New register for home-educated children likely

The government is reportedly consulting on plans to launch a new register of children in England who are being educated at home.

Government officials say a register would help councils to intervene when standards are poor or if children are at risk, with it being the parents' responsibility to register their child if they were not attending a state school or registered private school. It is currently estimated that the number of children being home educated in England has risen to 60,000.

The proposals are also investigating a requirement for local authorities to provide support for home-educating families, such as teaching resources or financial contributions towards exam fees.

Education Secretary Damiam Hinds said: "As a government, we have a duty to protect our young people and do our utmost to make sure they are prepared for life in modern Britain. That's why this register of children not in school is so important - not to crack down on those dedicated parents doing an admirable job of educating their children in their own homes but to prevent vulnerable young people from vanishing under the radar."

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The LGA has long-called for a register of children not in school and we look forward to seeing these proposals implemented as a matter of urgency. A register will help councils to monitor how children are being educated and prevent them from disappearing from the oversight of services designed to keep them safe.

“Councils fully support the rights of parents to educate their children in the best way that they see fit, and the vast majority of parents who home educate their children do a fantastic job, and work well with their local council to make sure that a good education is being provided.

“For the minority of children where this is not the case, councils need to be able to check a child’s schooling, to make sure they are being taught a suitable and appropriate education in a safe environment. This is why the government needs to go further and change the law to give councils the powers and appropriate funding to enter homes or other premises to check a child’s schooling."

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