Northern Ireland Assembly
Ministerial Answer at 2mins: niassembly.gov.uk/.../Education-02-June-2014
Elective Home Education
2. Mr Attwood asked the Minister of Education to outline the reasons for the draft policy on elective home education giving greater power to education and library boards than is currently the case under section 13 of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. (AQO 6217/11-15)
Several Ministerial Questions were asked by Danny Kinehan MLA, the most interesting answer is to the last question:
whether the Assembly and the Education Committee will be given the opportunity to engage in the debate about future regulation of home education, currently subject of a consultation process carried out by the Education and Library Boards? (AQW 33476/11-15)
The department has sent HEdNI a letter, thanking us for our comments in relation to the consultation.
They state that they must strike a balance between the rights and needs of children, and the facilitating parental preference for home education.
"... the Minister will want to review the process following consultation and before the draft policy is finalised".
HEdNI welcomes the opening of a channel of communication but disputes that there is a tension between parental preference and the rights and needs of children. Parents are acknowledged in National and International Law as, in almost all cases, the best advocates for their children's rights and needs.
Our response follows;
"Thank you for your letter. We are reassured to hear that the Minister for Education is taking an interest in this matter, and we very pleased to be able to discuss this.
There has been a certain amount of confusion over whether the consultations are separate and could therefore result in five different policies, so it is interesting to hear that the aim is, or should be, a common process. I think we can all agree that the education and wellbeing of children and young people is paramount.