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

Further supplementary memorandum from the Department for Children, Schools and Families

1.  Some local authority officers claim that they do know of the majority of home educated children in their area, who they identify through, for example, health records, "rising age five" lists and secondary school applications/admissions. Is it the Department's view that, if implemented across all local authorities, such arrangements could suffice for the purpose of identifying home educated children?

  This may be the case in small LAs with a stable population and few flows of pupils across LA boundaries. This is definitely not the case for authorities with a mobile population, where risks are greatest, nor for those where the population is likely to register with schools and doctors outside the LA area—particularly in London and other large metropolitan areas. Almost all LA responses to the public consultation exercise showed that LAs supported a registration system because they did not have reliable information about those children living in their area.

2.  Does ContactPoint provide a record of all children in a local authority area and their place of education, either directly or by default? What steps would need to be taken to enable ContactPoint to serve as a register for home educated children?

  ContactPoint contains basic information on all children in England, including name and contact details for their educational setting. Schools have a duty to provide this information. In the case of maintained schools, it is provided automatically through the national data collection. LAs will accordingly be able to run a "children missing education" report and can investigate cases where there is no education setting recorded. It would be more efficient and effective for home educators to tell LAs they were home educating their children than for LAs to approach families with no known education setting on the basis that their children may be missing education. The latter approach would probably be more costly than a system of registration. Registration would also help to ensure that there were no delays in LAs becoming aware of home educating families who moved from one local authority to another or who decided to adopt home education at the point that their child would otherwise have entered or changed school.

3.  Are the proposals in the Children, Schools and Families Bill relating to the monitoring of home educated children dependent on a new system of registration, or could ContactPoint or other existing databases serve that purpose?

  Home Education registration involves more than just providing a name and address. In particular, it will require home educating families to provide information about their approach to home education, and for records to be kept of monitoring arrangements. ContactPoint does not hold any case information.

November 2009

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Prepared 16 December 2009