Thursday, August 27, 2009

Children Missing Education Conference

This is one of the reasons why education law should be re-written. Honestly, with all those people employed by the state to ensure that a child isn't missing an education, you would have thought that it wasn't in a person's best interests to ensure that they develop useful theories!

When it comes to legal reform, we aren't just talking about s436a from the 2006 Education and Inspections Act. It has to start with s7 of the 1996 Education Act and include s437 with it too.
The epistemology and ethical constructs underpinning these sections of legislation are so woefully wrong that it isn't much of a surprise that they result in such wayward law.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Heads-Up - University Admissions Tutors

Three home educated teens talk about going on into further education.

Summary of Responses to the Six Question Questionnaire

...can be found on Maire's blog.

As she says, these results are "gobsmackingly unrepresented in the Review Report."

Roland Meighan

This blog post from 2008, containing a letter from Roland Meighan, seems all the more pertinent now that the government seem quite determined to mandate all educational provision as evidenced in their acceptance of Badman's proposals.

Might be worth quoting in our Select Committee responses.

The New Scientist on Over-reactions to Risk

...here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dani's Follow-Up Letter

Apologies for the unanticipated cessation of activity here. Despite best intentions, a couple of laptops and sundry Iphones, we couldn't get a reliable internet connection on that rather remote and extremely beautiful Portuguese hillside. Even the local internet cafe had a "sorry - no connection" sign posted on the door.

Actually though, it was useful to have a break as it gave me a chance to process it all. It might have been the Casal Mendes, and I will need to think more level-headedly about the epiphanies on the hillside and expose them to some more rigorous criticism on lists, but I do think I have got a better picture of what to do next in response to the Badman review - more of which later but in the meantime, should you have missed it, there is an excellent letter from Dani here.

Education Otherwise on You Tube

An overview of HE here.

An interview with Alan Thomas here.

An interview with Lord Lucas here.

A response to the Badman Review here.

Letter from Liberty

"Thank you for your email raising your concerns over the recommendations in the Badman Report. Apologies in the delay in getting back to you but we have been extremely busy.

Liberty is aware of the Review and the recommendations contained within it. We are concerned about Recommendation 7, which suggests that designated local authority officers should have a right of access to the home. The Report contains little explanation of what these home visits
will actually entail and why such an intrusive power is necessary. A right of access to the home engages Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 - the right to respect for family and private life. Interference with the right to privacy will only be justified if it can be shown to be necessary and proportionate in all the circumstances.

We await the Government's full response to the Badman Report which will be published in September. Any power of access to the home must be tightly regulated and a full explanation as to the power's necessity should be given.

The Draft Legislative Programme for 2009/10 included the Improving Schools and Safeguarding Children Bill. This will contain provisions for the monitoring of home educated children. If, when this Bill is introduced in Parliament, it includes the recommendation put forward in the Badman Report for local authority officials to have access to the home, we will be lobbying Parliamentarians on this and our briefings will be available on our website."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Brighton Argus

...gives autonomous educators a voice.

More bubble events would seem like an extremely good idea too.

Friday, August 07, 2009

List of LAs who did not respond to Badman's call for evidence

Barnet
Barnsley
Bath & NE Somerset
Bolton
Bournemouth
Bradford
Brstol (city of)
Bromley
Bucksingahmshire
Bury
Calderdale BC
Camden
Central Bedford
(Not sure about Chesire set up - I assume it split?)
City of London
Croydon
Doncaster
Ealing
Essex
Greenwich
Hackney
Harrow
Havering
Herefordshire
Hillingdon
Hounslow
Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kirklees
Lambeth
Luton
Milton Keynes
Newham
Nort East Lincs
North Lincs
North Somerset
North Tyneside
Nottingham
Peterborough
Plymouth
Redcar & Cleveland
Richmond upon Thames
Rochdale
Rotherham
Sheffield
Slough
S Tyneside
Southend on Sea
Southwark
St Helens
Stoke on Trent
Surrey
Swindon?? (one of the 25)
Telford & Wrekin
Thurrock
Torbay
Trafford???? eh
Wakefield
Walsall
Waltham Forest
West Berks??? (one of the 25)
Wigan
Wirral

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Calling a Halt to the Consultation and the Safeguarding Bill

Following discussion mostly on a local list, it has been decided that home educators should rightfully ask MPs and the CSF Committee to call a halt to the Consultation - Home Education - Registration and Monitoring Proposals and to the writing of legislation to "improve monitoring arrangements for children educated at home".

