Leicestershire (copied separately from case study data submission)
I'd be grateful if you could also think about:
· What proportion of your current caseload do you think have safeguarding implications (excluding concerns about suitability or amount of education)?
These are cases known to Social Care or where I have been denied access or where I have had concerns forwarded to me from the school or the Education Welfare Service.
· What action is needed to help safeguard these children better?
Prompt action from schools to notify EHE teams of a child being withdrawn from roll, followed by prompt action from EHE Officers.
Close liaison with Social Care and neighbouring authorities.
Action needs to be taken to prevent families who move in and out of authorities getting lost. In order to achieve this families need to feel there is a point in being known to the authority and that they belong. If EHE was seen by schools as a legitimate educational destination it would increase the priority felt when contacting the EHE teams. Ideally, families should notify the ‘home’ authority and the ‘home’ authorities notify the ‘destination’ authority when families move.
Ideally, families should not be able to choose home education without having an education philosophy and a plan of intent that is approved by the authority prior to withdrawing from the school roll. (The plan does not have to be in the school model)
Ideally, families should expect to engage with the authority at least annually.
· What proportion of your EHE caseload is known to social care?
4.25%. (Due, for example, to housing and neighbour issues or inappropriate sexual contact.
Suitability of Education
this is a key area and we'd like a discussion about assessment of suitability at our meeting. Other questions include - you have already told us in the questionnaire about your estimated proportion of children in your area who are not receiving a suitable education, in your estimation:
One of the difficulties is the vagueness of the word ‘suitable’ and the phrase ‘fits the child for life in their own community.’ Families who wish to remain unknown to their authority sometimes do this as a result of fear they are ‘doing it wrong’ Working towards an agreed basic standard (e.g. developing a child’s literacy and numeracy plus ICT and project work could be done in whatever way the family wishes) may provide something that they family could feel proud of.
· What proportion are not receiving any education?
Very difficult to say. At the moment I have 3.78% of cases who have to improve their provision or they will be referred to EWS.
11.32% of my case load is traveller children. The education these children are offered prepares them for life within their community but is a significantly different model to even the autonomous education offered by some non-travelling families, and has very specific outcomes.
· What proportion are being home educated to avoid prosecution for non-attendance?
Often the families say “we had to do this as we didn’t want to be prosecuted”, sometimes the EWO registers their concern that the family has chosen to educate this way to avoid prosecution.
School Attendance Orders
· Do you use them? If not, why not?
· Are SAOs effective? If not, what needs to change?
The process of a School Attendance Order is very extended and when a case is placed before the
Magistrates Court the parents can only be fined for not complying with the Order. If the parent then fails to admit the child onto a school roll the whole process has to start again. What is needed is for the Magistrates to have the power to ‘direct’ families to admit their child onto a school roll, giving a date of admittance, and then for action to be taken under section 444 of the Education Act 1996 if they fail to do this. The current process results in children being out of school for an extended period of time.
· Are other sanctions appropriate?
· What would be an effective deterrent to choosing EHE for parents wishing to avoid prosecution for non-attendance?
Ideally families should write a plan/educational philosophy and set out the ways in which they intend to educate their child/ren and have it agreed before they are allowed to remove them from the school roll.
Destinations of EHE youngsters post-16
Do you know how many EHE youngsters are NEET post 16 (bearing in mind many EHE parents would say their children are still being educated at home when they are 16-18)
Not known at this point. I am working towards developing this, currently having good relationships with Connexions as a starting point