Comment on EHE

Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee said:

“We recognise that legally parents have the right to choose to educate their child at home. Where they do, we want this to be a positive experience which equips children with the skills to realise their ambitions and we want to work with parents to achieve this. Equally important is a child’s right to a good education. Local authorities have a duty to establish whether a suitable education is being provided, yet we do not have a role in assurance of this nor is there adequate guidance for parents on what a suitable education looks like. ADCS is concerned that without powers to see both the child and their place of learning, we cannot know that these children are receiving a suitable education in a safe and appropriate learning environment. We are therefore calling on government to establish a mandatory register of all electively home educated children with a fully funded duty on the local authority to visit the child at least annually to assess the suitability of the education provided. We can only support children’s education and safeguard the children who are known to us. Without a mandatory register there is no way of knowing the full extent of this cohort, especially when a family moves to a new area.

“We know that the number of parents electing to home educate has been increasing significantly, year-on-year, even before the pandemic struck. This has been a concern that the Association has raised with government for some time. ADCS research conducted in October 2020 evidenced a worrying spike in the number of children and young people becoming electively home educated during the month of September alone when schools fully re-opened last year. We are aware that this trend has continued in many areas as more parents have decided to formally remove their children from the school roll, largely due to concerns over the pandemic. It is vital we know that all of these children are receiving a good education in a safe environment. We urge the government to respond to the ‘children not in school’ consultation as quickly as possible to deliver the legislative changes that children both need and deserve.”

ENDS



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