Table of Contents
- My Main Areas of Research:Home Education and Local Authorities
- Local Authority Spend on Staff Costs
- Statistics Home Educated Children with Statement SEN
- Ofsted and Home Education
- Funding for College, SEN Support, Access to Exams
- SEN Pathfinders
- Number of Young People Affected by Change from DLA to PIP
- Variability Policies Procedures Elective Home Education in Wales
- Summary List of My Research
- International Center for Home Education Research
- Research into Home Education Numbers
- Cambridge Review Primary Futures Alternative Education
- Paula Rothermel: Home Education Research
- Alan Thomas: Informal Learning
- Gary Knowles From Pedagogy to Ideology US Home Education 1970-1990
- Brian Ray HSDLA Survey 7,000+ Home Educated Adults
- Fraser Institute: Homeschooling from the Extreme to the Mainstream
- HSDLA Lawrence Rudner 20,000+ Achievement Test Scores
- HSDLA Brian Ray Study Home Education Success
- HSDLA Socialisation: Homeschoolers are in the Real World
Home Education and Local Authorities
My main area of investigation is the diversity of local authorities with respect to home education. I send out Freedom of Information requests and aim for a full set of responses. My research was cited at the Education Committee September 2012 and also mentioned in the Committee's Report published in December 2012 Over the past few years have carried out research into how many home educated children there are in England, what support there is for home educated young people finding somewhere to sit exams, and how much local authorities spend on staffing costs for elective home education. What I don't research is outcomes for home educated children for example the number and type of qualifications by age 16, places obtained in further and higher education, or subsequent employment and earnings.
Local Authority Spend on Staff Costs 2011-13
Following the publication of the Education Committee's Recommendations into Support for Home Education in December 2012, I sent FOIs to all LAs in England and I have published a comprehensive set of answers here http://edyourself.org/articles/2013foissenandlocationehe.php
Home Educated Children with Statement SEN 2012-13Statistics on home educated children with a statement of SEN will be used to inform my contribution to the home education sections of the revised SEN Code of Practice.
Ofsted and Home Education 2012-13I wrote to Ofsted in December 2012 and asked "Does Ofsted issue a checklist for inspectors undertaking a scrutiny of local authority procedures for home education?" http://edyourself.org/ofstedchildprotectionfoi.pdf On receiving the response from Ofsted, I wrote a memo with Tricia Farey and Jane Lowe of the Home Education Advisory Service which was submitted to the Education Committee. "Ofsted's duties with regard to elective home education must be clarified since at present local authorities must choose between following the law or pleasing Ofsted". Our points were raised with Michael Wilshaw at Committee in February 2013. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/uc980-i/uc98001.htm and http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/writev/980/m09.htm
Funding For College/SEN Support + Access To Exams 2011-12
Initial research into funding in 2011 and my research into local authority support in finding an exam centre was carried out as a follow-up to the All Party Group for Home Education Meeting in September 2011. My findings on variable access to exams were picked up by the Education Committee, which recommended in December 2012 "that the Government place a duty on every local authority to ensure access to local centres for home-educated young people to sit accredited public examinations".
The Department for Education first clarified the position with regard to home education funding for under-16s college places and for SEN support at the end of 2011 and I wanted to assess the impact of the new guidance; to analyse the reasons for innovation and also to examine the possible reasons for inability or unwillingness to innovate. In addition I wanted to provide detailed information about models of good practice, in an attempt to mitigate -or at least to highlight - the postcode lottery. My findings showed that 4 out of 5 authorities were unlikely to claim the funding, and when the Minister was challenged on this by the Education Committee, we had the first public indication that the Government was going to change the rules so that 14-16s could apply directly to college and for the college to be funded by the Education Funding Agency rather than the local authority.
SEN Pathfinders 2012
In late Spring 2012 I published a full set of FOI responses from SEN Pathfinder Pilot areas which revealed that the pilots were at a much less advanced stage than the Government seemed to be claiming, and my investigation into SEN Green Paper Pathfinder Pilots'delay in selecting families to take part was picked up by John Harris and Jessica Shepherd at the Guardian. The Education Committee was also able to quiz the Minister on how legislation could proceed before the trials had properly tested the new proposals for a single integrated education, health and care plan, and in November 2012, the Minister told the Committee that the Pathfinders would be extended for a further 18 months.
