Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 4:18 pm, 11th January 2010

I understand my hon. Friend's point. It is really important to get that right in training and guidance. A local authority currently, before the Bill becomes an Act, has a right in law to see a child if it fears that there is a child well-being, safety or child protection issue. That right already exists, including for home-educated children. The issue is whether they are being educated and whether they are learning. There is no right in the Bill for a local authority to go in, demand a visit and see children on their own. The vast majority of parents would be happy to let that happen, but if they choose not to do so, that is a choice for them. The local authority then has an obligation to ensure that those children are safe and are learning, and consequences will then follow from that. But the right to go in and demand a meeting will not exist for education purposes under the Bill.

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