Local authorities will be given powers to prevent parents from educating their children at home if a child’s safety is in question, the Department for Children, Schools and Families has confirmed.
In response to a review of home education in England released today, the DCSF said it would roll out an annual compulsory registration scheme and require parents to provide a “clear statement of their educational approach”.
Councils will also be given the authority to access the home regularly in order to check up on the child’s progress. Parents face being struck off the register if there are any safeguarding concerns.
The review, headed by Graham Badman, the former director of children’s services at Kent Council, was commissioned by the government in January to drive up educational standards and look at whether there was any evidence that home education was being used to cover up abuse.
Badman gave the DCSF and the Local Government Association three months in which to find the resources in order to fund the recommendations.
Children’s minister Delyth Morgan said she accepted in full all 28 recommendations made in the report.
She added: “Most home educators do a fantastic job and I want to ensure they get more support for local authorities. But we can’t afford to let any child slip through the net – in terms of their education or safety.
“These recommendations are proportionate and reasonable. The fact is most developed countries require registration to home educate, with the majority also having a process of systematic monitoring. It’s only right we afford our own children and young people the same checks and balances.”
In his initial response to the review, children’s secretary Ed Balls said that Badman had made a “compelling case for immediate and urgent reforms”. Balls added that the changes would be made at the earliest opportunity following a consultation period.
A full response from the DCSF to all the recommendations will be published in September.
Some key recommendations
- Local Safeguarding Children Boards to be required to issue regular report on safeguarding for home education.
- Adult social services will also be required to inform any authorities dealing with home education of concerns over parents involved in alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence or who have previous offences against children.
- Stronger guidance to local authorities on their statutory duty to ensure that a child’s education meets its special educational needs.