The Local Government Association (LGA) has recently submitted a briefing to the House of Lords regarding home education. The briefing largely focuses on the LGA’s concerns around councils having no power to enter homes or see children who are home educated. This, in turn, makes it difficult to carry out their safeguarding responsibilities. The briefing also raises concerns around illegal schools and calls for a clearer definition of ‘school’ to aid with classifying and closing down these schools.
The briefing draws on a report from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) in November 2017, following a survey of all 152 local authorities in England to better understand the context surrounding home education.
Notable for governing boards is the perception of a link between changes in school structures and curriculum reforms, and the number of pupils being withdrawn or excluded from schools.
With this in mind, governing boards should refresh their knowledge and understanding of their legal duties and responsibilities with regard to school exclusions in accordance with the Department for Education’s guidance. Specifically, the guidance is clear that, although headteachers have powers to direct a pupil to be educated off-site to improve their behaviour, or to arrange a managed move with the agreement of all parties, “…the threat of exclusion must never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.”