Please do join in and write to your MP, and/or to the CSF Committee.

Below is a suggested letter to the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee (email: for Barry Sheerman: sheermanb@parliament.uk) to be adapted for MP’s etc. Please feel free to change, delete, personalise or whatever.

(If writing to the CSF Committee, please clearly state as a title that this is not a submission to the enquiry but an urgent request)

=============================================

Dear MP/Mr. Sheerman, ( Chairman of CSF Committee),

We are requesting that as there is now a CSF Select Committee Inquiry (1) into the Review of Elective Home Education in England by Graham Badman (2), that it would be just and proper that the Consultation, Home Education - Registration and Monitoring Proposals (3) which has followed on the back of the Review be halted until the inquiry findings are made public.

We also ask that the move to write the legislation for “improving monitoring arrangements for children educated at home” as mentioned in Draft Legislative Programme in the Improving Schools and Safeguarding Children Bill (4) be halted, pending the results of the inquiry and pending proper consultation.

We are concerned at the contravening of Criterion 1 of the BERR Code of Practice on consultations (5) which states that consultations must be undertaken when there is time for the consultation result to influence policy outcome.

As a section on improving monitoring for home educators has already been incorporated in the Improving Schools and Safeguarding Children Bill to be included in the Queen’s speech for November, this would strongly suggest that Criterion 1 of the BERR's Code of Practice has not been adhered to. The review recommendations have only recently been published and the current consultation has only recently started. Further, we have heard that the results of the current consultation are not due to be made public until January 2010. Given that questions that are being asked in the current consultation cover the issues that are already being legislated for, it begs the question of the purpose of the current consultation.

There have been many other issues raised regarding the legitimacy of the Review and the related consultation. For example:

- the use of incorrect statistics on the rate of child abuse in the home education community
- other questionable evidence relating child abuse to home education
- a faulty analysis of legal rights, legal duties and civil liberties.

We are not aware of any other group in the population who are subjected to home visits by the state without the requirement of a search warrant (police), or a court order and presence of police officers (social services). These recommendations would allow the child to be seen on their own or with another person who may be a stranger to the child. Many of these children have come out of school because they were being abused by other children at school (bullying) or because they have specific learning difficulties which were not or could not be dealt with in the school environment. Are schools and school children to be interrogated in the same draconian way? We sincerely hope not!

We are also very concerned about the precedent that these recommendations would create in taking responsibility for children away from their parents and transferring it to the state with all the implications this has for every other child in Britain. The state itself would incur heavy costs and be legally liable for the education and welfare of all home educated children. At the present time education is the responsibility of parents. See the DirectGov Site on Parental Responsibilities (6) for the government's own definition of ‘parental responsibility’, one of which is “choosing and providing for the child's education”.

Further, we fear that there will be conflict between different sections of legislation (both national law - s7 and s9 of the Education Act 1996 (7) and the European Human Rights legislation (8), particularly the right to privacy) and that there is a significant problem with the requirement that legislation be proportionate (9). This will only result in further confusion between Local Authorities and Home Educators.

At the present time we feel that Local Authorities have adequate powers to intervene if they have welfare concerns over a child (the 1989 (10) and 2004 Children Acts (11) ) and also if they have concerns over the suitability of a child’s education (1996 Education Act s437 (7)). Indeed Mr Badman quoted Her Majesty's Chief Inspectorate (HMCI) as saying that many LAs do manage child protection for home educators robustly whilst other LAs fail to do so. (See Section 8 on Safeguarding: (2)).

Given that some LAs do manage well with the current legislative framework, surely the question should rather be why are some LAs perceived to be failing?

