Kent CC Correspondence Lord Soley’s Home Education Bill

Here are some emails to and from Kent County Council regarding Lord Soley’s Home Education Bill covering the period 6 October 2017 to 17 November 2017. FOI LINK 

  • 6 October Kent email to Lord Soley enclosing 1/ End of Year report highlighting trends in Kent + 2/ Business Intelligence Report on home education for Kent, dated January 2016
  • 7 October Lord Soley email to Kent asking if Kent is planning to attend the meeting in the House of Lords on 17 October
  • 8 October Kent to Lord Soley hoping still possible to attend, saying will send LA Home Education Policy separately
  • 8 October Lord Soley to Kent saying not too late to attend, best speak to [REDACTED] who is talking to organisations about attending the meeting
  • 9 October Kent to Lord Soley agreeing they will contact Dave Harvey, also enclosing Kent Home Education Policy
  • 13 October  Hampshire to various people including Vivian Trundell, Jenny Dodd,  Anna Shaw, Andrew Parker and Venetta Buchanan, cc-ed to Dave Harvey and Lord Soley, regarding the meeting in Committee Room 8 Houses of Parliament on 17 October and enclosing  letter from Lord Soley
  • 17 November Kent to Lord Soley enclosing 1/ Kent comments on the Home Education Bill + 2/ summary of issues including recommendation for compulsory registration and an offer for Kent to pilot any proposed new system

 

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6 October
From: xxxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxx.xxx.xx <xxxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxx.xxx.xx >
Sent: 06 October 2017 12:57:47
To: SOLEY, Lord
Subject: Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill. Kent County Council
response
Dear Lord Soley
Kent County Council (KCC) have now collated a complete years data capture following the implementation of KCC EHE policy. Given the forthcoming second reading of the Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill, the findings from the attached reports may be of interest to your office
EHE – End of Year report [scroll to end blogpost]
The report highlighting the trends of the 1203 new families who have registered with Kent to Electively Home Educate during the 2016-17 academic year. (Total EHE registrations in Kent as of 31 August 2017 – 1906). The findings have been extremely revealing and will be used to help our officers identify hotspots and patterns to identify where resources can be applied more effectively to assist families and liaise with schools.
Business intelligence report [scroll to end blogpost]
I have attached this report for information, this providing a holistic picture of the circumstances of children & young people known to Kent. County Council who were registered with KCC between September 2015 to August 2016.
There will be an updated report due out in November and if this information is useful to you I can forward that across to you following the publication. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance or you have any questions with regard the content of the attached reports.
Yours sincerely
Hilary Alford | Access to Education Manager | Fair Access | Kent
County Council | Room 2.24, Sessions House | Maidstone, ME14 1XQ

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7 October
On 7 Oct 2017, at 18:59, SOLEY, Lord <xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xx > wrote:
These are very helpful reports – are you intending to come to the meeting on the 17th October at the House of Parliament?
Lord Soley

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8 October (1)
Sent: 08 October 2017 11:29:00
To: SOLEY, Lord
Subject: Re: Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill. Kent County Council response
Dear Lord Soley
If it is still possible for Kent to attend we would very much like to be part of the discussions. I fear we may have missed the opportunity as we delayed our response to ensure we had a complete years data to present. Kent have a strong EHE policy which supports our officers in their role and goes as far as it can within the confines of current legislation to identify children who are not in receipt of an education. We would welcome change to the current guidance
I will forward a copy of our policy tomorrow it may be useful to you and other Local authorities have adopted similar policies since it was published in December 2015 I would be happy to discuss if the data we have provided prompts any questions
Kind regards
Hilary Alford
Sent from my iPhone
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8 October (2)
From: SOLEY, Lord [mailto:xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xx]
Sent: 08 October 2017 14:17
To: Alford, Hilary – CY EPA
Subject: Re: Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill. Kent County Council response
You are not too late. You may want to speak to xxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx.xx who is talking to organisations about attending the meeting on the 17th.
Lord Soley
From: xxxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxx.xxx.xx <xxxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxx.xxx.xx
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9 October
From: Alford, Hilary – CY EPA
To: SOLEY, Lord
Subject: 17.10.09 :3 Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill. Kent County Council response
Date: 09 October 2017 08:31:00
Attachments: EHE Policy.docx
Importance: High
Dear Lord Soley
Thank you, I will contact Dave Harvey this morning. in the interim, I have attached Kent’s Elective Home Education Policy, which goes some way towards addressing some of the situations where children & young People are not receiving an education. We do need to acknowledge in all this that Kent also have families who do an incredible job of educating their children, sadly the number of families who are not educating their children outnumber these.
Kind regards
Hilary Alford | Access to Education Manager | Fair Access | Kent County Council

