Comment: New DfE statistics on elective home education

Commenting on data published by the Department for Education on elective home education Heather Sandy, Chair of the ADCS Education Policy Committee, said:

“Every child has the right to a suitable education, and we recognise that parents have the right to educate their children at home. Where they choose to do this, we want it to be a positive experience. However, we know that for some children this is not the case, yet we lack the necessary powers to assure ourselves that these children are safe and receiving a suitable education. The number of children who are known to be electively home educated has been increasing significantly, year-on-year, even before the pandemic struck. We need more than just an estimate of how many children are being educated in this way to keep them safe and to ensure they receive the education they deserve.

“The publication of national level figures on the number of children being educated at home is a welcome first step by government towards better understanding this cohort but there is more to do. ADCS has long called for a register of children educated at home. Whilst a register in and of itself will not keep children safe, it will help to establish exactly how many children are being educated other than at school and to identify which children are vulnerable to harm. The Schools Bill, which carried the required legislation for a national register of all children not in school, has been dropped which is hugely concerning. The government must work at pace to introduce such a register. We can only safeguard and support the education of children who are known to us.”


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