'Councils should be given powers to enter homes to check on a child’s schooling, LGA says'
'The government has been accused by councils of watering down plans to improve oversight of the growing number of school-aged children who are educated at home in England, leaving some of them at risk of a second-rate education or worse.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, says government proposals to introduce a compulsory register for home-schooled children are welcome but do not go far enough to protect children and ensure they get a high-quality education.
In combination with the register, the LGA wants councils to be given additional powers that would enable them to enter a family home or other premises to check on a child’s schooling. Without those powers – and more funding to enact them – the LGA says concerns will persist for a minority of children who could be at risk of neglect or poor 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.”
Damian Hinds announced in April that parents would be required to register home-educated children with their local authority under government proposals intended to prevent young people from disappearing off the radar.
An estimated 60,000 children in England are thought to be educated at home – a figure that is rising by about a quarter each year. The register will for the first time enable authorities to see where children are if they are not in school and intervene more effectively if required.'
Read more: Government proposals 'fall short' on 'helping' home-schooled children