Education

11.04.18

Councils need powers to crack down on bad home-schooling, says LGA

Councils should have the powers and funding to enter the premises of home-schooled children to ensure they are being taught in suitable conditions, the LGA has argued.

The recommendation follows news that the Department for Education (DfE) will be implementing a series of measures to make sure home-schooled children are receiving high-quality education.

This includes a compulsory register of children who are taught outside of school, after concerns were raised over pupils going missing. The government will also consider fining parents or carers who do not comply.

Over 45,500 children in the UK are now educated outside of a school environment, an increase of 20% over 18 months.

Responding to the measures, Cllr Roy Perry, vice chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said councils fully support the right of parents to educate children at home, with the vast majority doing a “fantastic job” and working well with local authorities to ensure they are providing good education.

“But for the minority of children where this is not the case, councils need the powers and appropriate funding to enter homes or other premises to check a child’s schooling, and make sure they aren’t being taught in unsuitable or dangerous environments,” he noted.

“Placing a legal duty on parents to register home-schooled children with their local authority would also help councils to monitor how children are being educated and prevent them from disappearing from the oversight of services designed to keep them safe.”

The DfE said: “This government's vision is to ensure that all children and young people receive world-class education in a safe environment so that they all have the opportunity to succeed and reach their potential, regardless of background.

“The department believes that home education is often good, and that it is a valid way of realising these ambitions for children. However, there is no assurance that this is always the case.”

After announcing the package of measures designed to improve education in any setting, school systems minister Lord Agnew launched a call for evidence to seek views of parents and councils. The consultation will close on 2 July.

Issues raised include the compulsory registration of children educated at home and the monitoring of this provision by local authorities.

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