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13 October

17.10.13 details of meeting Elective Home Education Discussion with Lord Soley Redacted pdf
From: Bailey, Annette
To: “Trundell, Vivian”; “Jenny Dodd”; “Anna Shaw”; “Andrew Parker”; “Buchanan Venetta”; xxxxxxx.xxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx; ; “xxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx.xx” ; Alford, Hilary – CY EPA; “xxxxx.xxxxxxx@xxxx.xx.xx” ; Saunter, Sarah – CY EPA; “xxx.xxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx;” “xxxxxxx.xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.x;x” “xxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx.xx”
Cc: “SOLEY, Lord”; Harvey, Dave
Subject: 17.10.13 details of meeting – Elective Home Education Discussion with Lord Soley
Date: 13 October 2017 14:33:49
HE Letter 16.docx
Dear all
Further to my previous e-mail regarding the above meeting, I am now writing to confirm that the meeting is taking place in Committee Room 8 at the Houses of Parliament from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm on Tuesday 17 October 2017. Due to increased security measures I have been asked that you print off this email and take it with you as proof of invitation. I have been advised that you need to allow an hour to go through security.
Dave has also asked me to send the letter from Lord Soley.
Many thanks
Annette
Annette Bailey
PA to Area Strategic Manager (Alternative Provision)
Children’s Services, Hampshire County Council, 2nd Floor, Elizabeth II Court
North, The Castle, Winchester, SO23 8UG

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HE Letter 16.pdf

Thank you for letting me know your views on my Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill. I am sending a general reply at this stage but will add further comments in due course as some of you have asked specific question. I will not be able to answer all these questions until we reach the second reading stage probably at the end of the year.
This Bill is likely to be debated in the House of Lords towards the end of this year. I hope that in the intervening period I will be able to meet with those of you who wish to discuss it further. I will also be very willing to come to any meetings that might be arranged subject to time and place.
A few points of clarification at this stage. I am not opposed to home education indeed I have always seen it as an important right and one which deserves support. It does not get much support at present.
I am also aware that many parents take their child or children out of school for home education because they feel that the school is not giving their child the education that they think is necessary. This is strongly felt by parents who had a bad experience of the SEN Service in some schools.
I am also very conscious of the rights of parents but as some of you acknowledge this should be balanced with the rights of the child. If a child does not get the basic education necessary to cope in our modern and very complex society then we are failing that child. It is important to remember that some of these children are rejected by the school because they are ‘difficult’ and these children also deserve better support then they currently receive.
There is also the problem of the abuse of children. There has been a rapid rise in Home Education and this has co-incided with a greater public awareness of child abuse. We know that some children have been taken out of school and subsequently suffered abuse. An abusing parent is now more aware of being caught and taking the child out of school enables them to ‘hide’ the child.
In recent years this has been given additional urgency as there is some evidence that children have been removed from school to work illicitly at home or in a parent’s business.
The Government is also concerned about the use of Home Education to put children into situations where they receive indoctrination supporting violent extremism. You may wish to listen to this extract from the BBC Today news programme:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/prog rammes/b08xxdh3. This was broadcast on the 20th July but it has been a growing concern for governments in recent years. The full item starts 2hrs and 40 minutes into the programme and the part concerning the wrong use of home education starts at 2hrs 40.
These are just some of the complications of this sensitive area of policy. It is my aim to create a better situation for parents who choose to home educate while also ensuring the rights of the child are recognised. I think we can do this much better than we are at present. Parents who Home educate deserve support so my Bill will try to get this balance right and that is why I will be willing to consider changes to the Bill if they appear necessary.
Yours,
Clive Soley
Lord Soley of Hammersmith

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17 November
From: Alford, Hilary – CY EPA
To: xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xx
Subject: 17.11.17 – Kent support of the Home Edcuation Bill
Date: 17 November 2017 16:47:00
Attachments: Bill with Kent comments.docx + Summary for Lord Soley -2.docx
Importance: High
Sensitivity: Confidential
Dear Lord Soley
Please accept my apologies for the late submission of these documents. Attached are Kent’s comments on the Home Education ( Duty of Local Authorities) Bill, which Kent is fully in support of and a summary response to some of the issues raised during the meeting on the 17 October.
I sincerely wish you all the very best for the second reading of the bill on the 24th and if I can provide any further information relevant to supporting this, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards
Hilary Alford | Access to Education Manager | Fair Access | Kent County Council
| Room 2.24, Sessions House | Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | Internal: 415769 |
External: 03000 415769 |www.kent.gov.uk

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ENCLOSED WITH EMAIL 17 NOVEMBER
Home education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill
Kent Comments
Bill with Kent comments.pdf
A BILL TO
Make provision for local authorities to monitor the educational, physical and emotional development of children receiving elective home education; and for connected purposes.
BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 Duty of local authorities to monitor children receiving elective home education
(1)The Education Act 1996 is amended as follows.
(2)After section 436A (duty to make arrangements to identify children not receiving education), insert—
“436B Duty of local authorities to monitor children receiving elective home education
(1) Local authorities have a duty to monitor the educational, physical and emotional development of children receiving elective home education in their area.
(2) A parent of a child receiving elective home education must register the child as such with their local authority.
(3) Local authorities must assess annually each child receiving elective home education in their area (hereafter referred to as “the assessment”).

