Representatives of Families First in Education – Wales met virtually with government aides in early May, and whilst Welsh Government plans continue to lack detail, it is clear that they are proceeding with the proposals from the previous consultations. This has been stated most plainly in the Minister’s recent letter to the Chair of the Children’s and Young People’s Education Committee.
Their proposals include:
- clarifying what is meant by a suitable education;
- strengthening the existing framework for local authorities to take action where a child is not receiving a suitable education;
- clarifying that where this appears likely to impair a child’s development, the local authority should fully exercise their safeguarding powers and duties to protect the child’s wellbeing;
- establishing Local Authority “databases” of all children;
- and producing a revised version of the proposed handbook on home education on which they consulted in 2019.
Before the meeting we were asked to provide a list of the items we wished to discuss with departmental officials.
On 23 May Families First in Education – Wales received this letter from the Welsh Government. It provides their response to the outstanding questions we had left with them. The matters addressed in our meeting with the Government will be evident from the headings in their letter, though of course they do not fully reflect the points we attempted to make during the meeting.
Families First in Education – Wales remains committed to our original principles of advocating for parental primacy in education, and to preserve the freedom of families to make choices about the best interests of our children. The reason for attempting to elicit more detail about their intentions from the Government is purely to enable us to better stand firm on those principles, rather than risk compromising on “could be worse” scenarios.
We have recently replied to the Government, and will publish that letter in due course.
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