The DfE was seeking views on proposed legislation to set up a register, to be maintained by Local Authorities, of children not attending mainstream schools.
The proposals also looked at establishing a duty to support parents who educate children at home, and who want support from their local authority.
Writing the submission on behalf of the ECSG, Prospect national secretary, Steve Thomas, outlined why the union was broadly supportive of the proposed policies.
“A register will improve the ability of each LA to undertake its obligations under Section 436A of the Education Act 1966 to make arrangements to establish the identities of children who are not receiving a suitable education.
“In addition, a register will help ensure that in the most extreme cases that children are safeguarded where currently there may be no professional support.”
“In summary, LAs have a key role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and a register will improve access and support for children of compulsory school age who are not in school.
“Properly explained, with clear and consistent guidance setting out stakeholders’ rights and responsibilities home educating parents should have no objection to this.”
However, he also added that, in order to fulfil these new duties: “LAs must be resourced to do this with ring fenced funding and a professional cadre of staff. A lack of funding in LAs, with competing demands on statutory obligations will need addressing to allow for the time and staff to follow this up.”
The consultation, which ran from 2 April to 24 June, is now closed and the DfE will be reporting back on their findings shortly.
Prospect’s full submission can be downloaded from the Prospect library.