***Kent comment: There should be provision written into the Bill to permit further assessment where there is limited or no evidence at the initial
assessment and to agree less frequent monitoring where the LA is satisfied that education is of a sufficiently high standard.***
(4) The assessment set out in subsection (3) must monitor the—
(a) educational;
(b) physical; and
(c) emotional development of each child.
(5) The assessment may include—
(a) a visit to the child’s home;
(b) an interview with the child;
(c) seeing the child’s work; and
(d) an interview with the child’s parent.
(6) A parent of a child receiving elective home education must provide information relevant to the assessment to their local authority when requested.
*** Kent comment: Parent to be required to demonstrate that the child is in receipt of an education. ***
(7) The Secretary of State must by regulations made by statutory instrument specify—
(a) the arrangements for parents to register a child with their local authority under subsection (2); and
(b) the methodology of the assessment.
(8) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
(9) In this section “elective home education” refers to education given to a child at home following a decision by their parent to educate them outside the school system.”
2 Guidance relating to elective home education
(1) The Secretary of State must update the guidance for elective home education for local authorities and parents to account for section 436B of the Education Act 1996 by the end of the period of one year, beginning with the day on which this Act comes into force.
(2) In updating the guidance in subsection (1), the Secretary of State must have regard to—
(a) the expectation that elective home education must include provision of supervised instruction in reading, writing and numeracy, which takes into account the child’s age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs and disabilities, and
(b) the views of children and parents who elect home education.
(3) The Secretary of State may carry out a public consultation to inform the guidance set out in subsection (1).
3 Interpretation
In this Act—
• “elective home education” refers to education given to a child at home following a decision by their parent to educate them outside the school system; and
• “local authority” means—
(a) in relation to England, the council of a district, county or London borough, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly;
(b) in relation to Wales, the council of a county or county borough.
4 Extent, commencement and short title
(1) This Act extends to England and Wales only.
Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities)
(2) This Act comes into force at the end of the period of two months, beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.
(3) This Act may be cited as the Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Act 2017.

