Kent Policy Consultation 2015
Kent New Policy December 2015
At the end of November 2015, Kent County Council Cabinet formally adopted a new elective home education policy which can also be found in Appendix 2 of the Report to Kent councillors here. It was announced by Patrick Leeson here. Kent's home education web page is here
Kent's new policy remains substantially the same as the 2014 draft insofar as some families will be given the benefit of the doubt and will not be asked for proof, while other families will be actively investigated as soon as they start home educating. Investigation will occur where:
a) The child has a history of persistent unauthorised absence from school (15% or higher);
b) The child has a record of poor attainment at school as measured by progression in performance using prior attainment and National Curriculum Test Results as the basis for assessment;
c) The child has previously been permanently excluded from school(s) or has been subject to more than one fixed term exclusion whilst at school;
d) The child has been referred to early help and/or to children's social care.
In the above cases, the child’s name will go on the Children Missing Education register if parents turn down a meeting - where the child must be present - or fail to produce evidence which satisfies the council.
The final policy does have more information about how it will attempt to monitor schools and support parents to get school places back through Fair Access, but there are no sanctions and ultimately it relies on the goodwill of schools, as seen by the quote below where the word "ask" is used four times. Other new items are access to licenced learning materials in core subjects for low income families, plus the LA is reviewing the letters sent to families, and home education officers will offer to liaise with local groups. (See Report to councillors page 29)
"Schools are asked to take every step to avoid a decision by parents to home educate in situations where more could be done to address problems and improve concerns. The Policy asks schools to ensure there is a cooling off period before a child's name is removed from the school roll. Can I ask schools to please involve Early Help or the EHE Team to work with families who may be about to decide to home educate, or where there are home-school issues that could be mediated and improved. And lastly can I please ask schools to be helpful where we are working with a family of a home educated child or young person and there is a wish to return to school. Many of these children and young people are among our most vulnerable learners and we must do everything we can to secure the best educational chances for them." [LINK]
It remains to be seen how rigidly the policy will be enforced, for example where a child has been traumatised by the experience of school and families are passionately opposed to the child being interviewed. Kent also hasn't explained whether a child will be counted as "missing education" at the same time as being home educated. The choice seems to be between double-counting or making home education registration dependent on council approval.
Final Equality Impact Assessment 8 December 2015
Summary Responses Received 8 December 2015