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 S Tyler, Local Authorities supplied data on NEETS. These authorities all also supplied data (presumably the same data) to Graham Badman in his call for further evidence in September. It is clear from the data and some of the accompanying comments that in these cases the data is suspect or guesswork. There were other questionable responses but the examples in Table 1 (below) are the clearest.

2. Misclassification

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.

Local Authority

No. EHE leavers NEET

Total No. EHE leavers

Comments made by local authority - (copied as written)

Bolton

5*

17

*May not be NEET - destination unknown.

Central Beds.

5*

17

*Please note that this figure is estimated since no accurate up to date figures for EHE NEET was given by Connexion Services

Cumbria

7

44

The number of NEETs were calculated from the last visit/report and is not entirely accurate as some youngsters may have belatedly accepted or declined college places.

Cambridgeshire

3 actual, 18 unknown

32

(Author's question- which NEET figure was used (3 or 18?))

Lewisham

4

17

These are not data formally collected but is an estimate from knowledge of them during Y11.

Manchester

Fewer than 10

22

The EHE category in 2008 was determined on the basis of how young people described their previous educational experience...(full comment noted below). (Author's question- what does this mean and was a figure of 10 used to represent 'fewer than 10'?)

Rotherham

7

11

We are unable to calculate the percentage of children who were EHE and who are now NEET. The NEET figure is currently being updated on a daily basis.

Southampton

unknown

11

The number of EHE does not match the exact number that SCC have as Connexions were not given this information directly, it was normally gathered throughout the year when contact was made with the young person. They saw 7 children during the year but we had 11 on the system. The % answer is based on the 7 seen.

Sunderland

7*

15

*6 Currently awaiting placements and are involved with Connexions - 1 leaver no response

Note: Manchester continues... Some of these may not have been known to the LA ie not home educated according to the LA register. From 2009 leavers a coordinated transfer of Y10 and 11 pupils on the LA EHE register is made between the CME officer for the LA and connexions lead. This would still not identify young people that are EHE but not known to the LA. Fewer than 10 NEET Seeking. Fewer than 10 Illness. Fewer than 10 Voluntary/Personal Development Opportunity. This figure does represent 36% of the overall cohort

January 2010