submitted by Tania Berlow
Explanatory note 20
working paper below is a summary of local authority (LA)
information returned to the Badman Review team, but it has at this
point undergone limited quality assurance and does not meet DCSF
standards for publication of statistical data. The statement in para
8.12 in the Badman report `....the number of children known to children's
social care in some local authorities is disproportionately high
relative to the size of their home educating population...' is based on
the raw data returns from LAs, rather than directly from the
information contained in this working paper.
The working paper requested follows.
Independent Review of Home Education - safeguarding evidence
1. Total elective home education (EHE) population
children were registered EHE in the 90 LAs that responded to our
questionnaire. Approximately 35% were of primary age, 65% of secondary
Can therefore assume approximately 21,000 EHE children in the country.
These data relate to known, registered children
only. We know that to be an underestimate and therefore one could assume these
figures may be higher.
First questionnaire - All top tier LAs were sent the LA
questionnaire (n=150). 90 responses were received (response rate of
60%). A further 13 LAs responded to the public call for evidence
questionnaire. 47 LAs did not respond.
Second questionnaire - sent to the 90 LAs who responded to the first
questionnaire; 25 responded (28% response rate).
NB: Not all LAs answered all the questions asked, therefore the
base numbers mentioned in this note differ. One cannot assume missing
data means nil (i.e. no children).
Key Safeguarding Facts
3. Serious Case reviews
Notified of four SCRs (see Annex A for details) which had an home education
element (NB: not including Birmingham).
Two reviews recommended that procedures for monitoring and supporting
all home educated children should be strengthened. The other two
recommended that procedures for monitoring and supporting home educated
children where there are welfare concerns, should be strengthened.
In addition, two cases of trafficked children who were said to be home
educated were notified (by Association of Chief Police Officers ACPO).
It was not clear from the information supplied whether the children
were registered EHE or not.
4. Cases of `cover' for abuse
This data was collected via the first questionnaire to all 150
LAs; 90 LAs responded (60% response rate).
NB: It is clear from further investigation of this data that not
all of these cases involved EHE being used as a `cover' for abuse etc,
but rather that the home educated child was known to social care in
some capacity e.g. referral, investigation, care order / child
54 LAs (60%) had one or more cases where there was some element of safeguarding
intervention (over the last five years).
In total, 72 cases were notified.
17 LAs (19%) stated categorically that they had no cases where EHE had
been used as a cover for abuse in the last five years. A further 5 said
they did not know if there were any such cases.
13 LAs did not respond to this question.
5. Known to social care
NB: this data is from the second questionnaire - 25 of the 90 LAs asked
responded (28% response rate).
The proportion of children known to social care
in the 25 LAs for which we have data varied widely - some had none, in
one LA, 55% of their EHE children is known to social care.
on the data we have from the 25 LAs, the average (median) proportion of
EHE children per LA known to social care is approximately 7%. We
estimate there are approximately 3% of children (5-16 years) known to
social care maintained schools.
Within the 25 LAs for which we have data, there were 477 registered
home educated children who were currently known to social care.
On average (median) 7 children per LA are known to social care.
to the national level (150 LAs), this means around 1350 home educated
children are known to social care in some capacity (6.75%).
13 LAs told us specifically about their EHE children who were subject
to a care plan (previously a child protection plan). Again, data varied
widely but 5 LAs had at least 4% of their case load subject to a care
6. Safeguarding `concerns'
We asked LAs to estimate the proportion of their caseload for
whom they had safeguarding concerns. However, it is not clear whether this data
is in addition to that notified in the previous section and
should not be presented as so.
data is less reliable as the `% known to social care' as it is
estimated. However, it does illustrate the nature and extent of the
issues LAs deal with within their caseloads.
Of the 14 LAs that provided an estimate, 9 had safeguarding concerns for 10% or
more of their EHE population.
7. Other data
7.1 Provision of Education
Most LAs struggled to provide specific information on the proportion of
their case loads that were, in their estimation, receiving a suitable,
full time education. Most said it was hard to quantify whether the
education was full time; others suggested they had difficulty with the
definition of suitable.
