On October 7th 2020, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, wrote to the First Minister for Wales. In her letter, she told him that she will be looking at how the Welsh Government made decisions about protecting the rights of children who are educated at home or at an independent school. This is called a ‘review’.
Why is the Commissioner reviewing Welsh Government?
One of the Commissioner’s responsibilities is to make sure all children in Wales, wherever they’re taught, have access to their rights.
Children and families have very different reasons to choose home education and they have very different experiences of home education.
Children have a right to an education and that can be at home. Some children go to an independent school.
Being educated in those places doesn’t mean that children are not getting their rights. But we believe that some of the protections in law could be better.
What should be improved?
We think teachers in independent schools should be a part of a list called a ‘professional register’ that can take action if teachers break rules about looking after children. Teachers in other schools already have to be part of the professional register. In Wales this register is managed by a group called the ‘Education Workforce Council’.
We also want to see improvements to ensure we know that children that are learning at home are getting their full right to an education.
Welsh Government agreed to some of our improvements, but have decided they cannot make the changes needed now. We are going to review how they reached the decision not to make these changes.
What does a review look like?
The Children’s Commissioner and her team will ask to see Welsh Government papers about the decisions made over the years on these issues. This will include the recent decision to not make improvements.
We will then decide if the Welsh Government has fully considered the impact on children’s human rights.
If we think the Government hasn’t fully considered children’s human rights, we will say what we think Welsh Government should do next.
What if I’m worried or concerned?
If you have any worries or concerns about your rights, please get in touch with us. We have a free and confidential advice service. If you’re worried about anything else, there’s lots of help available from people like ChildLine and Meic.