Number of Young People Affected by Change from Disability Living Allowance to PIP 2012-13
With some of my investigations, health and welfare overlaps with education. For example in the case of home educated young people with SEN and disabilities currently receiving Disability Living Allowance. I sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Work and Pensions to ascertain how many rising-16s receiving DLA were in the Controlled Start areas, since these young people will be guinea pigs for the new PIP which is to replace DLA, where face to face assessments will be a standard part of the new application process.
Research on Policies and Procedures in Wales 2012
In Autumn 2012 the Welsh Assembly Government put forward plans to change the law on home education. The plans were based on incomplete data. I established the facts by obtaining answers from all Welsh LAs. (Click here for 1 page pdf summary of proposed changes October 2012 http://edyourself.org/summarywaleschange.pdf) I published all the FOI responses from local authorities in Wales here http://edyourself.org/articles/FOIwales2012.php http://edyourself.org/walesfois.pdf http://edyourself.org/walesfoioctober2012.xls I also asked all LAs in Wales whether they had been asked to notify stakeholders about consultation events and published the answers here http://edyourself.org/flawedconsultwales.pdf and here
Summary List of My Research + FOIsOfsted: Elective Home Education in Safeguarding Inspections
Home Education Numbers, England (end 2011)
Policies and Procedures Amongst Welsh Local Authorities
Notifying Stakeholders About Consultation Events, Wales Autumn 2012
Statistics SEN Statements Home Education + Access to Services and Support (FOI December 2012)
Forward Budgets Home Education Services and Support (FOI December 2012)
Freedom of Information Answers re Home Education Funding 2012
Summary Research Home Education Funding 2012
Expanded Funding Report 2012
Summary Research Home Education Funding 2011 and Expanded Funding Report 2011
Report on Access to Exam Centres for Home Educated Children 2012
National Survey Local Authorities' Support with Finding Exam Centre 2011
Numbers of 15 Year Olds Claiming DLA in Controlled Start Areas
International Center Home Education Research, added October 2012http://icher.org/blog/ International Center for Home Education Resarch, with recent posts on CONSTITUTIONALITY OF HOME EDUCATION, PREVIOUSLY HOMESCHOOLED COLLEGE FRESHMEN, VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOLS; HOW HOMESCHOOLING MOTHERS JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS; SOCIAL CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGE
How Many Children are Home Educated in England?
In the past, research into home education numbers has tended to extrapolate and generalise from a limited data set. While many local authorities are happy to co-operate with FOIs and are set up to identify the person who holds the information, this is by no means universal and with a few authorities I have to send up to a dozen chase-up emails before the information is finally retrieved. I have found individual FOI officers to be very helpful, and I believe the majority of problems arise when the FOI department is not clear who would be able to answer the question or where the service area ignores the request. When local authority home education numbers have been published in the past, it has not been clear whether numbers are being taken at a particular point in the year or whether they represent the total accumulated throughout the year. It is also assumed that previous trends will continue into the future. With my own investigations into home education numbers in England, I made every effort to assemble a full data set. I asked all the English authorities at the same time and I made it clear in follow-up correspondence with FOI officers that I was looking for the most recent "snapshot number" rather than the total collected over the academic or calendar year. By April 2012 I was able to report that at the end of 2011, local authorities in England had recorded just over 20,000 home educated children which is a similar figure to 2009. 10 Councils have seen home education numbers fall by 70+ since 2009, while 6 Councils saw similar rise. 52% of local authorities have more home educated children than in 2009 while 34% have fewer and 11% have around the same (with "the same" being defined as less than 5% up or down on 2009 number) There may be a tendency for larger LAs to see a reduction in numbers while the smaller LAs see an increase. It should also be remembered that 63% of Local Authorities have fewer than 100 home educated children.
