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Prospect ECS contributes to parliamentary inquiry on home education

8 February 2021

Prospect’s Education and Children Services Group has submitted its written evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on home education.

Home schooling

The House of Commons Education Committee is investigating if current arrangements are adequate and suitable for home educated children, and to establish what further measures may be needed. It will also explore the impact of COVID-19 on home education.

One of the key areas of the inquiry seeks to establish whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required. It is a move that is supported by Prospect.

In its evidence, Prospect wrote:

“Whilst many parents who home educate do so with commitment and do a good job, there are some children who are being failed. Without a register, we have no way of knowing which children are being home educated and therefore no way of identifying effective provision with both monitoring or support where appropriate.

“Every child deserves this level of oversight to ensure they are receiving an efficient, full-time and suitable education.”

On the quality and accessibility of support for home educators and their children, Prospect noted the hugely varying provisions between different local authorities, many of which have had their budgets squeezed and are operating with minimal staff to support home education.

Prospect recommends to the Education Committee that “termly visits would enable accurate and regular assessments of progress and further needs to be identified.”

However, such a move, says Prospect would place another burden on already stretched LAs and would require increased central funding.

Ultimately, “Prospect does not believe that the current regulatory framework for elective home education is sufficient or suitable.”

COVID-19

On the impact of COVID-19, Prospect warned that there is a greater risk of social isolation for pupils who are home educated.

“There is a high risk of increased isolation for children electively home educated as many public amenities, such as sports facilities, performance venues and so on, are not available in lockdown areas whilst their peers in schools do at least have access to a variety of facilities and to other social contact within their “bubbles”.

Prospect members working in local authorities also reported that there was a relatively higher number of elective home education referrals and notifications in the Autumn half-term of 2020, compared to the same period the previous year. Conversations with parents revealed their concerns of the coronavirus if their children attended school.

Prospect’s written evidence can seen in full on the Committee’s website (PDF).


Education and children's services

Prospect represents nearly 3,000 professionals in education, children's services, early years, commissioning and children's social care.