The Department for Children, Schools and Families has announced a review of home education amid concerns over the safeguarding of children who do not go to school.
The four-month probe will examine the extent to which home education is used as a cover for abuse, including forced marriage, neglect, sexual exploitation or domestic servitude, and the barriers councils face in safeguarding children educated at home.
Safeguarding concerns about home education were raised by councils and children’s organisations during a public consultation on the related issue of children who are missing out on a suitable education.
Existing guidance outdated
NSPCC head of policy and public affairs Diana Sutton said: “We welcome the government’s decision to review the guidance on home education. We believe the existing legislation and guidance on elective home education is outdated.”
The review will be headed by Graham Badman, former director of children’s services at Kent Council. Badman was also drafted in last month by children’s secretary Ed Balls to replace Sharon Shoesmith as chair of Haringey’s safeguarding children board, in the wake of the Baby P case.
The DCSF also published revised guidance for councils on their duty to identify children who are missing out on a suitable education. This includes the need for authorities to have a written policy on the issue, notification routes for key stakeholders to identify children, a named contact point and a database of affected children.
Current guidance on elective home education