Laura Sharman 24 November 2021

Directors report rise in the number of children receiving home education

Directors report rise in the number of children receiving home education image

The number of children being home schooled has increased by 7% in the past year, according to new research.

Figures published by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) shows 81,196 children and young people were known to be electively home educated on school census day.

An estimated 115,542 children and young people were home schooled at any point during the 2020/21 academic year, a 34% increase from 2019/20.

Gail Tolley, chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said: 'For six years now, we have seen year on year increases in the number of children being educated at home. This report highlights just how much of an impact the pandemic and the closure of some schools has had on this number, with parental concern about the pandemic cited as the most common reason why children became electively home educated in 2020/21.

'Local authorities have a duty to ensure that children being educated at home are safe and receiving a good education, yet we do not have a role in assurance of this nor is there adequate guidance on what a suitable education looks like. ADCS is concerned that without powers to see both the child and their place of learning, we cannot know that these children are receiving a suitable education in a safe and appropriate learning environment.'

ADCS is calling on the Government to establish a mandatory register of all electively home educated children with a fully funded duty on the local authority to visit the child to assess the suitability of the education provided.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, added: 'While parents, carers, councils and schools all have responsibilities to ensure that children receive suitable education, some significant gaps in legislation mean that it is possible for children to slip through the net and be exposed to serious risks by not being in full-time education.

'To tackle these issues, councils need powers to enter the homes of, or otherwise see, children in order to establish whether they are receiving a suitable education. The Government should bring forward its plans to introduce a register for all home educators to ensure that adequate safeguarding measures are in place.'

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