DfE to consult on home schooling and out-of-school settings

A consultation on improving standards of home schooling has been launched by the Department for Education (DfE), while it also plans to consult on a voluntary code for out-of-school 'education' settings.

The DfE’s ‘call for evidence’ asks for the views of parents and local authorities on how to ensure children receive an expected standard of education at home.

The responses will help the DfE increase oversight of the estimated 45,500 children who are currently home schooled.

Parents and local authorities will be asked for their views on:

  • how local authorities can monitor the quality of home education to make sure children are taught the knowledge and skills they need
  • how effective registration schemes are for children who are educated at home
  • how the Government can better support families who choose to educate their children at home

The call for evidence will run for 12 weeks and will ask for views from families, local authorities and home education support groups.

The results will inform the Government’s approach to building on the existing requirements for local authorities to identify children they believe are not receiving a suitable education and their powers, which can ultimately include serving a School Attendance Order.

The DfE is also seeking comments on draft versions of two guidance documents about elective home education. One is designed for local authorities and the other for parents.

The guidance for local authorities aims to set out the processes by which they should identify children who are being educated at home, and how best to intervene if children are not receiving a suitable education.

For parents, it aims to offer support and advice on whether or not home education is the right decision for them and their child, while making clear the powers local authorities have and the steps parents should take if concerns arise.

Out-of-school response

The DfE has also published its response to the consultation on regulation for out of school settings which attracted over 18,000 responses.

A consultation on a voluntary code of practice for out-of-school education settings will be published later this year to set out what is expected of providers, and the DfE will work with local authorities to provide guidance to parents on out-of-school settings.

Minister for School Systems Lord Agnew said, ‘Across the country there are thousands of dedicated parents who are doing an excellent job of educating their children at home, and many selfless volunteers working for clubs and organisations that help to enrich children’s education outside of school.

‘It is right that we should build on the high standards we’ve set in our schools so that every child receives a suitable and safe education – no matter where they are being taught – and that we can act quickly in the rare instances when this is not the case. This support for families and local communities will help ensure all children get the education they deserve.’

  • The consultation on home schooling closes on 2 July 2018.

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