To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the figures published by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services on 23 November 2020 which show that 19,510 children have been removed from school registers since the start of the 2020/21 academic year; what steps they are taking to identify those children; and what assessment they have made of whether those children are (1) being educated from home, and (2) at risk of abuse.
8 June 2021
We support the right of parents to educate their children at home – most will educate their children well, sometimes in challenging circumstances. However, we cannot overlook the rising numbers of home-educated children. For some, home education can mean that children are not provided a suitable education or that they are invisible to the services and professionals there to keep them safe and supported.
The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authorities’ safeguarding duties set out in the Children Act 1989. A failure to provide suitable home education could constitute a safeguarding risk, because unsuitable or inadequate education can also impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.
The government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.
We remain committed to a registration system for children who are not in school. Further details on a proposed registration system will be in the government response to the Children Not in School consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.