Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, has written to all local authorities, tipping them the wink about the new White Paper on education. He expects local authorities to act as 'strong champions', looking in particular at the needs of 'vulnerable children' in their area. Gove says that they will have a strengthened role;
'Supporting vulnerable children – acting on behalf of groups of children who need extra support, including children with special educational needs, looked after children and those outside mainstream education. Local authorities will use wider children’s services responsibilities to ensure that children are able to get the most from their schooling.'
Using 'wider children's services' to support children 'outside mainstream education'. There may not be much appetite at the Department for Education for another crack at primary legislation after the fiasco of Schedule 1 of the CSF Bill, but encouraging local authorities to use 'wider children's services' in this way could very well have much the same effect. Without entering into a long debate about this, many local authorities already feel that they have a duty to ensure that home educated children have access to the five ECM outcomes. This could prove very interesting.