Facts and Statistics Elective Home Education in England

The Government in England does not keep a record of facts and statistics regarding Elective Home Education in England.  The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has undertaken an annual elective home education (EHE) survey to capture the number and characteristics of children and young people who are known to be home educated since 2016.

Since 2016, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has issued a survey to all 152 local authorities (LAs) in England on elective home education (EHE). 

Statistics published in November 2021 – The Association of Directors of Children’s Services

In the academic year 2020/21 124 Local Authorities responded to the survey 

94258 children were known to be Elective Home Educated.

Across all 152 Local Authorities in England an estimated cumulative total of 115542 children were being home educated

This is an increase of approximately 34% from the 2019/20 academic year.

But in a 2019 survey carried out for Channel 4 Dispatches, 93% of responding local authorities reported that they “don’t feel confident they’re aware of all the home educated children living in their area” as reported in the Children’s Commissioners Report, February 2019.

My question to the local authorities that feel that they don’t know the true number of home educated children in their area is why not?

If local authorities or government wanted to know a true figure it would be fairly simple to get. All births are registered, all children are offered a school place when old enough. Surely from these two figures the government can see how many children are not registered for school.

If a child has attended school then the parents have to formally deregister the children to remove them from school. This gives figures of children leaving school.

In todays world it is nearly impossible to go invisible, so how is it that the local authorities and government do not know how many children are home educated.

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services, asked upper tier local authorities in England (LAs) to select the top three reasons parents give for choosing to home educate their child. 

125 out of 152 LAs responded to this question. The most common reason in 2021 was due to Covid related concerns, and for philosophical or lifestyle reasons.

Covid and the impact on Home Education

According to the survey by Association of Directors of Children’s Services LA’’s showed that the impact of Covid-19 was still a common factor in parents choosing to home educate their children. 

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services survey in 2020 found that approximately 25% of children had become Electively Home Educated during the month of September alone. 

Reasons for Elective Home Education

In 2020/2021 LA’s were asked to select the top three reasons given by parents for deciding Elective Home Education.

Covid has had a big impact on the number of children now being home educated increasing The parents have in some cases felt they had no other choice than to home educate for health or medical reasons.

I know of other parents who have decided to continue to home educate once schools reopened because they enjoyed the experience and embraced it with open arms.

Exam centres For Elective Home Education

When Local Authorities were asked about provision of exam centres for Home educators 115 LAs responded to the question on how many schools/education settings within their area offer to host external candidates for exams. 

51% of respondents did not know of education settings in their area who do so. 

Of those LAs aware of education settings offering to host external candidates, there were an average of 2.6 education settings per LA offering this service. 

LAs were also asked how many other settings in their area host external candidates e.g. exam centres. 

Of the 114 respondents, 70% did not know of this offer existing within their local area. 

Of the 33 LAs that were aware of this offer within their area, an average of 2 settings per LA were providing this service.

It is hard to believe how difficult it is for home educated children to be able to access exams. I believe that every local authority should offer the opportunities for home educated children to be able to access exam centres. I am not asking for the LA to pay for the exams but just help with accessing an exam centre.

Funding 

DfE guidance notes that home educating parents assume financial responsibility for their child’s education but encourages local authorities to take a flexible approach.

The SEND Code of Practice states that local authorities should fund the SEN needs of home educated children where it is “appropriate to do so”, based on supporting parents: 

Local authorities do not have a duty under section 22 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to assess every home educated child to see whether or not they have SEN. The high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant is intended to fund provision for all relevant children and young people in the authority’s area, including home educated children. Local authorities should fund the SEN needs of home educated children where it is appropriate to do so. Guidance is available to local authorities from the Department for Education on funding provision for home educated children.

The home education guidance for local authorities emphasises that local authorities do not have a duty to assist parents with the costs relating to home education  but they should give reasonable consideration for any request for assistance. The main point is that any direct support to parents, if given at all, “should relate only to costs incurred by parents as a result of the special needs of the child, insofar as these can reasonably be identified.”

With regards to funding, personally I am against any type if funding for home education from local authorities or government. Why? We all know that you don’t get anything for nothing. There would be strings attached and personally I home educate to be able to teach my child as we wish.

Sources:

SEND Code of Practice

Association of Directors of Children’s Services

DfE

Children’s Commissioners Report

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