The Review of Elective Home Education - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Graham Badman CBE

  At the Select Committee hearing on 12 October 2009 I offered to write to Graham Stuart about our child protection plan figures.

  Graham suggested that there were a large number of home educated children who were not known to local authorities (LAs). He was confident that none of these unidentified home educated children would be subject to a child protection plan (CPP) if they came to the attention of LAs, and he told the Committee that he believed that the number of unidentified home educators could equal the number of home educated children known to LAs. He thought that the combined effect of these estimates was that the number of home educated children with a CPP could be half my figure (0.4%), and therefore approximately equal to the proportion for the wider school-aged population (0.2%).

  I think it is misleading to produce figures based on speculation rather than firm evidence, and I disagree with Graham's assumption that everything is in order in every family who is not known to a local authority: I believe that we simply don't known enough to make any assumptions about these unknown children and their families. One could equally well assume (in the absence of evidence) that unregistered home educated children are more likely to be in need of additional safeguarding support. I think it is safer to stick to hard evidence, so I have based my conclusions on data supplied by a substantial sample of local authorities.

  I am grateful for the opportunity to clarify this issue for the Select Committee, and I attach further information about the data collected both during my review and subsequently.

  Finally, I wish to reiterate that I am not suggesting that there is a causal or determining relationship between home education and increased safeguarding risks. The numbers of children with child protection plans who are both school and home educated are very small. What is important is that children at risk are identified, and this needs local authorities to deploy appropriately trained and knowledgeable personnel across the range of their work with children and families.

October 2009




  1.  Two questionnaires were sent to local authorities (LAs) during the course of the Review (January-June 2009). The first questionnaire was sent in January 2009 to all 150 LAs and covered a wide range of issues relating to home education. The second of these (May 2009, see Annex A) collected safeguarding evidence including "known to social care" data and the number of children having a child protection plan. The second questionnaire was sent to the 90 LAs who responded to the first questionnaire. 25 LAs responded.

  1.1  LAs were asked to provide information on the number of home educated children who were "known to social care" as a result of safeguarding concerns in the following categories:

    — Section 17 enquiry (provision of services for children in need, their families and others);

    — Section 37 (care or supervision orders); and

    — Section 47 enquiry (reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm); and

    — Number of home educated children with CPPs.

  1.2  LAs were asked not to include children who were known to social care for any other reason, for example where the child was disabled and where there was no concern about parenting or quality of home education, nor cases that did not lead to further action (ie when an enquiry was closed without further intervention).

  1.3  The data showed that:

    — There was a large variation between LAs regarding the proportion of their home educated child population who were known to social care;

    — Some had no children while some had significant proportions, with an average of 7% across all the 25 LAs that responded to the survey;

    — This data underpinned my conclusion in section 8.12 of the report that "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";

    — The proportion of 5-16 year olds "known to social care" in the general population[77] is around 3% (this figure includes disabled children so we can assume the comparative figure for children known to social care in the categories we looked at, is lower than 3%). From this information we concluded that, in the basis of the limited sample available, the proportion of children "known to social care" in the home educating population is double that in the general population.


  2.  The initial data collection was drawn from a small sample of LAs, which is why I was cautious in drawing inferences from this sample for my report. Given the level of interest in the findings from the initial data collection, in September 2009 I invited all 152 local authorities[78] to provide further information on safeguarding and quality of education[79] (see Annex B) relating to their home educating and general child population. I asked them to provide information on CPPs, as these are put in place following a rigorous inter-agency assessment process. 74 local authorities responded.

  2.2  This data showed that:

    — 54 LAs reported that no registered home educated children were subject to a CPP. 20 LAs reported they had one or more children on a CPP, which amounted to 51 CPPs in total in these twenty local authorities. This equates to 0.4% of home educated children;

    — The percentage of children subject to a CPP in the wider school-aged population is 0.2%;

Data from 74 sample authorities
Number of child
protection plans
Children with child
protection plans

EHE children
All children

    — Therefore, we can say that the proportion of home educated children subject to a CPP is double that in the general population in the 74 LAs who provided information.

77   DCSF children in need census Back

78   Following Local Government restructuring in April 2009. Back

79   Two new local authorities had been created since the original survey in January 2009. Back

80   Mid Year Population 2009-The Office for National Statistics (ONS), includes 17 year olds as some CPPs cover 17 year olds Back

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