On January 28th 2015 Kent County Council Cabinet approved a new elective home education [EHE] policy. The policy can be found here (extract from the Agenda and Reports Pack for the Cabinet meeting on January 28th)
Home educators in Kent were not aware that the policy had been approved and have not been asked for their views.
Extracts from Kent County Council’s Elective Home Education Policy
“Where one or more of the conditions set out below are met, KCC will expect every child whose parent(s) elect to home educate to participate in a meeting with an EHE Officer and the child at a mutually convenient time and place in order to satisfy KCC of the suitability of the education provision proposed.
To ensure that the critical voice of the child is heard and to establish education suitability, KCC will request that both the child and evidence of learning are seen.
Where one or more of the conditions set out below are met, education will not be recorded as suitable if this meeting is not facilitated.
The conditions where this meeting would be required are:
(a) The child has a history of persistent unauthorised absence from school (by persistent absence, KCC mean absence of 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.
From past experience the presence of one or more of these factors is a strong indication that the child in question may well not be receiving a suitable education and may be seriously under-achieving.
Evidence at this meeting could include a report about the education provided, an assessment by a qualified third party or by showing samples of their child’s learning supported with input from the child.
Should the offer of a meeting be declined where one of the above four conditions are present, the LA will not be able to state that a suitable education is being offered.
The LA will also record that there has been no opportunity to speak to the child regarding their education.
In this case the child’s name will be added to the Children Missing Education register until such time as it becomes possible to ascertain that they are receiving suitable education.
This information will also be made available for the KCC Children’s Social Services Teams.”
Kent CC has an Elective Home Education web page where you won’t find a link to the policy but you will find a link to an “Elective Home Education Information Sheet.” The Information Sheet doesn’t mention the new policy.
The minutes of the January 28th Cabinet meeting (here) state “Mr Gough [Cabinet Member for Education and Young People’s Services] confirmed that in the weeks following the agreement of the revised policy, [ie from February onwards] KCC would seek to engage as widely as possible with EHE families to receive feedback on the policy”.
I have sent a Freedom of Information request asking for the Equalities Impact Assessment and for any letters and emails sent to home educating families regarding the new policy.
Roger Gough informed Cabinet in January 2015 that there had been “consideration [of the EHE policy] by the Education and Young People’s Cabinet Committee”
However, the minutes of the December Education and Young People’s Cabinet Committee simply say that “Mr Gough advised that the Elective Home Education – Adoption of Policy report would be submitted to the 13 January 2015 meeting.” [rescheduled to January 28th] The web page for the December 2014 Education and Young People’s Cabinet Committee meeting is here.
In July 2014 Kent Cabinet attempted to introduce a new elective home education policy but following an outcry, Cabinet agreed to defer consideration until the Autumn and to liaise with home education groups. A small number of home educating families had a short meeting with the council on September 2nd 2014 at which point the council gave assurances there would be wider consultation.
Background information here