There has been a rise of almost 40 per cent in the number of children being electively home educated, The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has revealed.
The annual survey of local authorities to look at rates of children being home schooled found that the most common reason cited by parents or carers for electing to home educate their child was due to health concerns related directly to Covid-19.
Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said: “The pandemic and partial closure of schools has clearly had an impact on the number of families electing to home educate their child/ren once schools fully re-opened. Local authorities have a duty to ensure that these children are safe and receiving a good education, yet with the significant increase in the number of EHE children and young people since September, our capacity to maintain contact with all of them is severely stretched.”
The ADCS surveyed local authorities in England for the fifth consecutive year to explore the trends in home schooling. The highest ever number of local authorities 133, which equates to 88 per cent, responded.
On 1 October 2020, school census day, there were 75,668 children and young people known to be electively home educated – a 38% increase from the same school census day in 2019. It also emerged that a quarter of those children and young people have become EHE since 1 September 2020.
An estimated 86,335 children and young people were known to be electively home educated at any point during the 2019-202 academic year, a 10% increase from the 2018/19 academic year.
Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said: “Many parents or carers have felt the need to remove their child from school due to health concerns over the pandemic and we want to be able to support these families to make sure they are making an informed decision and are equipped to offer a good and broad education to their child/ren. However, without a statutory register it is impossible to know of every child or young person who is being electively home educated. Schools play an important role in safeguarding as they provide a direct line of sight to the child. If a child is taken out of school, it is vital we know that they are in a safe environment and that their needs are being met.
“We know that the number of children being electively home educated continues to increase each year, and while parental concerns around the pandemic have had a significant impact this year, this should not distract from the worrying trend we continue to see of a year-on-year increase in the size of the EHE cohort. We still await the outcome of the Department for Education’s consultation that proposed new duties on local authorities including a national register of all EHE children and young people. If implemented, this must be fully funded so that we have the means to provide the support these children and young people deserve.”
Elective Home Education