ADCS EHE Survey 2019 : Press Release
ADCS elective home education survey 2019
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) recently surveyed local authorities in England for the fourth consecutive year to gather a snapshot of the cohort of children and young people that are being electively home educated (EHE). Over 85% of local authorities (132 LAs) responded to the survey, the highest ever response rate, using data from the first school census day of the current academic year, Thursday 3 October 2019.
Our analysis suggests that somewhere in the region of 78,800 children and young people were home educated at some point during the academic year 2018/19, up from 2017/18. We continue to see year on year increases in the known EHE cohort by an average of 20% since 2013.
As in 2018, the majority of respondents reported that over 80% of the known EHE cohort in 2019 had previously attended school. The top three reasons given by parents/carers for choosing to home educate were philosophical or lifestyle choice, health and emotional reasons and general dissatisfaction with the school. This year we asked respondents, for the first time, for numbers of children being home educated who returned to mainstream school, during the 2018/19 academic year. Across 121 responding local authorities over 10,800 children returned to mainstream school.
It is estimated that the number of children known to be home educated who were also known to children’s social care, both historic and current, is an average of 13%, up from 2018, with significant local variations.
Commenting on the findings, Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said:
“Every child has the right to a suitable standard of education, and we recognise that parents have the right to educate their children at home. Where they choose to do so we want children and parents to have a positive experience, one that equips them with the skills to thrive.
“In many situations children have a suitable and nurturing learning experience at home, however, we are worried that the decision to home educate can, at times, stem from a breakdown in the relationship with schools or be used as a cover by parents to send their children to illegal schools, rather than being a well-informed, considered decision based on the child’s wishes.
“Our survey shows that the numbers of children being educated at home continues to increase year on year – this is only the children that we know about, the actual number is likely to be higher. It is simply not good enough that we have no way of knowing whether all children and young people being educated at home are safe, receiving a suitable education and that their health and social development needs are being met. At the most basic level we need to know how many children and young people are being home educated in this country. We still await the outcome of the Department for Education’s consultation on this topic. Local authorities want to engage with and support parents who opt to educate their child at home but any new duty to do so must be fully funded by central government.
“The next government must put children at the heart of its thinking and strengthen legislation in this area to ensure that any risks to children’s safety and outcomes are minimised.”
The report can be found here.