Written evidence submitted by National Association for Hospital Education


Education Select Committee inquiry into Home Education -


       The duties of local authorities with regards to home education, including safeguarding and assuring the quality of home education;

We have all seen a significant increase in the number of requests for families opting to EHE their child rather than return to school and face the risk of infections. LAs should ensure that there is a ‘cooling’ off period where they talk to the family about the implications of removing hem e.g. no financial support, can’t just put them back on roll, cost and venue for exams.  LAs will need to satisfy themselves that there are no safeguarding concerns, and if they had a register of EHE children, they could phone and check/do home visits once a term. LAs could be more rigorous on asking parents for their education plans/timetables etc. LAs need at least one dedicated officer. This person could then arrange events for them on a Saturday e.g. at one of the colleges to support transition – this would also be a way to get eyes on them from a safeguarding point of view. LAs also need to consider how they will quality assure what is being offered.



       whether a statutory register of home-educated children is required;

Yes – this would mean that there would not be any ‘missing’ children and that parents had a point of contact at their local authority



       the benefits children gain from home education, and the potential disadvantages they may face;

Parent should have the opportunities to teach their child at home but need to be made fully aware of what this involves. Parents who plan carefully, use their surrounding environments and a risk source of resources give their children an opportunity to experience things way beyond the restrictions of the curriculum that it is inspected in schools. Many children thrive in this environment.

The disadvantages are that parents have no idea what to do but may be persuaded to home educate rather than have their child excluded. If the parent works, they cannot supervise or provide the educational support a child may need. They have no additional finance to support the purchase or resources, and have to find external venues for exams


       the quality and accessibility of support (including financial support) available for home educators and their children, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or caring responsibilities, and those making the transition to further and higher education;

The support available for home educators is almost non existent and varies from local authority to local authority. Children with SEND do not have access to the expertise to help them progress in specific areas, and home education can increase the child’s feeling of isolation and so mean that they are mor prone to mental health difficulties. Those who are ‘carers’ have no access to any respite and are essentially missing out on their social education. If a child is admitted to hospital/CAMHS inpatient they would then be entitled to educational support. This does not continue once they go home as they are well enough o access education in their normal venue – which is home.

There is no one to advise and support the move to post 16 provision either meaning that unless they have proactive parents, they may end up as NEET.

Often parents realise their mistake and think that the process of getting their child back on the roll of their last school is easy – not appreciating how challenging this is. Deciding to home educate is a difficult choice to then reverse and very often, children will struggle with the restrictions they have to abide by in a mainstream school setting.


       whether the current regulatory framework is sufficient to ensure that the wellbeing and academic achievement of home educated children is safeguarded, including where they may attend unregistered schools, have been formally excluded from school, or have been subject to ‘off-rolling’;

No it is not sufficient. Once a child becomes home educated, they disappear from everyone’s lists and are effectively ‘missing’. Those in unregistered schools have no safeguarding and o inspections to check on safeguarding and compliance. Those formally excluded from schools should be provided with alternative provision rather than becoming home educated. However, home education may be used as a way of preventing exclusion and the stigma of being excluded appearing in a child’s records. Within the DfE own statutory guidance’ Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school due to health needs’ (2013) actually permits off rolling if a child with medical needs would be too unwell to return to school before the end of year 11. This has to be authorised by the ‘school medical officer’ who does not exist. This means that schools decide who that is and use that guidance. Parents feel that they have no choice and it leaves a child often feeling rejected and unwanted.

One local authority last year off rolled all their year 11s who were dual registered in the medical AP so that they could claim the AWPU from the schools to prop up their high needs funding. Parents and pupils were not consulted nor did they know anything about it.


       the role that inspection should play in future regulation of home education;

This is really difficult as there is no legal framework to allow inspectors into the home, and this would not be appropriate. Inspectors could ask schools about the reasons for home educating decisions and look at pupils who have left the school. However, the home school would no longer have any responsibility, unless legislation is brought from the Timpson recommendations – this would support inspection of home education as school would have to continue to monitor children’s progress – this could be extended further than for just excluded pupils.



       what improvements have been made to support home educators since the 2010-15 Education Committee published their report on ‘Support for Home Education’ in 2012;

We are not aware of any improvements. Again, this is entirely dependent on the approach of the local authority and where they are cutting back on services, local authority officers for EHE are not the norm.


       the impact COVID-19 has had on home educated children, and what additional measures might need to be taken in order to mitigate any negative impacts.’

Difficult to say as in theory, they would not have necessarily noticed any impact – except they would not be able to go out for their learning experiences. They may not have had opportunity for social interactions that mainstream children could access via the remote platforms, meaning that the impact of social isolation may have been heightened. However, access to the Oak Academy resources may have helped parents who lacked resources previously. Promotion of the use of Oak Academy resources could be useful to mitigate some of the gaps that may have occurred. Other online learning could be used, but the parent would need to be aware of monitoring, similarly for use of social media.


October 2020