guidance can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elective-home-education
Are Case Studies Helpful
The consultation refers to “case studies on EHE topics that can sometimes cause misinterpretation and result in queries being raised to the Department. Through these case studies, we have tried to clarify a few factors within the process of EHE”
The consultation asks whether you think the suggested case studies are helpful. I would say it depends what you mean by helpful. If you are a local authority wanting to carry out “routine annual reviews” and you have accepted written reports in the past but now want to put a stop to this approach, then I presume you will find case study 3 helpful, in fact you may even have written it.
Remember though that the Department interprets helpful as meaning fewer queries because the guidance will have made things clearer. However case study 3 is vague and imprecise at a number of key points, for example there is nothing about what “informal efforts” might might look like or whether the formal notice has anything – or nothing – to do with the Early Help referral. The waters are further muddied with a passing reference to “additional information provided” after a meeting, implying that the meeting itself may not have been sufficient (or indeed necessary) This case study would only INCREASE the amount of work for the Department.
- The first thing that strikes me is the casual reference to “a routine annual review” This is not about an annual review for an EHCP, it is about home education. It amounts to routine monitoring.
- The family has apparently not provided any information about literacy and numeracy and when asked follow-up questions, refuses to answer or to provide any further information
- To muddy the waters further, it transpires that there has also been a referral to Early Help, hinting at some problem in or with the family