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ENCLOSED WITH EMAIL 17 NOVEMBER
Summary for Lord Soley 2.pdf
Kent comments supporting – Home education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill
There is a broad consensus that parents have a constitutional right to educate their children at home and that if they choose to home educate, that they have the freedom and flexibility to determine how best to deliver that education. However it is concerning that contrary to almost all other western countries, only English law allows parents to do this without a legal requirement to register to do so. From a safeguarding perspective and to ensure children can access their legal right to education it would seem imperative that families register their children and be required to demonstrate that their children are in receipt of a suitable education to some external body.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), have recently collated EHE data from 118 Local authorities, these findings evidence that Kent’s data is representative of the picture up and down the country. With such compelling evidence in the public domain, it appears a change in legislation is long overdue. Sadly the lack of any duty on LAs to capture this to date means that the severity of these issues has been hidden in many areas and is only now being recognised as an area for concern.
According to the ACDS findings, Kent County Council has the highest recorded numbers of children who Home Educate, which places Kent in a strong position to lead on a pilot approach should it be necessary. KCC consider that this would be a duty best served by the local authority as opposed to any other agency, with external monitoring by a separate body, for example Ofsted. Kent County Council have introduced into their working practices a range of solutions to some of the key issues raised by stakeholders during the meeting held at Westminster on 17 October 2017. The efforts made to resolve these have been driven by the worrying statistics presented in the data below.
Kent – 2016-17 EHE Data:
• 1203 new registrations during the 2016-17 Academic Year- An increase of 17.1% on 2015-16
• 1003 registrations were closed during 2016-17 Academic Year, demonstrating numbers transferring in and out of EHE status is in a constant state of flux causing significant disruption to children’s education and it is being used to avoid school attendance orders and associated fines.
• 1956 total Children & Young People registered to Home Educate in Kent as at 31st August 2017
Of these:
• 40% of families registered were involved with child support services in Kent
• 484 were either currently or historically involved with Childrens Social Care.
• A further 377 children were in receipt of or had historically received interventions from Early Help and Preventative Services (these are direct family support interventions designed to reduce the burden on social care by helping to introduce strategies to assist families who are struggling to cope with their parenting responsibilities and on the brink social care referrals)
Kent process – EHE Registration
On registration, each Kent family receives a letter introducing their assigned officer and a comprehensive leaflet providing guidance to families about what is involved in home education, what they can expect by way of support and what their responsibilities entail.
Kent process – EHE Visits
The current legislation does not allow for Local Authorities to insist on a visit, however Kent has set out in its Elective Home Education Policy the following criteria, where Kent would expect that a parent would participate in a meeting and failure to do so would result in a ‘Child Missing Education’ registration:
• The child has a history of persistent unauthorised absence from school (by persistent absence, KCC mean absence of 15% or higher);
• 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;
• The child has previously been permanently excluded from school(s) or has been subject to more than one fixed term exclusion whilst at school;
• The child has been referred to early help and/or to children’s social care
Current Elective Home Education – Guidelines for LA’s (last published 2007):
2.4 Parents are not required to register or seek approval from the local authority to educate their children at home.
2.7 ‘Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education.
Under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, local authorities shall intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education’ – (how would an LA know when there is no duty on the parent to demonstrate their child is in receipt of education)?
2.8 The most obvious course of action if the local authority has information that makes it appear that parents are not providing a suitable education, would be to ask parents for further information about the education they are providing. Such a request is not the same as a notice under section 437(1), and is not necessarily a precursor for formal procedures. Parents are under no duty to respond to such enquiries, but it would be sensible for them to do so,
It is not clear whether an LA is supposed to assume education is taking place or assume that it is not when parents refuse to engage and/or only provide limited evidence of education with questionable legitimacy – ultimately it is the parents responsibility to provide education in these circumstances but if they do not who will champion the child when they are being failed and if the state has no oversight of whether they are accessing their legal entitlement.
Every LA is required to capture information regarding where a child or young person (CYP) is educated if they have previously been on roll of a school and there are already processes written into legislation that allow LA’s to do this, through Census and the pupil registration regulations.
Kent would propose that there is a legal requirement for every family to register with the Local Authority (LA), and for the LA to report these numbers to the DFE just as a school would be required to do so at Census. It is concerning that under current legislation a LA may well be unaware of a CYP residing within their administrative area. No statutory requirement to register a CYP exacerbates the safeguarding concerns held and also impacts the LA in its efforts to meet its legal duties in relation to the PREVENT agenda.
Where a CYP was on roll of a school, Kent would recommend that the CYP to remain on that roll until a visit has been made to confirm that the CYP is in receipt of an education and ownership of results sit with the school until such time that is proven education is in place to ensure the incentive to off roll poorly performing pupils is removed and a schoolplace is available should they be required to return.
It would be helpful if legislation were to be amended to require parents to demonstrate that suitable education is being provided. There should be a level discretion afforded to LA’s in determining the frequency of monitoring this so that priority can be given to children where there is limited evidence of education in place and some level of concern, as opposed to families clearly demonstrating and evidencing a broad and suitable education offer clearly satisfying a child’s educational needs. There is a distinction to be made here and this would assist LAs in ensuring any new duty does not become unnecessarily administratively burdensome where good practice is consistently demonstrated. Annual monitoring visits would be appropriate with an option to withdraw monitoring after 2 years if there is confidence in the quality of provision in place; or where there are concerns, LA’s should have the flexibility to review in quarterly blocks with a return to school as a requirement, if no suitable education has been evidenced within 6 months.
Where education cannot be evidenced, there is Statutory guidance already in place to allow the LA to proceed with identifying a school place and where appropriate to take legal action.
Identifying where a Child or Young Person is not in receipt of education.
• Kent process
Where the parent declines a visit and Kent’s EHE policy criteria for a visit is met, the parent will have the right to provide evidence for the period that they have been educating and this is assessed by a qualified teacher to confirm the suitability of the provision.
Where a visit has been offered and there is little evidence that a ‘suitable’ education is taking place, however the parent is trying their best; Kent will support, advise and signpost to resources that will help the family to enhance the education being provided and Kent will seek to agree a follow up meeting to monitor progress.
In the case of families with primary aged children, who would if they were on a school roll, meet the free school meals criteria; KCC offers a small number of licenses to access on-line resources such as Mathletics and Reading eggs.
Where a parent informs KCC that they were coerced into Home Educating by their previous school and, no evidence is presented or the evidence is insufficient to record that a ‘suitable’ education is taking place at either the initial visit or follow up visit, the record is closed to EHE and opened to Children Missing Education and the parent is informed of this decision in writing. The named school is then used in any school attendance order which may ensue.
Using legislation set out in the School Admissions Code Dec 2014 (SAC), Education provision will be identified by Kent through the In Year Fair Access (IYFA) Panel for the locality in which the CYP resides, and a school place is identified.
*(School Admissions Code Dec 2014 – Fair Access Protocol – where a CYP is without education, the panel will identify a school in consultation with a panel of head teachers in the residential locality of the CYP).
IYFA protocol, dictates that where a CYP was previously on roll of a school that school will be expected to accept the children back on their roll, and will potentially be directed to do so unless there are exceptional circumstances.
This approach provides a joined up approach to enabling families to educate and having a mechanism for the State to step in where children are being denied their right to education. It is hindered only because parents can choose not to engage and fail to demonstrate that suitable education is taking place.
KCC sincerely hopes this Bill will address that failing in the system.