This issue is all the more pertinent since the proposed changes in legislation pose such significant problems. Significant amongst these is questionable use of resources: the review's recommendations would not represent good value for money since the close monitoring of thousands of perfectly well-functioning families would not result in significant benefits, may well be harmful to families as a result of the removal of civil liberties, and will divert funds and personnel from genuinely needy families.

If the inquiry is to take seriously the questions raised about Mr Badman's report, then there must be a possibility that the present consultation will be withdrawn, since the consultation is fundamentally based on the report. Leaving the consultation open while the inquiry is conducted implies either that the result of the inquiry is a foregone conclusion, or that Government is happy to risk wasting many people's time and energy on a pointless exercise*. At this stage we believe that the focus should be move to the inquiry, and that the consultation can and should be postponed until its legitimacy has been reviewed.

In summary: we ask that the current consultation and legislative programme be halted because:

- The Review in both methods and conclusions was faulty.
- The consultation is based on a faulty Review.
- Neither the Review nor the consultation follows the Code of Practice on consultations (2.4, 3.2, 3.3, 4.3, 4.4, 5.1).
- Legislation is already scheduled based on a faulty process and conclusions.
- On the present timescale, the result of the CSF Committee's inquiry would not be published until after the consultation has finished and proposed legislation perhaps already laid before the House.

Yours sincerely

1. Children, Schools and Families Select Committee Inquiry: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/csf/csfpn220709.cfm

2. Home Education Review (Graham Badman): http://publications.everychildmatters.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/HC-610_Home-ed.PDF

3. Consultation: Home Education - Registration and Monitoring Proposals. http://tinyurl.com/l82dxm )

4. Improving Schools and Safeguarding Children Bill: http://www.commonsleader.gov.uk/output/Page2831.asp

5. BERR Code of Practice on Consultations: http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/bre/consultation-guidance/page44420.html

6. DirectGov Site on Parental Responsibilities: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/ParentsRights/DG_4002954

7. Education Act 1996: ttp://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1996/ukpga_19960056_en_2#pt1-ch1-pb3-l1g7

8. ECHR: http://www.hri.org/docs/ECHR50.html#C.Art8

9. Better Regulation, The Five Principles of Good Regulation: http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/bre/index.html/index.html

10. Children Act 1989: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1989/ukpga_19890041_en_7

11. Children Act 2004: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/ukpga_20040031_en_1

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Letter Sent to Every Local Authority

The following letter was addressed to various people in every English LA with responsibilities to HEors, including those who actually do the monitoring and was sent out in the first week of July 2009.

If anyone comes across any relevant LA official, it might be worth asking them whether they have seen it and given it due thought.

"Dear (LA),

Re: Proposed new duties in regard to Elective Home Education

As you will be aware, The Report on the Review of Elective Home Education by Graham Badman was released on 11 June 2009. On the same day, some of the Recommendations within this report were accepted in full by the Rt Hon Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, School and Families. A consultation is now in progress on the subject of implementing these changes.

If implemented, Mr Badman's recommendations would place a significantly higher level of responsibility on Local Authorities for the registration, monitoring and assessment of all children educated otherwise than at school. In brief there are two basic changes that these recommendations would bring:

* compulsory annual registration for all home educating families, and
* compulsory visits to the homes of all home educating families by Local Authority officers who would have the right to interview children without their parents present.

We are writing to draw your attention to some implications of these proposed new duties.

1. Legal

Current legislation states that it is every parent's responsibility to ensure their child receives a suitable education. If this legal responsibility were to shift onto the Local Authority, it would lay the Local Authority open to legal action for failing to ensure that any child (whether in school or not) received a suitable education. Mr Badman's recommendations, should they become law, would be a significant step in this direction.

2. Staffing and systems

At present it is unclear how Mr Balls imagines your new duties would be carried out in practice. There are an estimated 50,000 - 80,000 home educated children to monitor, though this may be an under-estimate. The registration process in itself would more or less double the current workload of Local Authority staff who deal with home education.

