Families First in Education Wales wrote to the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee [LJCC] on 21 February. This was to request that three enclosed documents be placed on file so that Committee members might have access to them when they came to consider the new statutory guidance for EHE and the proposals for local authority databases of every child in their area.
The three documents which accompanied our letter were:
- Protecting Home Education Wales Submission to 2019 consultation on new EHE guidance and handbook – this includes David Wolfe QC’s legal opinion
- Protecting Home Education Wales Submission to 2020 consultation on local authority databases of all children, containing David Wolfe QC’s comments on the proposals
- Families First in Education Wales submission to the Minister for Education seeking to rebut the Children’s Commissioner’s use of the UNCRC – October 2021
We know that secondary legislation does not receive the same level of scrutiny as primary legislation does, but we have become increasingly concerned that whilst the implementation date of the proposals remains April 2023, nothing as yet has been laid before the Senedd.
The LJCC met on 27 February, and our letter to them featured briefly on the Agenda [item 5.6] Most of the meeting was in private, so what was said about it is not on record. However, our letter and all three documents were combined into a single PDF document and made available to members. It can be downloaded from the Agenda page or directly from this link.
On 7 March however, we received a constructive response from the Committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies, confirming that “in accordance with the Senedd’s Standing Orders, the LJC is able to consider any subordinate legislation that is laid before the Senedd, including any such legislation related to home schooling.”
He went on to explain that the committee’s approach and scrutiny has to be guided by various Standing Orders, as detailed in the letter. He said the Committee was able to consider and report on statutory guidance for elective home education “if it falls within scope of our remit under the Standing Orders as set out above.” He also said he was copying his letter to Jane Bryant MS, Chair of the Children, Young Persons and Education Committee. We have placed a copy of his letter to us here for those who would like to read it in full.
FFiEW have since acknowledged his prompt and informative response. We trust that when they receive any relevant proposals from the Minister for Education, members of both the LJC and the CYPE Committees will consider them alongside the documents we have reminded them about.
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