Friday, July 24, 2009

Brighton and Hove's Response to Indepth Questionnaire


Vulnerable children who are being home educated may pose an increased concern in terms of their safety, wellbeing and education. The independent review is seeking specific evidence on:

  1. the prevalence of `vulnerable' children in your current EHE caseload;

  2. the type of vulnerability you have encountered in the past and / or are experiencing currently.

Your views as to what measures could be taken to improve the safety, wellbeing and education of these children are also sought.

In relation to (i) above:

  1. What proportion of your current EHE caseload is known to Social Care in the following capacities? Please include open and closed cases.



% of caseload

Section 17 enquiry


Section 47 enquiry


Section 37 (care orders)


Children who are or have been subject to child protection plan (or previously on the child protection register)



Other (please specify)

Total number of children



2. What proportion of your current caseload do you estimate have safeguarding implications?

This is very difficult to know as there is no data in the case of these parents and children; we do not only not have a duty to know this- we are actively discouraged from seeking such information


% of caseload

Total number of children



Parent with mental health issues


Child with mental health issues


Parent with substance misuse issues


Domestic violence


Child abuse or neglect (current or previous)

As in first question

Other family circumstances


Concerns but cannot determine due to inability to see the child


Other (please describe)

Concerns about parental ability / capacity to undertake home education (not covered above). Please specify reason:


3. Request for case studies

In relation to (ii) above, please provide two or three anonymised case studies (more if you wish) describing cases where you have specific safeguarding concerns. Within your description please provide information detailing your specific concerns including any issues around obtaining relevant information about the child from the parent or child (including difficulties in gaining access to the child). Your views as to what measures could be taken to improve the safety, wellbeing and education of these children are also invited.


Additional information

4. In your estimation, what proportion of your current caseload is not receiving any education? 16

5. In your estimation, what proportion are home educating to avoid prosecution for attendance issues? 10%

6. What proportion of EHE youngsters became NEET (please use the latest data you have available and note the timeframe in your response).

6 out of 22 = 30%

Case Studies

(Not included in FOI request as possible could be identified)

Improvement of Safety, Wellbeing and Education

In my view it seems that in some of the cases- a very small proportion- that we deal with it is the needs of the parents for privacy that supersede the needs of the child. In these cases we do not see the child and often do not see the parents; in the most extreme cases we do not even receive a report from them. This is it seems counter to the Children Act guidance and to the Every Child Matters agenda. If the welfare of the child is paramount and yet in these cases nobody has access to that child, as we cannot say they are not being educated unless we have proof they are not being educated, where does that link to Every Child Matters? There are some children, as mentioned in case studies above, who at least we know exist. Others may move into the area or reach statutory school age but the parent has no obligation to inform anyone, since they are to be home educated and have never been on school roll- we do not know they exist unless a health professional or other professional they come into contact with inform us; again, where the link to Every Child Matters?

In these cases there could at least be some judgement made on the safety and wellbeing of the child if access was statutory.

The guidelines on education mean that often the decision to `approve' an education programme is based on a subjective opinion, usually through comparing to what can be seen as `good' provision through experience. More robust guidelines, not simply based on case law, would enable services to monitor provision more clearly and would not present a difficulty for those many parents who are providing an excellent education for their children at home.

Do not include children who are disabled where there is no concern about parenting or quality of EHE.

Do not include cases that did not lead to further action.

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