Friday, 2 October 2009

Leicestershires Second Contribution to the Review

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      Prompt action from schools to notify EHE teams of a child being withdrawn from roll, followed by prompt action from EHE Officers.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


Deb said...

Just to pick on one of the many glaring misrepresentations here:

"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."

Why do they assume that families saying this are not providing a suitable education? It is quite possible to choose EHE to avoid prosecution (who wouldn't want to avoid prosecution?), and then go on to provide an education suitable to age, ability and any SEN the child has.

Kelly said...

So, clearly this particular LA does not accept the principle that it is the parent, and not the state, who has the primary responsibility for the education of the child. It would appear that this LA is most certainly operating, or desiring to operate, ultra vires. Fascinating.

Deb said...

I should thank you for posting this, Maire, as it's nudged me into sending a FOI for Lincolnshire's response too - I'd forgotten about that!

Theirs will probably be pretty similar to this - their original response was full of requests for ultra vires responsibilities - they seem to have already made their mind up they will be creating the new job title of "Monitoring Advisor", and even asked for the money to do this! They must have been overjoyed with Badman's report.

Maire said...

Sorry not to have replied here,will be back soon.

Alison Sauer said...

Do we know who filled this in? I'm finding interesting results depending on whether responses have been filed in by the bod on the ground (often realistic) ortheir manager (often more unrealistic/comlaining about hands being tied)

In addition have talked to some eople at LAs who filled in original Qnrs for review and their answers can often be read two ways. eg when they say "we can't go into the house and see the child all the time" they mean "we are not allowed to and are fine with that" but t comes accross as a complaint. More than 6 local authorities have complained to me recently that they thought the original qnrs were leading and missed the point and didn't understand the law so they found them difficult to answer. SOme have told me that as bods on the ground they were "not allowed" to fill them in and managers took over - one in particular was told not only was she not allowed to fill it in but she wasn't allowed to see it either!!!

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