A particular concern would be the sourcing of more personnel trained in the highly sensitive and specialist area of interviewing children about their safety as well as their educational progress. As you are probably aware, social work vacancies already stand at 14% nationally. If the recommendation from the Badman report is introduced Local Authorities could be required to speak with every child who is home educated and ascertain both their educational progress and their safety. It is likely that Local Authority protocol would need to be established for best practice, thus each visit to each child could require two workers. As these visits must take place at least yearly and given the estimated number of home educated children, the pressure on Local Authority workers and Local Authority budgets could be immense.

While Mr Balls has not set a specific date for any changes to be introduced, the consultation regarding these recommendations ends on October 19th. Despite the enormity of the changes that are proposed, he has only allowed the minimum time for the consultation process and it may be the case that he wishes to rush these changes through as soon as possible.

A further worry is that the government appears to believe that the proposals would not increase the workload of Local Authority personnel. They have not carried out an impact assessment to accompany the consultation. Baroness Morgan of Drefelin who is a Labour Peer and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary with the DCSF has explained the reason for the lack of impact assessment, stating;

"We do not expect them [the proposals] to place any significant additional burdens on local authorities as most already monitor home education."
(http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2009-06-29a.6.4&s=Home+education#g6.).

Mr. Badman's report confirms that only 20,000 home educating families are known to Local Authorities .There is an estimated further 30,000-60,000 home educating families in existence, so it is difficult to see how proposals to register and monitor all these families on at least a yearly basis would not place significant additional burdens on local authorities.

3. Financial

It is highly likely that such changes would require a rigorous and ongoing training programme for all members of staff involved with children. At present, Mr Balls has not committed any funding for the implementation of these additional duties nor for the training that would be required for workers. We would encourage you to seek clarification on this matter at an early stage.

4. Ethical

Ethically, the rights to privacy and free association can be overridden when there is good cause. However, as Mr. Badman himself reported (paragraph 8.14 of the Review report):

"I can find no evidence that elective home education is a particular factor in the removal of children to forced marriage, servitude or trafficking or for inappropriate abusive activities."

Mr. Badman also states that (para 8.12 of the Review report):

"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."

However he does not give details of how many Local Authorities this applies to, only stating that it is 'some'. He also does not detail how many of these 'known' children are known due to their special educational needs. He does not state which, if any, of these children are known to the Local Authorities because they are at risk of harm.

It is therefore unclear on what basis he is suggesting that compulsory visits to all home educating families would be a proportionate response to the supposed risk.

A recent nationwide poll of home educated children and young people found that 77% did not wish to speak to Local Authority officers about their education. There is a further danger, therefore, that the new duties imposed following the Badman review will directly conflict with your duty under section 53 of the Children Act 2004, to, where reasonably practicable, take into account the child's wishes and feelings with regard to the provision of services.

Consideration should also be given to the moral or ethical justification for potentially allowing children genuinely in need to go unprotected or unnoticed, due to the increased workload imposed on local authorities by the duty to annually monitor and interview reportedly 50,000 - 80,000 home educated children in the UK. Home educators are perplexed and worried by this very real possibility.

5. Relations with the community

Some Local Authorities have worked hard in recent years to build good relationships with their local community of home-educating families. There is a danger that the implementation of these recommendations would undermine that work.

Analysis of data provided by 70% of local authorities indicates that the proportion of children known to be electively home educated and actually considered to be at risk is less than half the proportion considered at risk in the general population. (http://tiny.cc/gdk8u)"

Many home-educating parents feel strongly protective of their children's autonomy. This is a common motivation for turning to child-led learning in the first place. There is a wealth of information on the positive aspects of autonomous or personalised learning and much evidence to suggest this community of learners and their families are functioning as a positive part of the general population.

In Graham Badman's Report on Home Education he wrote:

"I have sought to strike a balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child, and offer, through registration and other recommendations, some assurance on the greater safety of a number of children." (para 11.2)

A survey carried out by Ann Newstead following the release of the Report sought to give home educated children (aged between 5 and 25 years) the opportunity to respond to this. An overwhelming 90% of the children who responded were against the idea of being interviewed without their parent or educator present.
(http://www.ukhome-educators.co.uk/Survey/childsurvey0609.htm).

