Skip to main content

Elective Home Education Survey 2018

In autumn 2018, ADCS issued a survey to all 152 local authorities (LAs) in England to understand better the volume and characteristics of this cohort of children and young people who are known to be home schooled and the support on offer to them and their families. Headline findings from this exercise include:

  • 106 responding LAs recorded a total of 40,359 children and young people known to be home schooled on school census day, 4 October 2018. It can therefore be estimated that there were 57,873 children and young people being home schooled across the 152 LAs in England.

This represents an increase of approximately 27% from 5 October 2017, when this exercise was last carried out

  • Across the 106 responding LAs, the number of known home-schooled children and young people has increased in each of the past five years, by an average of approximately 20% each year
  • Overall there is a significant jump in the number of children being home schooled between key stages one and two. Key Stage 4 saw the largest percentage increase of those being home schooled from 2017 (32%), however, the majority are in Key Stage 3
  • LAs reported that an average of 11% of their home schooling cohort were known to children’s social care, both historic and/or current. On average, 18% of their home schooling cohort were known to wider children’s services, meaning that nearly a third of the known cohort had some contact with children’s services
  • At any one point in the academic year, a total of 54,204 children and young people were known to be home schooled in 105 responding LAs, meaning somewhere in the region of an estimated 78,466 were known to be home schooled in England during 2017/18
  • A combined total of 515 School Attendance Orders (SAOs) were issued relating to the suitability of home schooling. This represents a relative increase of approximately 112% from 2017
  • The majority of respondents reported that over 80% of their known cohort had previously attended school, with general dissatisfaction with the school being the most commonly cited reason for families choosing to home school.

Commentary provided by LA staff highlighted a wide appetite for a registration requirement for home schooled children to help identify those who are not receiving a suitable full-time education and to safeguard them. LAs remain concerned around the practice of home schooling being presented to parents as an option to avoid exclusion or fines, especially where a child has complex and overlapping health and social care needs.

This year, elective home education has received a renewed focus in the media and from government, with two consultations and a call for evidence released by the Department for Education, as well as the progression of Lord Soley’s Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill. ADCS believes parents and carers who opt to electively home educate should register with the LA and LAs should be resourced to establish systems and safeguards to assure themselves that children and young people who are home schooled are receiving a good standard of education, delivered in a suitable learning environment, and that they are safe.