Children’s Commissioner report on elective home education
Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said:
“We are pleased to see a continued focus on this important topic. Every child has the right to a suitable standard of education and missing out on this harms their development and their life chances. We absolutely recognise that parents have the right to educate their children at home. Where they do, we want it to be a positive experience which equips children with the skills to thrive and realise their ambitions. Concerns arise when the learning experience does not meet children’s needs, when home education is used as a means to illegally exclude children with special educational or behavioural needs or when parents use home education as a cover to send their children to illegal schools, for example. There is a clear need for strengthened legislation in this area – it is not good enough that we have no way of knowing whether an increasing number of children are receiving a suitable education at home or not or whether they are safe.
“The report draws on the findings of an ADCS survey which found up to 80,000 children were home educated at some point in the last academic year and rightly draws attention to off rolling and exclusions. We hope that it informs government’s thinking in light of recent consultations on its national guidance and the review of exclusions. We need bold, decisive action from the DfE that deals with the causes not just the symptoms of these issues if we are to prevent children falling through the gaps in the education system.”