Additional memorandum submitted by Michael Crawshaw (CS 29)
The author is a financial analyst and management consultant. He was formerly a Head of Research for Citigroup. He and his wife Carolyn have home educated for over ten years. They have five children.
Summary: Graham Badman said, "There is certainly clear evidence from a substantial number of authorities that there is a much higher likelihood of young people who are home educated to be NEETS." There is no basis for that assertion. The data set taken from Local Authorities is unreliable. There is a misclassification problem where sixteen year old children still in home education become registered NEET by default. The picture may also be complicated by the GRT population, a seasonality bias and a selection bias.
1. Local authority data set on EHE NEETS is unreliable
Under FOI requests made by
Each year, after the school leaving date, those EHE children who are still being home educated (perhaps re-taking exams or taking further GCSEs or perhaps now studying for A Levels) are no longer classified as Home Educated. They become re-classified now as NEET and formerly EHE.
3. Possible seasonality
Some people have suggested that there is also a seasonality effect. The national NEET figure of 5.2% apparently comes from Statistical First Release data for sixteen to eighteen year olds collected in June. I'm aware that Graham Badman stated that in fact his figures reflected an autumn survey of school leavers but there would appear to still be some confusion on this. It does seem clear though that the Connexions data (often, though not always) used by LAs for EHE children is collected in autumn when some EHE children are NEET simply because they are awaiting placements that start in October.
It might be useful to look at the Connexions data for school leavers to see if it contains a seasonal spike. Unfortunately I am not in a position to do this.
4. Possible selection bias
Others have suggested that many EHE children would only bother to register with Connexions if they had a problem which they thought Connexions might fix. In particular this might include disability/special needs where the child might find it more difficult to get a job or a college place. So in comparison to the school population, where everyone routinely registers, the registrations for EHE children on Connexions are more likely to be children who are struggling to find further education or jobs and as a result this sample is likely to contain a higher ratio of NEETs.
5. Possible GRT distortion
The GRT issue complicates matters further as many of their young people do not have conventional employment profiles and they may be recorded as NEET although they may be earning a living in their traditional ways.
Table 1: LA responses demonstrating unreliable EHE NEET statistics.