NB For my home education maps and bar charts, I have also released the source code
Freedom of Information Requests Reveal Number of home educated children 2011 + line graph showing levelling-off numbers between 2008 and 2011
Line graphs showing the trend in numbers of home educated children throughout England between 2005 and 2009
Map showing how many home educated children in England(2009 numbers)
Home Education Research
The Cambridge Primary Review looked at alternative approaches to education such as Steiner and elective home education.
Whilst the outcomes and attainments of home educators are as diverse as those in school or any other educational institution, there are some shared experiences and benchmarks which can be seen as a common factor among a high proportion of children educated outside school.
"In the midst of the many differences in philosophy, outlook and practice of home schoolers, from those who follow the national curriculum pretty rigidly to those whose approach makes Summerhill seem like a model of mainstream pedagogical rectitude, home schooling appears to consistently offer children a more efficacious educational experience even as measured by the standards of normative performativity. One constant in the midst of much complexity is the better than average performance of home schooled children when compared to age cohorts in the general population. Rudner’s (1999) study illustrated that those in grades 1-4 who are educated at home, on average, perform one grade level higher than their public and private school counterparts. Lest this be thought as an effect of early nurture likely to dissipate later in the child’s educational development, it is striking that the performance gap expands as the student progresses so that by 8th grade such children are performing at four grades above the national average in the US."
This research by Paula Rothermel explores the aims and practices of home-educating families from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The methodology involves a questionnaire survey completed by 419 home-educating families and 196 assessments evaluating the psychosocial and academic development of home-educated children aged eleven years and under. The aim was to gain an understanding of children's education outside school. This is the first UK study involving home-educated children and their families, using diverse methodologies, broad aims and large sample. The home-educated children demonstrated high levels of attainment and good social skills. Common to all families involved was their flexible approach to education and the high level of parental attention received by the children. Children benefited from the freedom to develop their skills at their own speed. Home-educating parents fulfilled two separate 'professional' roles - as parents and educators. Further, in the light of these results, the concept of 'taking responsibility' and home-educating, rather than accepting state provision challenges us to consider how far we should go in accepting the 'informed wisdom' of the school norm.
This article by Paula Rothermel reports on the performance of reception-aged, home-educated children. Media reports tend to focus on older home-educated children withdrawing from school but very little is known about younger children many of whom have never been to school. This research sought insight into the learning experience of these young children. The study involved 35 home-educated children aged between four and five years of age, from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The children were assessed using the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (Start and End of Reception).Whilst the home-educated children outscored their school counterparts, those from lower socio-economic groups outperformed their middle class peers. It appeared that a flexible approach to education, and a high level of parental attention and commitment, regardless of their socio- economic group and level of education, seemed the most important factors in the children’s development and progress.
At the very least the research described in this book [Educating Children at Home] confirms that education at home is a viable alternative to school. Parents or carers do not need any special training or qualifications. Moreover, they often educate their children with very limited resources and with little or no professional guidance. This is radical enough in itself, but it goes much further than this. As parents come to grips with the task of educating their children at home they make educational discoveries which do not reveal themselves in the classroom, some of which directly challenge received wisdom and practice. When educational professionals visit home educators their main concern, from their perspective, is whether the parents or carers are able to provide their children with an educational experience on a par with what they would experience in school. There is an assumption, based on accumulated professional expertise, that educational methods and procedures used in school must be the yardstick against which to measure the effectiveness of home education. This is perfectly reasonable, if only because education has taken place in classrooms over such a long period of time. It is natural that home educators should intend to implement these school methods at home. Yet, when parents embark on their task they generally find that it does not turn out as they envisaged. Standard educational methods do not transfer into the home. As the parents fashion a pedagogy suitable to their circumstances, they find themselves trying out approaches which would be impossible even to attempt in school. In so doing, their experiences provide us with new and sometimes striking insights into education and child development. See also http://www.howchildrenlearnathome.co.uk/
20,760 student achievement test scores and their family demographics make this the largest study of home education to date. Results demonstrate that home schooled students are doing exceptionally well and provide an informative portrait of America's modern home education movement. Conducted by Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner, Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation.