Table of Contents
- Children's Commissioner
- Changes Dropped
- EHE Guidance 2017
- Database Consultation
- Summary Home Education Law in Wales
- How Many Children Are Home Educated in Wales
- SEN Numbers and SAOs
- Regulation Out of School Settings Wales
- Children Missing Education Wales
- Going to college in England
- Revised Guidance Safeguarding Children Education
- Deregistering a Child from School in Wales
- Current Regulations for SEN
- Changes Proposed for ALN in Wales
- Flexischooling in Wales
- EOTAS Standards in Wales
Home Education in Wales
Children's Commissioner Report February 2021
At the end of February 2021 the Childrens Commissioner published a review into the excercise of the Welsh Government's functions regarding home education and independent schools.
On June 22nd 2020 the Welsh Government published a statement saying that "it will not now be possible to complete the planned work on the home education statutory guidance and database regulations within this Government term."
Effectively what this means is that the proposed changes have been dropped. A government "term" is the span between two elections. The next election for a new government in Wales will take place in May 2021.
Home Education Guidance 2017
Home education guidance for Wales was published on January 9th 2017. At the time of writing on December 5th 2020 this remains current. NB on June 22nd 2020 the Welsh Government abandoned proposals to change the guidance.
PAGE ARCHIVED JUNE 2020. LINK
On January 30th 2020 the Welsh Government launched a public consultation inviting comments on new draft regulations which would require each local authority to set up a database of all compulsory school age children in their area to assist them in identifying children not on any maintained school’s roll, education other than at school (EOTAS) roll, or independent school roll.
These proposals were dropped in June 2020. Scroll up the page to see more.
Estyn Report Offrolling October 2019
"Over the last three years, increasing evidence has come to light that schools may also be using off-rolling or other inappropriate registration practices to improve their performance data at the end of key stage 4": https://www.estyn.gov.wales/thematic-reports/pupil-registration-practices published October 2019.
Home Education Law in Wales
The principle primary legislation which applies to elective home education is the Education Act 1996 and the Education and Inspection Act 2006. Section 7 of the Education Act (England and Wales) 1996 states that "the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable — (1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (2) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."
Section 4 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006 deals with Children Missing Education and introduces Section 436A into the 1996 Education Act. Scroll down or click here to read more about Children Missing Education law and guidance for Wales. The procedure to be followed when a parent takes a child out of school for home education (known as deregistration) is covered by Pupil Registration Regulations Wales. Scroll down or click here to read more about deregistration.
Wales has had the power to make its own education legislation - separate from England - since 2011. More. Following the 2016 elections in Wales, A Labour minority Government with Plaid was formed, and Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams was appointed Education Secretary(replacing Labour's Huw Lewis)
How Many Children Are Home Educated in Wales?
A headcount of children in Wales known to be home educated is carried out each January by local authorities and published by the Welsh Government in July/August. In November 2020 I put in a Freedom of Information request for the 2020 figures which I could not find on the Government website.
A limited amount of information was published regarding EOTAS numbers on January 14th 2021 and can be found here. This page states "The 2019/20 data collection was not completed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For this reason, only 14 local authorities were able to submit data and this headline only relates to those authorities. We are publishing this release in the interest of transparency. The data has not undergone the full validation process this year, in particular it has not been part of the validation process as part of the Welsh Local Government Finance Settlement which happens in May each year. The data may therefore be of a lower quality than previous years and any comparisons over time should be treated with caution. We do not have any information on which to estimate what the impact of this might be on the quality of the data."
There does not appear to be any further information beyond the initial headline web page.
August 2019: "Local authorities reported that in 2018/19, 2,626 pupils were known to be electively home educated. Of these pupils, 109 were known to not be of compulsory school age so they were excluded from the figures contained in this release, leaving a total of 2,517 pupils. Data on electively home educated pupils is not mandatory for the local authority to provide. In some years, there is not full coverage from all local authorities for this data (presented in table 10). Known under-coverage includes 2016/17 and 2017/18 Carmarthenshire did not submit data for home educated pupils."
