Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Norfolk's Response to LA 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?


% 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)



Other family circumstances



Concerns but cannot determine due to inability to see the child



Other (please describe)

Child missing education-2

Inappropriate approach being taken - 3



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



Reasons include:

Parents feeling pushed into home education by school.

Parents unable to meet needs of an SEN child.

Traveller parents who are uninterested in state education and/or illiterate.

Concerns about abilities voiced by other professionals.

Child out of parental control.

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.


There had been an ongoing dispute between Lucy's parents regarding access arrangements for her father. He did not agree with his ex-wife's decision to withdraw Lucy from school and indicated that her mental health problems affected her suitability to home educate. Lucy's head teacher expressed similar concerns. Lucy's mother did not keep an arranged appointment with our service and responded to a subsequent appointment letter by emailing to say that it was not necessary to meet as the family were due to move and that Lucy would be returning to school. No address or school contact details were provided and there was no response to our request for these, prompting us to refer Lucy to CME. Meanwhile, Lucy's father continued to contact us by phone, demanding information for his planned court proceedings and becoming rude and abusive.


Faye's mother has mental and physical health problems; her elderly husband cannot fulfil the role of carer, so this has fallen to Faye. Faye's previous school did not inform our service at the time of her de-registration, so a considerable period of time elapsed before we became involved, during which time Faye had not received any education. There were various concerns about the appropriateness of home education due to Faye's home circumstances, along with her social isolation. Faye's mother refused an offer of support from Young Carers. Faye is obese and school phobic. She has regular hospital appointments relating to her obesity and associated problems and has been offered gastric band surgery when she is older. Faye's mother will not agree to any additional support, eg CAF, and has often been reluctant to meet with our service, cancelling various appointments at short notice. However, with support and encouragement over a period of three years, Faye's home education provision has improved.


Religious beliefs dominated Colin's family's approach to his home education and the resources which were available to him. His grandmother - a controlling, domineering, strict woman - took the main responsibility for his education, with Colin's father taking a secondary role. When Colin was asked about his views of home education during a visit to the family, he stated that he did not want to be home educated, that he was bored and lonely. An old-fashioned approach continued to be taken to Colin's home education provision, with our team's advice and support proving unacceptable to his grandmother.

Views on measures for improvement:

  1. Access to social care and health records where relevant.

  2. Where relevant, families should have to accept some measure of social care involvement.

  3. More readily available access to local authority alternative educational provision. Currently, provision only exists for children who are on a school roll; schools are generally unwilling to accept a child onto their roll (eg if they have been previously home educated) if it involves funding them only for alternative provision. If such provision was more widely available, with less restricted criteria, children like Faye may not have had to have been withdrawn from school in the first place.

  4. Parents/carers' ability to home educate should be assessed BEFORE de-registration takes place.

  5. Proper, regular supervision should be available for EHE workers.

  6. Home education should NOT be an option for young people for whom there are issues around school phobia, behaviour, special needs, truancy and threat of court proceedings.

Additional information

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


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


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

No data available.

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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