On 30 November, the Welsh Government released its formal response to the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Annual Report 2021-22, which had been published on 11 October.
In her Cabinet Statement, Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt, MS, noted that this report reflected the final year of Prof Sally Holland’s> term as CcfW, and thanked her for her work. Hutt also welcomed the new Commissioner, Rocio Cifuentes, to her role and looked forward to working in partnership with her.
Cifuentes’ report had made sixteen recommendations. All were accepted by the Welsh Government, three of them in principle.
Recommendation 11 concerns Home Education. It may be found on page 18 of the report, and reads as follows:
Children’s Commissioner’s recommendation:
Welsh Government must publish an evaluation plan for the implementation of new statutory guidance, alongside that guidance. This should expressly measure what percentage of home educated children are seen and spoken with about their education on an annual basis.
The Welsh Government Response: Accept
An evaluation plan for the implementation of the elective home education proposals will be published in 2023 alongside the new statutory guidance and will include both the number and percentage of home educated children who are seen and spoken with about their education on an annual basis.
There is little which can be said about the new statutory guidance and the evaluation plan until they appear in the public domain. The one point we can deduce from this statement is that the Government continues to be intent on speaking to home educated children, whether they want to be interviewed by a stranger or not.
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