In the speech introducing his Home Education Bill on Friday November 24th 2017, Lord Soley said “two of the councils that have been most helpful to me on this are Hampshire and Kent.”
Hampshire is an interesting case. Managers want to spend more money on home education services saying that “the minimal service offer has made it difficult to respond to concerns, such as where a school is clearly of the view that the parent is incapable of EHE, within the existing budgetary and staffing framework.”
This was discussed at a Schools Forum meeting on May 16th 2017. The agenda includes a Report on Elective Home Education attributed to David Harvey (one of two Area Strategic Managers or ASMs) and Tracey Sanders, although only Tracey is mentioned as author in the Report itself.
Lord Soley remembers it as “Hampshire […] took the initiative by contacting me after seeing my Bill” which is a bit confusing as the first public listing I can find for Lord Soley’s bill is 5 weeks after the forum on May 16th which had been informed that “Dave Harvey is […] liaising with Lord Soley” (See minutes May 16th via this page)
Hampshire’s Elective Home Education Report also says that “HCC has an excellent reputation with local home education groups such as Home Educators Educating Together (North Hampshire), Fareham and Gosport Home Education Group (FareGos), New Forest Home Education Group and National Home Education groups such as Education Otherwise and Ed Yourself. It is important that these positive relationships are maintained and built upon …”
(Incidentally, the Elective Home Education Report refers to “Research by HIEPS Research and Evaluation Unit” HIEPS is the council’s educational psychology service and the relevant piece of work can be found here, including some suggestions from home educating parents about “support they would like to be made available from Hampshire County Council, in an ideal world with unlimited funding”)
Kent meanwhile has a significant problem in its schools with offrolling and illegal exclusions which the council associates with home education saying for example that “by tracking the time of year referrals for EHE come into the LA from schools we are able to see a pattern which indicates many of these decisions may be schools driven. We see a significant rise immediately before school census and SATS and a very high number who opt to take this decision in Year 11.”
It remains to be seen whether Kent’s next Corporate Director is as interested in home education as the outgoing Director Patrick Leeson who seems to be taking up a new position as chair of a ‘for profit’ education services company ( See https://www.kelsi.org.uk/news-and-events/patrick-leesons-update/14-november-2017-weekly-update + https://www.kelsi.org.uk/news-and-events/patrick-leesons-update/23-november-2017-weekly-update )