Ellie Ames 15 May 2024

Safeguarding panel calls for register of home-educated children

Safeguarding panel calls for register of home-educated children image
Image: Littlekidmoment / Shutterstock.com

An expert child safeguarding panel has joined calls for a statutory register of children who are electively home educated.

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel looked at 27 incidents involving 41 children whose parents had chosen to educate them at home and who were subjected to sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect in 2020 and 2021.

Six of the children died as a result, including three who took their own lives.

The panel stressed that home education was not in itself a safeguarding risk but said vulnerable children who are educated at home are less visible to safeguarding agencies.

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and England’s children’s commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza, have also called for a statutory register of children not in school.

The chair of the ADCS education policy committee, Heather Sandy, said: ‘Education is a fundamental right for all children and we recognise that parents have the right to educate their children at home.

‘However, local authorities must be given the powers to match their responsibilities to assure themselves that children are safe and receiving a good education.’

Dame de Souza said: ‘No child with a social worker whose home is a risk to their safety should be allowed to be home educated.

‘Being in school acts as an additional protective measure, helping them build positive, stable relationships with staff and to be seen regularly by safeguarding professionals.’

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