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Repeal Section 436A of the 1996 Education Act

Comment 28th November 2014

Section 436A of the 1996 Education Act and the statutory guidance relating to it is in direct conflict with Section 437

Section 436A of the 1996 Education Act states:

“436A Duty to make arrangements to identify children not receiving education
(1) A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far
as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory
school age but —
(a) are not registered pupils at a school, and
(b) are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.
(2) In exercising their functions under this section a local education authority must have
regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(3) In this Chapter, “suitable education”, in relation to a child, means efficient full-time
education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he
may have.””

whereas section 437 states:

“1) If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education”

Why does this matter?

This is important because Section 436A  is framed in the positive whereas Section 437 is framed in the negative. In a country that respects civil liberties, the legislation should assume innocence  and should only be triggered if some kind of suspicion is aroused.

Section 436A assumes that everybody is guilty until checked up on. This causes much confusion within Local Authorities and  hands over unnecessary authoritarian powers to Local Authorities. This legislation is one of the many reasons why Local Authority staff  end up at odds with home educating parents.

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