Key points 2018-19
The number of children (pupils) whose parents have elected to educate them at home has been rising for the past 6 years; 2,517 pupils were electively home educated in 2018/19; Ceredigion had the highest rate of elective home educated pupils in 2018/19; In the 2018/19 academic year 2,517 children were known to be electively home educated in Wales. However, this includes 284 for Carmarthenshire who did not provide figures for 2018 or 2017 but reported 209 in 2016.
The 2019 breakdown was as follows (2018, 2017 in brackets).
Anglesey 37 (37,36) , Gwynnedd 65 (45,53), Conwy 116 (101,76), Denbighshire 80 (65,51), Flintshire 94 (63,71), Wrexham 85 (68,72), Powys 156 (131,133), Ceredigion 171 (151,139), Pembrokeshire 182 (195,132), Carmarthenshire 284 (not provided in 2018 or 2017 but 209 in 2016), Swansea 137 (157,153), Neath Port Talbot 177 (147,117), Bridgend 128 (103,88), The Vale of Glamorgan 68 (45,33), Rhondda Cynon Taff 146 (119, 118), Merthyr Tydfil 43 (42,31), Caerphilly 62 (78,61), Blaenau Gwent 71 (51,30), Torfaen 70 (67,51), Monmouthshire 60 (52,49), Newport 92 (59,42), Cardiff 218 (188,188).
SEN Numbers and SAOs
At the end of 2012 I sent FOIs to all the local authorities in Wales, which revealed that - among other things - a total of 4 School Attendance Orders were issued in 2011-12; around 5% of home educated children in Wales have a statement of SEN; and that a third of Welsh councils have fewer than 25 home educated children on their books, with only 1 LA having more than a 100.
Regulation Out of School Settings WalesLINK Consultation closed April 5th 2016
Wales: Children Missing Education
"Children Missing Education" in both England and Wales comes under section 436a of the Education Act England and Wales 1996 which states:
(1)A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but—
(a)are not registered pupils at a school, and
(b)are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.
(2)In exercising their functions under this section a local education authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(3)In this Chapter, "suitable education", in relation to a child, means efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have."
CME Guidance in Wales (April 2010) differs from the CME Guidance for England. The Welsh CME Guidance section on elective home education is largely taken from the 2006 Home Education Guidelines for Wales.
See also Welsh Government circular no: 002/2017 March 2017 "A practical toolkit to help identify children and young people missing education" where the home education section is the same as the 2010 guidance.
The Review into Dylan Seabridge's death was published in July 2016.
Young people in Wales going to college in England
I received the following answer from DfE in August 2014: "A student who is currently living in Wales can receive public funding at a college in England, in some circumstances but education providers must comply with the EFA's rules on claiming public funding for Welsh students set out in the Funding regulations' guidance.
"Some English colleges and education providers are located close to the borders with Wales and Scotland, and may have recruitment areas that normally include areas outside England. Alternatively, the typical 'travel to learn' pattern for students may include an education provider over the border. In these circumstances, there is no issue with providers claiming funding for students. English education providers can only claim funding for Welsh home educated students when they are either within the normal recruitment area, or when the travel to learn patterns for the area include the English provider. The EFA would not expect to see large numbers of Welsh students being funded in English providers."
