Independent Review of Home Education in England
Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire about processes for supporting and monitoring home education. Completion of the questionnaire is entirely voluntary. Responses will be completely confidential and used only for the purposes of the independent review.
The Government is committed to ensuring that systems for keeping children safe are as robust as possible. As part of this continuing commitment, an independent review of home education will assess whether the right systems are in place for ensuring that home educated children have access to the five Every Child Matters outcomes. This includes whether Government should do more to support local authorities in discharging their duties in relation to home educated children. The full terms of reference for the review are available online at: www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/ete/homeeducation
As organisations responsible for ensuring the safety, wellbeing and education of children and young people in your localities, we very much value your input into this review.
You may find it helpful to read through the questionnaire before attempting to complete it. Please note you cannot save the questionnaire and go back to it at a later date. Therefore, if you need to discuss responses with colleagues before submitting the form, please do so before attempting to complete the questionnaire. Please also note that we ask that the Director of Children's Services and Lead Member for Children and Young People 'sign off' the questionnaire before it is submitted and you will be asked to confirm whether that has happened at the end of this questionnaire.
Thank you for taking time to respond to these questions.
About your local authority
Q1 Name of LA
Q2 Tel. No of main contact
Q3 E-mail of main contact
Q4 Would you be willing to take part in the next phase of the research in February/March (including in-depth interviews with key personnel in your organisation)?
Q5 Which team(s) have the main responsibility for supporting and monitoring home educated children within the local authority and other agencies?
School Improvement Team
Q6 List all teams / professionals involved in supporting home educating families
School Improvement Team
Special Educational Needs Team
Q7 List all teams / professionals involved in monitoring home educating families.
School Improvement Team
Special Educational Needs Team
Q8 Describe how you ensure collaboration and communication between these teams / individuals
Attendance Team leads and there are named individuals in each of the teams mentioned who have responsibity for working with Elective Home Educating families
Data and Tracking
Q9 How many children are currently home educated in your local authority of primary age (Registered with LA)
Q10 How many children are currently home educated in your local authority of primary age (Non-registered with LA)
Q11 How many children are currently home educated in your local authority of secondary age (Registered with LA)
Q12 How many children are currently home educated in your local authority of secondary age (Non-registered with LA)
Q13 Total (Registered with LA)
Q14 Total (Non-registered with LA)
Q15 Are these figures accurate or based on estimates?
Q16 If accurate, where do you get this data from?
Where pupils have been registered in a local maintained school the LA is informed of the parent's decision to home educate by the School. Where pupils have not been previously registered in a LA maintained school, parents have informed the LA that they are Home Educating their child/ren
Q17 If accurate, how do you know the data is accurate?
As parents do not have to inform the LA, if their child has not previously been registered with a maintained school - there may well be children living within the LA that we are unaware of, therefore our database is only as accurate as the information we have received
Q18 If estimated, what data have you used to arrive at this figure? (List all sources)
Q19 How confident is the local authority in the accuracy of this data?
Q20 How often does the local authority get updated data? (List frequency for each source separately)
Database is updated as soon as information is received from maintained and private sector schools of the parent's decision to home educate
Q21 What proportion (as a percentage) of your home educated population is statemented for SEN? (please state whether accurate or estimate)
Q22 What proportion (as a percentage) of your home educated population is non-statemented for SEN (please state whether accurate or estimate)
Q23 What proportion (as a percentage) of your home educated population is from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritage (please state whether accurate or estimate)
Q24 What proportion (as a percentage) of your home educated population is made up of other Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups
Q25 Please list which BME groups.
Q26 Do you believe the local authority knows about all the home educated children in your area?
We think we know about the vast majority of home educated children in the area
Q27 Do you think that you will be better able to track children in your area in the near future? e.g. planned changes to your own systems, ContactPoint, other system improvements?
Q28 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
ContactPoint will probably assist the LA in identifying children who have not being presented for admission to school.
Supporting Home Educating Families
Q29 How does the local authority ensure families know about their rights and responsibilities in relation to home education? (List all approaches used)
Initial Contact letter with contact details
Informal visits at 2 and 8 weeks to assist parents
Contact numbers of local network organisers and national network
Q30 What support does your local authority provide to home educating families? (List all forms of support offered)
Initial visits to discuss programmes and offer support and advice, which includes lists of the web, based learning resources that are available to parents.
Advice support and guidance on curriculum issues including examination opportunities is provided by the School Improvement Officer
Opportunity given to home educating parents to access the free training that is offered to school based Teaching Assistants (eg KS2 Science)
Q31 How does the local authority let families know about the services provided to support them in home educating their children? (List all approaches used)
Initial and follow up home visits.
Assessment and Monitoring
Q32 Following the initial assessment visit, are further monitoring visits made to a home educated child?
Q33 If yes, how often, on average, are these carried out?
Once a year
Q34 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
The frequency of contact will depend on the outcome of the initial home visits. Where there are identified concerns raised in the initial stages, the contact will be more frequent to support the parents in addressing the concerns.
