Friday, 7 January 2011

Michael Gove writes to the local authorities

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.


  1. If LA's spent a tiny fraction of the time they seem to spend worrying about home educated children and re-directed that towards Looked After Children that might well be beneficial.

  2. I had a chat to my MP a few weeks ago, He's Tory, an ex teacher, seemed a nice guy.
    He'd clearly sought some briefing before meeting me and referred to the "Home Education Mum Mafia". His reference was friendly, though it was clear that they don't see us as a push over.
    One strategy is for HEers in every Tory and Liberal Constituency to meet with their MPs for friendly chats to let them see what a HEer looks like and develop the relationship so that they know we'll be back hassling them if they try anything that makes HE awkward.

    The anon above is spot on, LAs need to respect those parents who retain responsibility for effective parenting and leave them to get on with the job. By doing that we'll regain the culture of parents being responsible for children, there will be far less need for the care system and those in genuine need will get the service they require.


  3. ' LAs need to respect those parents who retain responsibility for effective parenting and leave them to get on with the job'

    I have an idea that most local authorities are happy to do this. Their problem is identifying these parents inthe first place. Not everybody who deregisters a child from school belongs in this category.

  4. So the answer is to assume we are all guilty until we prove our innocence? Maybe they aught to try that approach with receiving stolen goods - every home could be searched for stolen goods at least once a year. They would have to be spot checks of course, or evidence could be hidden.

  5. or even ought!