Given the widespread anger aroused by this report within the home education community, and the commitment of home educating parents to respecting their children's wishes about their education and privacy, we expect that implementing the recommendations will not be straightforward for Local Authority officers on the ground.

We believe that all these issues are worthy of consideration, and are relevant to any response which your Local Authority may make to the current consultation.

We enclose a collection of relevant Web links for your information.

DCSF Consultation on Home education - registration and monitoring:
http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=conSection&consultationId=\
1643&dId=990&sId=6089&numbering=1&itemNumber=2&CFID=22725695&CFTOKEN=43876675

Review report:
http://publications.everychildmatters.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/HC-610_Home-ed.PD\
F

Response to the review from Ed Balls:
http://www.freedomforchildrentogrow.org/Ed%20Balls%20to%20Graham%20Badman%201106\09.pdf

2002 Research by Paula Rothermel of Durham University, on outcomes for home
educated children: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002197.htm

Results of poll of home educated children's wishes:
http://daretoknowblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/results-of-poll.html

If you are not already in a dialogue with home educators in your local area, and you would like to discuss these issues with directly affected families in person, please contact us at the email address below and we will endeavour to put you in touch with local parents who can give you any further information you need.

Yours sincerely

(Representative of) an alliance of over 600 concerned individuals."

Brighton Home Educators Campaign

...against the Badman recommendations.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Contact Point Security Fears

Story in the Telegraph.

Cornwall's Response to 25 questions

here:


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. You may find it helpful to read through the questionnaire before attempting to complete it. 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 on-line 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.

Please note, the Director of Children's Services and Lead Member for Children and Young People are asked to sign off the response to this questionnaire before submitting it.

Please return your completed questionnaire by Friday 6 February to [email address]

Or by post to:

Elizabeth Green

Home Education Review

DCSF

Level 2

Sanctuary Buildings

Great Smith Street

London SW1P 3BT

Thank you for taking time to respond to these questions.

Section One - About your local authority

Name of LA

Cornwall

Tel. No of main contact

01872 323430

E-mail of main contact

[email address]

Would you be willing to take part in the next phase of the research in March (including in-depth interviews with key personnel in your organisation)?

Yes

1. Who is involved in supporting and monitoring home educated children within the local authority and other agencies?

Team with main responsibility - Education Welfare Service -EWS

List all teams / professionals involved

Support

Monitoring

Education Welfare Officers

EHE monitoring teachers

Describe how you ensure collaboration and communication between these teams / individuals.

Both teams are within the EWS and are line managed by the Principal Education Welfare Officer. Each team member works to a specific co-terminus area so there is plenty of opportunity for easy communication and collaboration.

Section Two - Data and Tracking

2. How many children are currently home educated in your local authority?

Phase

Registered with LA 25/02/09

Non-registered children

Primary age

130

Unable to determine as we have no directive to insist these families make themselves known to us.

Secondary age

206


Total

336


3. Are these figures accurate or based on estimates?

0x08 graphic

Accurate YES

Where do you get this data from?

Our Education Data Management System EMS/ONE

How do you know the data are accurate? It is checked and up-dated weekly, it also forms the basis of workflow systems for EWO & EHE Monitors to respond to and also up-date.

0x08 graphic
Estimate

What data have you used to arrive at this figure? (List all sources)

Our biggest difficulty is tracking families who choose NOT to register with LA, whilst current guidance states that they need not we will always be estimating the number of this cohort.

  1. How confident are you in the accuracy of this data?

Registered with LA

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

0x08 graphic
Very confident-YES Fairly confident Don't know

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Not very confident Not at all confident

5. How often does the local authority get updated data?

List frequency for each source separately

We receive weekly up-dates and monthly summaries from our data management system

6. Thinking about your home educated population, what proportions have the following characteristics? Please say whether these figures are based on estimates or accurate data.

