Elective Home Education

The Education Scrutiny Performance Panel chose to look at this issue because the numbers of requests to de-register pupils and to electively home educate them had increased resulting from the Covid situation. 

The Panel heard that the local authority is not responsible for the provision of elective home education or under any statutory obligation to support it. However, under section 436A of the Education Act 1996, the local authority has a duty to arrange to identify children not receiving a suitable education.  That although there is no legal framework for the local authority to regularly monitor provision of home education, the Council are mindful of its wider duties of care, and do contact parents to discuss their ongoing home education provision.

The Council accepts and respects the right of parents to choose to electively home educate and are mindful of our boundaries.

You can watch the video from this meeting by following this link

The Panel were told that support and safeguards include a focus on building positive relationships with the elective home education community, offering signposting, advice and guidance. If there is a circumstance, which gives rise to concerns education officers will liaise with other relevant services and agencies. In addition, School Attendance Orders can be used as a last resort if there is a concern appropriate education is not being provided.

The Panel were pleased to hear that any pupil who has received their education at home can apply to be readmitted to a maintained school at any time.  The Panel understand that some parents are fearful about children returning to school because of Covid particularly where there are family health concerns.  Councillors were encouraged to hear that a more flexible approach is being used at present.

Councillors heard that new statutory guidance from Welsh Government was consulted upon in October 2019 but is currently on hold as COVID 19 responses took priority. The Panel were pleased to hear Swansea is prepared to take on the requirements of the statutory guidance if/when it is implemented.

The Panel were reassured by the approach that the Council is taking to pupils being electively home educated.  They are pleased to hear about the safeguards that are in place, based on the current limited Welsh Government guidelines. The Panel would like to see a register of electively home-educated pupils be developed but recognise that this is in the reach of the Welsh Government. Councillors therefore look forward to seeing that statutory guidance when it is published in due course.

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