Councils should check on home-schooled children, LGA says

As reported by The Guardian, the LGA has said that councils should be allowed to more closely monitor home-schooled children

The Local Government Association (LGA) has said that councils should be given the power to check on home-schooled children.

The LGA has accused the government of ‘watering down’ plans to improve monitoring of home-schooled children.

It believes that this will lead to these children receiving a sub-par education.

The LGA says that, while proposals to introduce a register for home-schooled pupils are welcome, they don’t protect them or their education.

Without the power to check on those children, the LGA believes they could be at risk of neglect or struggle with future prospects.

“We know that most children get a good education at home and fully support parents’ rights to home-educate their children,” said Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board.

“But there is a minority of cases where home-schooled children are not receiving a suitable education or being educated in a safe environment. Those children have got to be our priority.

“It is good the government is introducing a register but this risks failing to protect children unless it goes further. It needs to toughen up its plans and give councils the powers and appropriate funding to enter homes or other premises to speak to children and check their schooling.”

Around 60,000 children in England are home-schooled, and numbers are rising.

The proposed register – announced by Damian Hinds earlier this year – will allow authorities to keep tabs on children and intervene if required.

The education secretary said at the time of his announcement: “As a government, we have a duty to protect our young people and do our utmost to make sure they are prepared for life in modern Britain.

“That’s why this register of children not in school is so important: not to crack down on those dedicated parents doing an admirable job of educating their children in their own homes, but to prevent vulnerable young people from vanishing under the radar.”

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In its original consultation, the Department for Education included the possibility of allowing councils additional powers – but the proposal was dropped.

The LGA is now urging the department to reconsider.

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