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SENT TO LORD SOLEY ON 6 OCTOBER
2016 17 EHE statistics End of year Report V3.pdf
Elective Home Education Report
2016/17 Academic Year
Figures for referrals during this period Total EHE Referrals
1203 Total closed
1003 Figures for all ongoing referrals Total EHE cases open
1956
Figure 1 – EHE referrals opened and closed
This academic year there has been a 17.1% increase the number of pupils registered as EHE across the county. Over the past few years, Kent has seen a growing trend of parents opting to exercise their right to home education their children.
Despite the growth in pupil referral numbers this academic year, there has been a 48.2% increase in referral closures which indicates that home education is often used as a short-term intervention rather than a preferred life-style choice.
This is the first year that Kent’s EHE Policy has been fully implemented and these figures are reflective of the success that our team of EHE Support and Advice Officers have had in embedding the policy and the associated procedures.

Figure 2 – EHE referrals with an SEN need
EHE referrals for pupils with a recognised special educational need have decreased by 5% this academic year in comparison with referrals received in the same period the previous year. This is not considered to be statistically significant given the small numbers of pupils involved however it indicates that this year SEN pupils and their families are happier with their identified educational provision.

Figure 3 – Reason for closure of EHE referrals
EHE referrals are closed when a pupil of statutory school age returns to education or when it is confirmed that a pupil who has completed their statutory education is no longer being home educated. The onward destinations of pupils who have completed their statutory education are tracked as part of the NEET strategy and the EHE team liaises with the Skills and Employability Team regarding pupils who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to ensure they are offered appropriate support and guidance.
The team also close referrals when it has been confirmed that the pupil is no longer a Kent resident or when the EHE Officer identifies that the pupil is not in a receipt of a suitable education, at which time they are immediately referred onto the Children Missing Education (CME) Team. These officers liaise with a number of local teams and agencies as well as other Local Authorities to monitor and support the pupil to secure education provision.
This academic year, there was a 22% increase in the number of EHE referrals closed because the pupil had returned to Mainstream Education or Alternative Provision compared with the same period the year before. There was also a 188% increase in the number of pupils being referred to the Children Missing Education (CME) Team. These figures highlight the role that the EHE Support and Advice Officers have played in quickly identifying pupils who are not in receipt of a ‘suitable education’.

Figure 4 – EHE referrals by home district
The referral figures for this academic year indicate growing popularity of EHE across the majority of Kent districts. However it is clear that two districts in particular have seen a marked increase in pupils opting to home educate when compared to the same period the previous year.
Maidstone and Swale have seen 43% and 45% increases in EHE referrals respectively. It is important to reflect upon and consider the reasons for this dramatic increase in referrals from these two districts. It is considered that the most likely reason for this is an increase in new housing developments and families moving into Kent which has placed pressure upon school places. This has also led to reduced choice and options for parents where relationships may have broken down in a particular school.

Figure 5 – EHE referrals by home area (CYP living in Kent)
This year’s referral data indicates that over one third of all new EHE pupils registered with Kent County Council live in East Kent. This is duly concerning as two of Kent’s most deprived districts; Swale and Thanet are in the east of the county. As home educating families are required to take full responsibility for their child’s education and any associated financial implications, one would question how some families are able to fund educational resources, trips, textbooks and exams.
In comparison with the last academic year, there has been a 30% increase in EHE referrals for pupils who live in East Kent this year. Referrals in North Kent have increased by 23% and are now broadly similar to referral figures in both South and West Kent. The marked difference in referral numbers in East Kent will continue to be monitored in liaison With KCC colleagues and local schools to form part of the district review process.

Figure 6 – EHE referrals by Kent school district (CYP who previously attended a Kent School)
High numbers of pupils are opting to leave Kent schools to home educate and some districts have seen significant increases in the number of EHE referrals that they have submitted to the Elective Home Education Team this academic year.
Maidstone – 63% increase
Canterbury – 45% increase
Dartford – 43% increase
Swale – 42% increase
Tonbridge & Malling – 34% increase
It is considered that the most likely reason for this are the changes that have been made to the curriculum and GCSEs which have placed increased pressure and expectation upon both pupils and schools. However this pressure does not seem to be affecting all Kent districts in the same way.
Swale referrals account for the highest percentage of new EHE referrals. This is undoubtedly driven by some schools encouraging EHE for its more challenging pupil’s. One school in particular off-rolled 44 pupils to home educate last academic year alone.

Figure 7 – EHE referrals by year group
This academic year, EHE referrals for secondary age pupils made up 60% of all new referrals. There has been a continual increase in referrals amongst KS4 pupils (Y10 & Y11), who made up 27% of all new referrals. This is a pivotal time in a pupil’s educational career and we must question why parents are opting to home educate at this late stage in their child’s education. Anecdotal evidence from EHE Support and Advice Officers following visits with families suggests that parents are choosing to home educate as a means of combating wider issues and in some cases schools encourage parents to consider this option when pupils behaviour is challenging or their attendance is poor.
Another concerning trend is the growth in Year 7 pupils who registered with the EHE team this year, this highlights a possible issue surrounding transition from primary to secondary education that requires further investigation and discussion with senior colleagues in Kent and the DFE.

