Reply re Freedom Of Information Request- Suitable Education
We currently have 64 children registered as Elective Home Education, the number you quote included those who have come to the end of the period for compulsory education and came off the register on the last Friday in June.
A `suitable' education is being provided in most cases
Where there are concerns these are usually as a result of not having met with the children and in one case, where the visiting person has not met with the family but has received evidence of work undertaken. It is not for the visiting officer to judge the `philosophy' of the education provision and under current guidelines there is no guide as to what constitutes `learning enough'. Under current guidelines a home educating family does not have to implement a `structured approach' nor do they have to follow the National Curriculum. These issues are not in themselves reasons for concern but would lead to closer monitoring to determine that what is being provided is suitable to the age, aptitude and ability of the child involved.
If it was considered that a `suitable' education was not being provided then recommendations would be made to the family to ameliorate provision and a period of time to implement. If after this time the provision was still deemed not suitable then further action would be taken which could include a School Attendance Order.
There are no Education Supervision Orders currently in court.
Cases would only be referred to Social Services if there were concerns regarding the child's safety and welfare and particularly if the child had not been seen.
F) We are a Children and Young Peoples' Department which incorporates the duties both for Elective Home Education support and Safeguarding, information is effectively and proactively shared across the Department to ensure compliance with the Every Child Matters Agenda and statutory Safeguarding responsibilities.
RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST- SUITABLE EDUCATION
Efforts are made to encourage the child to be present at the visit; in some cases it is the parents' wish that the child is not present.
There could be concern if the child has not been present at more than one visit and the provision, as outlined by the parents, may call for some improvement.
Providing written evidence cannot in itself provide evidence of a `suitable education' as education is a holistic process, therefore if there is no face to face contact with any family members, this could be a concern.
The venue for the meeting has very little bearing on whether there would be concerns raised, rather the reasoning behind the reluctance to accept a visit at home, although that is the family's right.
Each case is unique and is worked on the basis of the welfare, safety and best interests of the child concerned. The focus is on the provision of opportunities to give the child in question the skills necessary to achieve success in the future in whatever form that may be.
RE: Freedom of Information request- EHE department- Suitable Education.
In the absence of any guidance as to what constitutes a `suitable' education, the information is, therefore, based on the number of families who have to be visited more than once in a twelve month period.
Of our 63 electively home educated pupils 15 have received further follow up visits as a result of concerns regarding quality and appropriateness of provision.
If a parent decides not to accept a home visit this in itself is not a cause for concern. An alternative venue is offered and in most cases this is taken up. In the cases where parents do not wish to engage, the offer to submit evidence of the child's learning is made; this has been accepted in most cases. However, attempts are still made to engage the parents as a suitable provision is more than written work produced. The submission of a plan of education by the parents is not sufficient evidence of a suitable provision and further attempts would be made to engage with the family.