Revised Guidance Safeguarding Children Education 2015
The Welsh Government consulted on safeguarding in education in 2013
In January 2015 a new guidance document was published. This is a considerable improvement on the proposals contained in the original consultation although the definition of "significant harm" in the Glossary is still incorrect and misleading (see my consultation response for further details)
Deregistration: How Soon Should School Notify Local Authority? Government Guidance 2010
The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 say the child's name should be deleted from the roll BEFORE informing the authority. It makes no difference if the child has a statement of SEN unless he/she is a registered pupil at a special school (see Pupil Registration Regulations for Wales, paragraph 8.(2))
(3) When the name of a pupil has been deleted from the admission register in accordance with regulation 8(1)(c), (d), (g), (i) or (m), the proprietor must make a return to the local authority giving the full name and address of that pupil within the ten school days immediately following the date on which the pupil’s name was so deleted.Pupil Registration Regulations Wales 2010
Current Regulations for SEN
The Welsh Special Educational Needs Code of Practice has exactly the same paragraphs dealing with education otherwise than at school in cases where the child has a statement of SEN as the 2001 SEN Code for England. (The system in England was changed for new cases from September 2014)
Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (Wales) 2004
8:95 Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 recognises parents’ right to choose to educate their child at home. Such arrangements are described as ‘education otherwise than at school’. In such cases, if the child has a statement of special educational needs, it remains the LEA’s duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met. The statement must remain in force and the LEA must ensure that parents can make suitable, provision, including provision for the child’s special educational needs. If the parent’s arrangements are suitable the LEA are relieved of their duty to arrange the provision specified in the statement. If, however, the parents’ attempt to educate the child at home results in provision which falls short of meeting the child’s needs, then the parents are not making ‘suitable arrangements’ and the LEA could not conclude that they were absolved of their responsibility to arrange the provision in the statement. Even if the LEA is satisfied, the LEA remains under a duty to maintain the child’s statement and to review it annually, following the procedures set out in Chapter Nine. 8:96 In such situations section 324 (4A) of the Education Act 1996 does not require the name of a school to be specified in Part 4 of the statement. Part 4 should state the type of school the LEA consider appropriate but go on to say that: "parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996." The statement can also specify any provision that the LEA have agreed to make under section 319 to help parents provide suitable education for their child at home." p.111
Changes Proposed for Additional Learning Needs in Wales
Flexischooling in Wales
"Q9: I have a pupil who is home educated for 2 days a week under our flexi-schooling policy. What code should I use for the days that the pupil is not in school?
A: You will need to use Code C. As a school you have agreed to the flexi schooling arrangement and have effectively agreed an authorised absence."
FAQ April 2016 via this page (Welsh Government, Education and Skills, Information and data collection, Attendance Collection)
EOTAS Standards in Wales
EOTAS is NOT home education by parents. 2016 Estyn Thematic Report "Across Wales there is a lack of understanding about the registration requirements for pupils receiving EOTAS. Most local authorities do not monitor or oversee EOTAS or alternative provision robustly enough."
In June 2020 the Welsh Government published a review of the commissioning managing and monitoring practices and resources for EOTAS in Wales which can be read here
The review offers nine recommendations for the Welsh Government to adopt within its commissioning guidance, around reinforcing current legislation, clarifying the rights of pupils, formalising the steps for EOTAS referrals including the use of panels, quality assurance and regulation of external providers, monitoring and quality assuring provision, strengthening safeguarding, and Government's expectations of local authorities.
Children Young People and Education Committee consultation into EOTAS announced July 2019, deadline October 18th 2019, focusing on:
"Reasons for and support available for children and young people at risk of EOTAS, including through their exclusion from mainstream provision; How effectively parents are engaged and supported throughout the EOTAS process; The variation in rates of EOTAS for children and young people with particular characteristics (such as learners with special educational needs or who are eligible for free school meals) and the consequences of this; The levels of financial support available to support EOTAS and children and young people at risk of becoming EOTAS and whether this represents value for money; Responsibility and accountability for the education of pupils who become EOTAS; Attainment of children and young people EOTAS; Outcomes and wellbeing of children and young people EOTAS; The quality of support provided to children and young people in the range of EOTAS provision; Professional development support for Pupil Referral Unit staff, including those who provide home tuition; The potential risks for children and young people EOTAS such as increased barriers to accessing mental health support, increased risk of involvement with crime and the criminal justice system such as ‘county lines’; Other issues closely linked to EOTAS, for example managed moves, and the ‘off-rolling’ of pupils."
NB "the Committee’s inquiry will include individual home tuition but will not focus on the separate issue of elective home education."