Figure 8 – EHE referrals with Social Services Involvement in 2016/17
All new EHE referrals are assessed at point of registration prior to being allocated to an EHE Support and Advice Officer. Part of this assessment process includes checking the pupil’s involvement with other KCC agencies including Attendance and Inclusion, Early Help and Specialist Children Services to ensure a joined up approach.
This academic year, over 40% of our new EHE referrals are known to Specialist Children’s Services. Of these pupils, one quarter had an open social care case at the time of their EHE registration. The other three quarters of the 40% had had involvement from social care prior to their EHE referral being received by the team.
These figures indicate that a significant proportion of parents who opt to home educate may have chaotic lifestyles and may not be equipped to provide their children with a suitable level of education due to the wider environmental issues that they are facing.

Figure 9- New EHE referrals with Early Help Involvement in 2016/17
Over 30% of our new EHE referrals this year are known to Early Help and Preventative Services. There is an overlap of pupils who are also known to Specialist Children’s Services, these pupils make up 20% of pupils who registered with the EHE team this year. The fact that one fifth of our new referrals have a history of multi-agency involvement is a cause for concern that cannot be ignored.
When figures for pupils known to Early Help and Preventative Services and/or Specialist Children’s Services are combined over half of the pupils who were registered as EHE this academic year have been supported by these agencies. This highlights the potential vulnerabilities that face a growing number of home educated pupils in Kent. However the lack of legislative power continues to limit the ability of the LA to engage where it is not wanted resulting in large numbers of pupils potentially being not receipt of the education to which they are entitled.