Q35 On average, how often is the child seen when a visit is made?
Usually, but not always
Q36 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
On occasions when the child is not present during a home visit the parent gives a plausible reason for this. There are also occasions when the parents have not brought children along with them to the agreed meeting and this has been at the child's request.
Q37 If the child is seen, where is s/he usually seen?
In the home
Q38 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
Following the initial visits - parents are requested to decide where they would like future contact to take place. Most parents opt to meet with the LA Officers in their home or a LA venue and in the majority of cases the child is present. A small minority of parents submit a report giving the LA an update of their provision rather than attend a meeting.
Q39 If you are not permitted access to a child, is any further action taken?
No - unless there are specific concerns
Q40 If yes, what further steps are taken?
Q41 How is the suitability of the education provided to the child assessed?
Initial assessments are carried out to establish the early plans parents have, re home educating. A further visit is arranged, where more definite information is requested using a checklist of questions. Periodic meetings are arranged to elicit further information. Regularity of the meetings is determined by whether there are any concerns
Q42 Is the local authority clear about what the definition of a 'suitable education' is?
Q43 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
The education provided by the parents will equip the child for life within the community and will not restrict the child's future options.
Q44 Does the local authority have systems in place to track the educational progress of home educated children?
Q45 Please use this space to add further detail to the answer you have just given
Yearly or more frequent meetings are arranged (depending of level of concern) where the School Improvement Officer discusses approaches that are used and parents are encouraged to provide/share information regarding their progress and the work that they have done. This may be in the form of a variety of sources i.e. written work, photographs and discussions with the child and parent.
Q46 Of the home educated children in your area of whom you have knowledge, what proportion (as a percentage) in your estimation is receiving a suitable, full time (20hrs a week) education? (Please describe)
76% of the children that we are involved with are receiving a suitable education and the parents are actively involved in their education.
4% are receiving additional support
20% are Y11 pupils whose parents have recently requested their removal from roll
Q47 Does the local authority take any further steps if a home educated child's education was found to be unsuitable or not full time?
Q48 Please use this space to add further detail to the answer you have just given
Parents are offered advice support and guidance to assist them in providing a suitable education. They are also encouraged to link with other home educating families and to become involved in the local and national home educator's network.
If following this support the provision does not improve the parents will be encourage to look towards returning their child to school. If the parent does not return the child to school we would utilise our legal powers and seek an Attendance Order. Last Academic year following concerns raised by the School Improvement Officer three children were returned to school without the need to use legal powers. The Parents were aware that they were not providing their children with a suitable education.
Q49 Does the local authority face any challenges in assessing whether home educated children receive a suitable education?
Q50 If you answered yes to Q49, please describe the challenges and what you think could be done to overcome these
As there are such a wide variety of approaches that parents can use to educate their children it can sometimes be difficult to establish whether the particular approach is helping their children to learn.
Q51 Thinking about your local area, in the last five years, how many cases have you come across that use the premise of home education as a 'cover' for child abuse, forced marriage or other aspects of child neglect?
Q52 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given. Please include the number of Serious Case Reviews you know about that have a home education element.
Q53 Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate?
Q54 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
There should be a duty placed on parents whose children have not been registered in a maintained school, to inform the LA in which they live of their intention to educate their child at home.
This duty should also include a requirement that the LA is informed of any change in circumstances ie change of address.
55 Do you think that home educated children in your local authority are able to achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes? Please say why you think that for each of the five outcomes.
Yes home educated children are likely to be able to achieve the five ECM outcomes.
Be Healthy - Experience of working with families indicates that many parents have found there to be improvements in their children's mental and emotional since they have become home educated. Home educating parents are more likely to be involved in organised physical activities with their children.
Stay Safe - Family links seem to be stronger and there is no evidence to suggest that children who are home educated are at greater risk of being bullied or of being involved in anti-social behaviour. Parents appear to have be aware of what their children are up and involved in.
Enjoy & Achieve - Home educated children speak more positively about their learning experiences and younger siblings appear to learn basic education skills at an earlier age. Older children tend to be more independent learners and more actively involved in their own educational development.
Positive Contribution - Home educated children are involved in the local home education network and actively engage with other children in the same position as themselves. Parents comment on the improvement in their children's emotional health and how they see themselves within the wider community.
Achieve Economic Well-being - A large proportion of our Home educated children go on to achieve qualifications and move on to further education.
Q56 Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families?
Q57 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
Possible financial support particularly when taking GCSE's.
Also some Regionally based training for LA officers involved in Elective Home Education to share good practice and have an opportunity to discuss issues further.
Q58 Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families and ensuring that home educated children are able to achieve the five outcomes?
Q59 Please use this space to add detail to the answer you have just given
Greater clarification on and a broader range of sanctions made available to LA's when issues of concern are raised.
That the LA has a duty to see a child when contact is made with the parents.
A minimum level of contact must be maintained with the LA as a pre-requisite when electing to home educate children
Q60 Has the Director of Children's Services and the Lead Member for Children and Young People seen and agreed with the answers you have given above?
Yes Lead member