Will the Minister instruct all education authorities to compile a list of children being home schooled so that proper welfare and education standards are being met, given that the number of children now being home schooled is increasing?
In September 2021, I agreed to progress the proposals for elective home education (EHE) consulted on in 2019 and 2020, with the aim of ensuring that children and young people receive a suitable education, whilst making progress on identifying children missing an education.
These proposals will provide new statutory guidance that will strengthen the existing framework for local authorities to take action where a child is not receiving a suitable education and clarifies what is considered a ‘suitable’ and ‘efficient’ education. It also clarifies that where this appears likely to impair a child’s development, the local authorities should fully exercise their safeguarding powers and duties to protect the child’s wellbeing.
To assist local authorities to discharge their duty to identify children not on a school roll, not already known by the local authority to be EHE or in education other than at school (EOTAS), the intention is to create a database of children of compulsory school age in each area.
There will be a wider package of support for EHE children and young people to enhance their learning experience and development opportunities, and to complement this, a new home educator’s handbook that contains detailed advice and information to support home educators should they require it.
In developing these proposals, my officials will continue to work closely with other officials across government on safeguarding policy and practice.
In the current year we are supporting both the administration costs of local authorities in relation to home education and funding education resources and activities for home educated learners with £1.7m of funding available. This funding is unique to Wales.