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EHE Survey 2021 - Press Release

Elective home education survey 2021

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) recently surveyed local authorities in England for the sixth consecutive year to gather a snapshot of the cohort of children and young people that is being electively home educated (EHE). 83% of local authorities (126) responded to the survey using data from the first school census day of the current academic year, Thursday 7 October 2021. The survey also sought to understand the impact of Covid-19 and the associated partial closure of schools on this cohort during the 2020/21 academic year.

Our analysis suggests that on school census day 81,196 children and young people were known to be electively home educated. This marks a 7% increase from the same school census day in 2020.

Our analysis also found that during the 2020/21 academic year an estimated 115,542 children and young people were known to be electively home educated at any point during the academic year, a 34% increase from the 2019/20 academic year.

The most common reason cited by parents or carers for electing to home educate their child was health concerns related directly to Covid-19. Further, local authorities reported anxiety and mental health needs of children and young people being a more common factor in parental decisions to educate their child at home.

Commenting on the findings, Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement 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 so we want this to be a positive experience for everyone involved.

“For six years now, we have seen year on year increases in the number of children being educated at home. This report highlights just how much of an impact the pandemic and the closure of some schools has had on this number, with parental concern about the pandemic cited as the most common reason why children became electively home educated in 2020/21.

“Local authorities have a duty to ensure that children being educated at home are safe and receiving a good education, yet we do not have a role in assurance of this nor is there adequate guidance 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 a minimum 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.

“We still await the outcome of the Department for Education’s consultation in 2019 that proposed new duties on local authorities including a national register of all EHE children and young people and a duty for local authorities to support parents who educate their child at home. If implemented, this must be fully funded to reflect the increasing size of this cohort so that we have the means to provide the oversight these children and young people deserve.”


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