ACERT submission to Home Education inquiry

The Education Select Committee is conducting and inquiry into home education. The committee will examine how home-educated children are being supported in their learning and whether more needs to be done to ensure they are all receiving a high-quality education. It will also look at duties of local authorities, and the potential role for inspections in ensuring standards.

ACERT believes this is a key issue for many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families, especially those with children in the secondary phase. We recognise that there are push and pull factors at work and that many parents withdraw their children from school because of a mismatch between their priorities and expectations and those of schools. Factors such as unaddressed racist bullying, accommodation and mobility issues can also play their part. Families need information and advice, access to alternative provision or vocational education.

The main points of ACERT’s submission are:

  • ACERT entirely supports the right of parents/guardians to home educate their children.
  • We also recognise a child’s right to an education which equips them to understand and participate in the wider community
  • Education can take many forms and need not be anything like standard school education, but there should be minimum standards in literacy, numeracy and IT literacy. There needs to be an assessment of whether parents can deliver these basic entitlements.
  • ACERT supports placing a duty upon local authorities to assure the quality of home education and that adequate safeguarding occurs
  • Local authorities need to maintain a register of home-educated children which should record ethnic codes, last school attended, any special needs and details of the education being provided.
  • A portion of the funding that would have been allocated to the school for the education of a child should instead be allocated to the local authority registering and supporting their home education.

The Committee invited written submissions addressing any or all of the following points:

  • The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education;
  • whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required;
  • the benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;
  • the quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education;
  • whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’;
  • the role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education;
  • what improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 Education Committee published their report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012; and
  • the impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts.’

The consultation closed on November 6th 2020.