Priority areas of service activity for the 2017/18 academic year include:
Pupils and families to be surveyed to better understand their rationale for choosing to home educate.
Raise profile of concerns to seek more powers to intervene or at least require evidence of education.
Further training and collaborative working with schools to prevent parents choosing to home educate when it is clearly not an appropriate option e.g. Use of an EHE checklist outlining roles and responsibilities for parents to sign before their child is removed from the school roll.
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SENT TO LORD SOLEY ON 6 OCTOBER
Business Intelligence Report
Elective Home Education [EHE] 
January 2016
Version 2 Strategic Business Development & Intelligence, Kent County Council www.kent.gov.uk/research
Purpose
The Elective Home Education (EHE) team have asked Business Intelligence to profile and explore if children and young people who are EHE are particularly vulnerable and known to certain services within Kent County Council.
Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence has created an informative integrated dataset at individual level, of children and young people in Kent, from the ages of one to 19 (inclusive) referred to as ‘the model’. The model is based on the academic year (AY) September 2015 to August 2016. The model can provide a holistic picture of the circumstances of children and young people known to Kent County Council.
Business Intelligence also use Mosaic segmentation. This is a classification system designed by Experian to describe the residents of a household in terms of their typical demographics, their behaviours, their lifestyle characteristics and their attitudes. Each household in the UK is classified as belonging to one of 66 types, which fall into a broader range of 15 groups.
Summary
Of the 1,901 EHE individuals:
There is a relatively even split by gender (51.1% male). The majority recorded their ethnicity as white (70.2%) and were of secondary school age (69.1%).
Mosaic segmentation shows the highest proportion of EHE individuals were from group M (25.5%). This group is generally more deprived and face an array of challenges. All mosaic groups were represented within the EHE individuals and groups A, G, M and O recorded high indexes.
Swale district recorded the highest proportion of EHE individuals (12.9%), whilst Tunbridge Wells recorded the least (5.6%). Swale and Sevenoaks recorded a higher proportion EHE individuals than all other individuals in each district.
Within the year an EHE individual was more likely to have been referred to early help and known to the troubled families programme in comparison to specialist children services.
Poor attendance and fixed exclusions were present for some EHE individuals (24.6% and 6% respectively).
7.8% of EHE individuals have a primary special educational need (SEN) and few also have a secondary SEN. Social, emotional and mental health is the most common SEN type.
Elective home education is the term used by the Department for Education (DfE) to describe parents’ decisions to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school1.
In detail the following EHE data has been used for this analysis:
All EHE open referrals as at 31st January 2016 (of which 100% matched into the model); and All EHE referrals within the academic year 2015-16 (of which 77.6% matched into the model).
Please note all EHE open referrals as at 31st January 2016 was one of four of the datasets which formed the base of the model, explaining the 100% match rate. For the remaining individuals who received a referral within the academic year 2015-16 and did not match into the model, this will be due data quality (different names and DOBs across systems) and/or the individuals were not known to any of the four KCC datasets as at January 2016 which formed the base of the model.
Combining both cohorts, the following analysis is on a total of 1,901 EHE individuals.
There are some limitations of this analysis. The analysis does not ascertain the timing of an EHE referral and an outcome. For example whilst it is possible show the number of EHE individuals with a domestic abuse notification; it can’t be said in what order this happened.
Demographics
Of the 1,901 EHE individuals:
51.1% were male and 48.9% were female;
The majority (70.2%) recorded their ethnicity as white (table 1); and
The 69.1% were of secondary school age.
Table 1 (main category) and table 2 (sub category) show a breakdown of the ethnicity of EHE individuals and the proportion of all other individuals in the model. The high proportion of EHE individuals with no ethnicity recorded maybe a dataset/system error.
Table 1: Ethnicity main category
Table 2: Ethnicity sub category
The model also captures some information on first language spoken (table 2). Of those who
recorded a language (total of 15 languages), the majority spoke English (95.0%). There are
a total of 205 languages recorded in the whole model.
Table 2: First language spoken
Chart 1 includes the age of the EHE individuals for the academic year 2015-16. The most
common age2 was 15 (15.5%). The youngest age recorded was four for 30 individuals and
the eldest age was 17 of which there were 31 individuals. There is a sharp decrease post
15 in the proportion of EHE individuals in the model.
Chart 1: Age
Chart 2 shows the proportion of the EHE individuals by their Mosaic group matched on their address. See annex A for full description of groups. With the highest proportion, a quarter of the individuals who had an EHE referral would be described as:
Family Basics (25.5% M) – living on tight budgets, the often overstretched families in Family Basics depend on higher than average levels of financial assistance from the state. The areas of low cost housing where Family Basics live have a crime rate that is just slightly higher than average, but these residents are more than twice as likely to feel that anti-social behaviour is a problem in their neighbourhood. Poor health is more common here than amongst the general population, with people more likely to smoke and less likely to follow a healthy diet, exercise or play sport to keep in shape.
A range of Mosaic groups are represented within the EHE individuals. The second and third highest proportions were recorded for group H (Aspiring Homemakers) and G (Rural reality). These groups broadly have low dependency on the state, relatively healthy, experience little crime and own their home.
In total there are a number of EHE individuals who are described as affluent and successful. For example group D: Domestic Success (9.2% D) – is a healthy group and is one of the more active when it comes to taking part in sport and keeping in shape. While far fewer than average smoke and more than average manage to follow healthy eating guidelines, Domestic Success do drink fairly regularly though rarely every day. The crime rate is below average in the residential neighbourhoods where they live and their fear of crime and of being a victim of crime is correspondingly low. Domestic Success have low levels of dependency on the state.
Chart 2: Mosaic group
Chart 3 has indexed the EHE individuals by their mosaic group against all other individuals in the model. This is crucial in understanding if there are individuals with certain characteristics (identified by mosaic group), that are over or under represented in comparison to the wider Kent population.
How to interpret this chart: an index of 100 indicates a average level of representation for that group. Where the bars fall under 100, this means there is a below average, low or very low level of representation. If the bar is above 100 this means there is a average, above average or high level of representation.
For example, in chart 2 mosaic group H (Aspiring Homemakers) recorded the second highest proportion (13.8%). Comparing that proportion against the wider population, shows that EHE individuals with mosaic group H are in fact slightly underrepresented within the EHE referrals in comparison to their proportion in the wider population.
Mosaic groups A (County Living), G (Rural Reality), M (Family Basics) and O (Municipal Challenge) are over represented within the EHE referrals. Group N index value is skewed due to very low proportions of this group in Kent overall. Group A and G are based in rural locations and it’s likely that those two groups have different reasons for educating their children at home, in comparison to groups M and O that are also over represented.