Characteristic

Proportion

Delete as appropriate

Statement for SEN

17/336

accurate

Non-statemented SEN

Don't have this data

Estimate / accurate

Gypsy, Roma, Traveller heritage

14

Estimate / accurate

Other BME Group (please state below)

23

Estimate / accurate



Estimate / accurate



Estimate / accurate



Estimate / accurate

7. Do you believe the local authority knows about all the home educated children in your area?

0x08 graphic
Yes, we are confident we know about all home educated

children in the area

0x08 graphic

We think we know about the vast majority of home educated

children in the area

0x08 graphic
We probably do not know about a fair number of home educated

children in the area

0x08 graphic
We probably do not know about a significant proportion of home

educated children in the area

8. 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?

0x08 graphic

Yes

Why do you think that?

No

Why do you think that?

Until legislation insists that ALL EHE parents register with the Local Authority this will always be problematic.

0x08 graphic
Don't know

Section Three - Supporting Home Educating Families

9. How does the local authority ensure families know about their rights and responsibilities in relation to home education?

List all approaches used

Local Authority Guidelines which also signpost EHE Parents to national guidelines and support groups including reference to current Education Acts.

10. What support does your local authority provide to home educating families?

List all forms of support offered

Local Authority Guidelines which also signpost EHE Parents to local and national support groups and resources.

More frequent visits by EHE monitors by request

11. How does the local authority let families know about the services provided to support them in home educating their children?

List all approaches used

Local Authority website,

Local authority support services

Section Four - Assessment and Monitoring

12. Following the initial assessment visit, are further monitoring visits made to a home educated child?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Yes No Don't know

12a. If yes, how often, on average, are these carried out?

0x08 graphic

More than twice a year How often?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Twice a year Once a year

0x08 graphic

Less than once a year

Additional comments

This question is misleading as the current guidance makes it clear to EHE parents that a home visit is NOT the only way they can supply evidence of progress. Therefore you can have a situation where an annual contact and exchange of evidence occurs BUT NOT in the family home. Indeed it could, under the current guidance be done remotely by e-mail!

13. On average, how often is the child seen when a visit is made?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Always, at each visit Usually, but not always

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Sometimes Never

0x08 graphic

Depends on the child / circumstances Please describe

We have some EHE parents who are uncomfortable about any type of home visit and use a more remote method of contact; others who will permit a home visit but not have the child present. The circumstances that determine these occurrences vary considerably.

14. If the child is seen, where is s/he usually seen?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

In the home At the home, but do not go inside

0x08 graphic
Another venue Please specifiy

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Depends on the child / circumstances Please describe

It is rare for an EHE parent to opt for a monitoring visit outside the family home AND to also bring the child/

15. If you are not permitted access to a child, is any further action taken?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Yes No Don't know

15a. If yes, what further steps are taken?

Please describe:

Depends upon circumstances & other information the LA may have on this family! Current guidance has stated that failure to have access to an EHE child is NOT sufficient evidence of a potential child protection concern. Education Act 2002 Section 175(1) does not extend LA functions; it does not give LA powers to enter homes of, or otherwise see, children for the purpose of monitoring the provision of EHE

16. How is the `suitability' of the education provided to the child assessed?

Please describe

Based upon the progress that is demonstrated against the original philosophical statement made by the parent and allowing for age, aptitude, and ability.

17. Is the local authority clear about what the definition of a `suitable education' is?

0x08 graphic

Yes

Why is that?

We use the Statement provided in the DCSF Guidelines for LA -Section 3.13 (pg 10)

0x08 graphic
No

Why is that?

18. Does the local authority have systems in place to track the educational progress of home educated children?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
Yes No Don't know

If yes, please describe the system

An individual case file system backed up by all visits/letters etc on our EMS/ONE data system

19. Of the home educated children in your area of whom you have knowledge, what proportion in your estimation are receiving a suitable, full time (20hrs a week) education?

Please describe

Again this is difficult as the current information provided (DCSF LA Guidelines -Section 3.13 ) offers a very loose interpretation; indeed confirms there is no legal definition of “full-time”. If a family are following an autonomous form of home education it could be argued they don't receive any or receive far in excess of 20+hrs as everything they do is woven into the life of the family.

