A summary of responses to a Department of Education, Sport and Culture consultation which asked for people’s views on the policy principles behind a forthcoming Education Bill has been published.
The new law will replace the current Education Act 2001 and aims to reflect changes in education practice in the UK and elsewhere.
More than 530 responses were received to the consultation, which ran from 11 October to 22 November last year, the majority of which were supportive of the principles proposed by the Department.
Respondents agreed with the department that:
- Religious Education should be treated in the same way as any other curriculum subject
- pre-school education should be quality-assured
- a register of tutors and educational establishments should be created
- the Department should seek evidence from those who choose to home-educate on the standard of education being provided
Two issues attracted a marked split in opinion: fines for parents and catchment areas.
The Department proposes to extend powers to issue fines to parents whose children are out in a public place while suspended from school – 45% of respondents agreed, with 53.7% either against or unsure. The proposal is to be reconsidered following feedback received.
Meanwhile, 48 per cent were against insisting children attend schools in their catchment area, and 50 per cent were either for children attending catchment area schools or unsure. The Department’s response states it intends to retain the current policy that children must attend a catchment area school unless they meet specific exception criteria.
The summary document, which can be found on the consultation hub, provides a comprehensive statistical breakdown of the results of all 15 multiple choice questions, as well as responses to each from the DESC on how the information will be used when drafting the Bill.