28% of the LAs that did respond said that 80-100% of their case loads
were receiving a suitable, full time education - 5 LAs said all of
their EHE children were receiving a full time, suitable education; a
further 20 said over 80% were. 6 LAs said it was 50% or under.
when asked in our second questionnaire, over half (12) of the 20 LAs
for whom we have data estimated that in 5% or more of their caseload,
there was no education provided
at all. Two LAs estimated there was no education provision in over 25%
of the children on their caseloads. Four LAs said that there was
education provided in all of their caseloads.
7.2 Avoiding prosecution for non-attendance
on the data we have from 21 LAs, on average (median) 6% of EHE children
per LA are using EHE as a way to avoid prosecution for non attendance
at school. Again, the proportions differed markedly (1-32%).
Serious Case Reviews - recommendations
1. Isle of Wight (older sibling
"The Local Education Authority should satisfy themselves that,
there are children in need /at risk with additional concerns who want
to be educated other than at school, a full assessment (e.g., CAF) is
undertaken, which would assess the appropriateness of the learning
environment and the possible risk factors that can impede a child's
ability to thrive and learn".
2. South Gloucestershire (young person's
to be given by the Department for Education and Skills to promoting
legislative review of sections of the 1996 Education Act relating to
elective home education, to give Local Education Authorities greater
powers to gain access to children to better assess the suitability of
education provided and more generally contribute to the safeguarding of
(young person dead for 4 months)
NB - SCR states categorically that
"complied with all statutory requirements in relation to children in
elective home education. She co-operated with visits from the London
Borough of Enfield Education Department in April and May 2005, and June
2006. The visiting officer had no concerns about the family or their
circumstances, and was satisfied with the programme of education
3.1 Conclusions from SCR
The government has recently completed a consultation exercise on elective home
education [DN: not sure which consultation this refers to (as the SCR is
undated!) but probably the CME guidance last year].
There is a minimal consideration of child protection issues in the
draft guidance, and features of this case illustrate that weakness. As
the home situation deteriorated, the fact that the children were not in
school limited their opportunities to seek assistance outside the
family. There was also a diminished opportunity for agencies to detect
and respond to that deteriorating situation.
case also flags up the issue that children educated at home do not have
access to school nursing services. These might detect children with
health problems, or children whose immunisations and health checks have
not been followed up.
Department for Children, Schools and Families should take account of
the issues arising from this Serious Case Review which relate to child
protection arrangements for children in elective home education, in
developing guidance in that area.
[London Borough of Enfield] Education Service should review current
arrangements for offering assistance to families who have chosen home
education, with a view to increasing frequency of contact, and direct
child contact, so as to maximise the opportunities for safeguarding
4. Gloucestershire (Spry)
"Mrs Spry controlled the
amount of contact that professionals could have with the five children.
She removed all of the children from school to be educated at home, as
permitted by law, which had the effect of preventing any day-to-day
external view of their care.
"Mrs Spry also either
rejected or consistently changed planned appointments that were
offered, making it difficult for all professionals coming into contact
with the family to establish a clear view of the home circumstances and
the care of the children".
"Education services did
nevertheless seek to maintain contact with the family on an annual
basis, to monitor their education at home, and their education and
situation appeared to be generally satisfactory. No child protection
concerns were noted".
"The GSCB should make appropriate representation to
Government to highlight the concern that there is currently no legal
process, which ensures that children, who are educated at home, are
regularly seen, and their progress monitored, by Educating Otherwise
Taking an average caseload per LA (139 children) multiplied by 150
25 LAs represents 17% of all LAs therefore important that
this evidence is not overstated.
Known to social care includes Section 17, 37 or 47 enquiries.
Proportions - we need to be careful about this and
not overstate. Large proportions don't necessarily mean large numbers -
it could be a few children in a small authority with few EHE children.
U sing 2005 data (the latest available), these are approximate
figures and include disabled children.
This includes parents with mental health, substance misuse
issues for example, domestic violence, child mental heath or other