To: The Department for Education
Involve home educators in the current home education consultation process
This campaign has ended.
The Department for Education should halt the current call for evidence until home educators can be properly included in the consultation.
The Department for Education should set up a guideline development group, that includes representatives from all stakeholders, to produce new draft guidelines that are evidence based and created through a transparent and fair process.
Why is this important?
The Department for Education is currently consulting on potential changes to the regulations surrounding elective home education in England. The consultation is aimed at home educators amongst a number of other stakeholders, such as local authorities and schools.
The government has expressed a desire to engage more effectively with the public. They have developed guidance to help those creating consultations. This guidance describes principles to help ensure a wide group of people are being involved at an early stage in the process of creating new policies. Other principles cover the need to make it easier for the public to contribute their views by targeting consultations appropriately and presenting them in a way that works for the people whose views they are gathering.
This petition highlights the disregard the Department for Education has shown for these principles in creating the current elective home education consultation. First, they have failed to involve home educators in the process of creating the new draft guidelines and consultation questions, and second, they have chosen not to engage with home educators throughout the consultation period, unless home educators form groups and organise meetings for them to attend.
Unfortunately, these decisions by the Department for Education have resulted in poorly conceived, repetitive, chaotic questions that are not targeted for home educators and therefore very difficult for home educators to respond meaningfully too. In addition, home educators’ concerns are not included in the consultation, with the exception of one relatively minor issue. Instead the Department for Education has chosen to create the consultation “in house” effectively only incorporating the concerns of local authorities.
In order for the data collected during the consultation to be interrogated, the Department for Education is going to spend £35,000 on an external text analysis company. We do not wish this money, or any more “in house” resources, to be wasted analysing poor data. However, we would also argue that a proper consultation may well cost a lot more than the Department for Education is currently budgeting. Per child, home educators save the government between £4000 and £6000 per year. Some estimates suggest that there are a minimum of 30,000 children being home educated, so the annual saving to the government can be estimated at £150 million. Clearly there is room in the budget for this consultation to be done correctly.
It is important that home educators' voices are heard as they are the stakeholders for whom any new guidelines or regulations will have the most profound effect, including major changes to their family life and potential changes to the right to quiet enjoyment of their home and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. All other stakeholders are professionals and therefore their home and personal lives will remain unaffected.
Please sign to ensure the Department for Education completes a fair and equitable process with ALL stakeholders' voices heard.