Location
Table 3 shows the count of EHE individuals by the district they live in, for context the
proportion of all other individuals in the model has been shown. The highest proportion
recorded by district was Swale (12.9%), followed by Maidstone (10.9%) and Thanet
(10.5%). Tunbridge Wells recorded the least amount of EHE individuals (5.6%).
In particular, by comparison to all other individuals, Swale and Sevenoaks recorded a
higher proportion of EHE individuals than all other individuals. On the other hand,
Canterbury recorded a lower proportion in comparison to all other individuals.
Table 3: Location district
The follow table shows the count of EHE individuals by ward, where there was a count of 7
or more.
Table 4: Location by ward (Ashford – Canterbury)
Table 4: Location by ward (Dartford – Sevenoaks)
Table 4: Location by ward (Shepway – Tunbridge Wells)
Integrated children and young person model
The following analysis illustrates the surrounding aspects of the EHE individuals recorded in the model. See annex B for full data descriptions of each bubble. Please note an individual may be counted in more than one bubble.
Chart 4 shows a quarter of the individuals were attending less than 90% at school. This may be skewed with the individual being taken out of the school setting. A higher number of EHE individuals had a fixed exclusion (115 – 6.0%) compared to permanent exclusions (3 – 0.2%). Exclusion data has been analysed in further detail in table 3.
When EHE individuals have used the library service a higher proportion (14.5%) was recorded for using a computer than to borrow books (4.9%).
An EHE individual is more likely to have been referred to early help and known to the troubled families programme in comparison to specialist children services (SCS). 17 EHE individuals had at least one episode (within the year) as CP and five individuals recorded at least one episode as LAC. Furthermore, 111 (5.8%) were CiN (child in need) which is defined as a referral that went onto assessment and 153 (8.0%) recorded a SCS referral.
Chart 4: Surrounding known factors and services – EHE individuals
For comparison, chart 5 has been produced for all other individuals in the model.
The difference between the two cohorts is that there is a higher proportion recorded for all other individuals borrowing library books than using the computers, and the opposite was recorded for EHE individuals. The proportions of other individuals referred to early help and known to the troubled families programme is considerably lower. Whilst the proportions for LAC and CP remain low. Furthermore, for all other individuals 2.5% were CiN (child in need) which is defined as a referral that went onto assessment and 3.3% recorded a SCS referral.
Chart 5: Surrounding known factors and services – all others
Exclusions
The model also records data on previous fixed and permanent exclusions, based on the academic years 2011-12 to 2014-15.
Of the total 1,901 EHE individuals 220 (11.6%) had a previous fixed exclusion and 18 (0.9%) had a previous permanent exclusion. The chart shows for EHE individuals fixed exclusions are more likely to be recorded in comparison to other individuals.
Chart 6: Previous fixed and permanent exclusions
Special Educational Needs
The special education needs of the EHE individuals have been broken down further in the following two tables.
Special education needs are more likely to be identified and assessed if the child or young person is in a school setting. Therefore, due to the nature of the EHE individuals there may be a larger number of SEN than recorded.
148/1,901 (7.8%) of EHE individuals have a primary SEN.
Of the 148, 19 (12.8%) were educational, health and care plan and 129 (87.2%) as SEN support.
Of the 148, 33 also record a secondary SEN.
Social, emotional and mental health is the most common SEN type.
Annex A – Mosaic group summaries
Group A Country Living – “Well-off owners in rural locations enjoying the benefits of country life” 50,769 households, 8.1% of households in the KCC area
Group B Prestige Positions – “Established families in large detached homes living upmarket lifestyles” , households, % of households in the KCC area 517888.3
Group C City Prosperity – “High status city dwellers living in central locations and pursuing careers with high rewards” 2,469 households, 0.4% of households in the KCC area
Group D Domestic Success – “Thriving families who are busy bringing up children and following careers” 57,886 households, 9.3% of households in the KCC area
Group E Suburban Stability – “Mature suburban owners living in settled lives in mid-range housing” 46,264 households, 7.4% of households in the KCC area
Group F Senior Security – “Elderly people with assets who are enjoying a comfortable retirement” 70,159 households, 11.2% of households in the KCC area
Group G Rural Reality – “Householders living in inexpensive homes in village communities” 46,115 households, 7.4% of households in the KCC area
Group H Aspiring Homemakers – “Younger households settling down in housing priced within their means” 74,163 households, 11.9% of households in the KCC area
Group I Urban Cohesion – “Residents of settled urban communities with a strong sense of identity” 9,591 households, 1.5% of households in the KCC area
Group J Rental Hubs – “Educated young people privately renting in urban neighbourhoods” 50,141 households, 8.0% of households in the KCC area
Group K Modest Traditions – “Mature homeowners of value homes enjoying stable lifestyles” 27,608 households, 4.4% of households in the KCC area
Group L Transient Renters – “Single people privately renting low cost homes for the short term” 41,050 households, 6.6% of households in the KCC area
Group M Family Basics – “Families with limited resources who have to budget to make ends meet” 47,688 households, 7.6% of households in the KCC area
Group N Vintage Value – “Elderly people reliant on support to meet financial or practical needs” 39,770 households, 6.4% of households in the KCC area
Group O Municipal Challenge – “Urban renters of social housing facing an array of challenges” 9,900 households, 1.6% of households in the KCC area
Annex B – Data descriptions
There are 245,865 total children and young people in the model, as at January 2016.
The first proportion shows that indicator/dataset in comparison to the whole model. The second proportion shows the match rate of that original dataset into the base of the model.
1. All ages eligible for free school meals
2. Attendance level of 0 to 89.9% inclusive (does not include those with no attendance available)
3. Had at least one fixed term exclusion
4. Was permanently excluded
5. Had at least one Child Missing Education referral
6. Used a library computer at least once
7. Borrow at least one library book
8. Had at least one Education Psychology referral
9. Are known to the Troubled Families Programme (phase 1 or 2), since start of programme 2012 to end of August 2016
10. Had at least one Early Help Notification
11. Had at least one Domestic Abuse Notification (SCS contact reason was DAN)
12. Had at least one episode as Looked after Child, AY 2015-16. 0.6% 48.2%
13. Had at least one episode as Child Protection
14. Are known to the Youth Offending Team
15. Took part in Kent School Games, October 2015 to July 2016

***

SEE ALSO

https://edyourself.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/home-education-bill-helpful-hampshire-and-kent/

https://edyourself.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/lord-soleys-bill-and-new-home-education-guidelines/

https://edyourself.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/timescale-for-home-education-bill-2017/

https://edyourself.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/home-education-duty-of-local-authorities-bill-2017-19/

 

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4 thoughts on “Kent CC Correspondence Lord Soley’s Home Education Bill

  1. Pingback: Home Education Bill: Helpful Hampshire and Kent | edyourself

  2. Pingback: Background Information Lord Soley’s Home Education Bill | edyourself

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