20. Does the local authority take any further steps if a home educated child's education was found to be unsuitable or not full time?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
Yes No Don't know

20a. If yes, what steps are then taken?

Please describe

Further monitoring visits are made with line manager. If the situation continues to be unsatisfactory an Education Attendance Order is initiated.

21. Does the local authority face any challenges in assessing whether home educated children receive a suitable education?

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic

Yes No Don't know

If yes, please describe challenges and what you think could be done to overcome these

EHE parents are not required to:

�� teach the National Curriculum

�� provide a broad and balanced education

�� have a timetable

�� have premises equipped to any particular standard

�� set hours during which education will take place

�� have any specific qualifications

�� make detailed plans in advance

�� observe school hours, days or terms

�� give formal lessons

�� mark work done by their child

�� formally assess progress or set development objectives

�� reproduce school type peer group socialisation

�� match school-based, age-specific standards.

Until DCSF Guidance is tightened or greater clarification around what is suitable education, this will continue to remain a challenge for LAs.

22. 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?

Please specify number 4-6 0x08 graphic

Additional comments

Please include the number of Serious Case Reviews you know about that have a home education element

Each year we have a handful of cases that cause us sufficient concern to initiate an education Attendance Order. Not all are completed as many accept a return to school as a preferred action.

23. Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate?

0x08 graphic
Yes Why do you think that?

0x08 graphic
No Why do you think that?

1. Not every EHE child is registered and known to the LA

2. Monitoring can involve not visiting the home or seeing the child; if “evidence of progress” is provided remotely and electronically who can confirm that it was the work of a child and not the parent?

3. It is wrong to assume that “other agencies” will automatically pick up the monitoring of a child. If they are not registered in a school, not registered with the LA as EHE, not taken to their GP, not in receipt of social housing and not known to Children's Social Care; which agency IS monitoring the child under ECM arrangements?

0x08 graphic

Don't know

22. Do you think that home educated children in your local authority are able to achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes?

0x08 graphic

Yes Please say why for each of the five outcomes.

Be healthy

-Some of our EHE parents do a superb job and will ensure that all of the 5 ECM outcomes are achieved; some have been successful and gone on to Higher Education. Some are equally successful in meeting the needs of their children who have additional educational needs and provide a safe, secure and nurturing environment.

Stay safe

Enjoy and achieve

Make a positive contribution

Achieve economic well-being

0x08 graphic

No √ Please say why for each of the five outcomes.

Be healthy

A significant number of EHE families, due to the very flexible interpretation of what is suitable education can miss significant milestones in a young person's development.

Stay safe

The current level of monitoring! See comments above.

Enjoy and achieve

The very flexible interpretation of suitable education can lead to poor progress against mainstream educational expectations.

Make a positive contribution

Access to maeniful work experience and Connexions is entirley voluntary within EHE

Achieve economic well-being

Lack of achievement and formal educational qualifications

23. Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educated families?

0x08 graphic

Yes What should they be?

Greater clarity on Government Guidelines to EHE Parents regarding what is “suitable education”.

0x08 graphic

No Why do you think that?

0x08 graphic

Don't know

24. 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?

0x08 graphic

Yes What should they be?

1. Registration of ALL EHE children with LA

2. Monitoring visits are undertaken at home and the child must be present.

3. Increase frequency of monitoring beyond annually.

0x08 graphic
No Why do you think that?

0x08 graphic

Don't know

Thank you for taking time to respond to these questions.

Please return your completed questionnaire, by Friday 6 February to [email address] or by post to the address on page one. If you are returning the questionnaire electronically, please add the name of the DCS and Lead Member in the signature box.

Declaration

I agree that the information supplied in this questionnaire is a true reflection of practice in this local authority.

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
Signed Date

Director of Children's Services

0x08 graphic
0x08 graphic
Signed Date

Lead Member for Children

The information you have provided may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This does not necessarily mean that your response can be made available to the public as there are exemptions relating to information provided in confidence and information to which the Data Protection Act 1998 applies. You may request confidentiality by ticking the box provided, but you should note that this may not exclude the public right of access.