To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by the Association of Directors of Children's Services Ltd (ADCS) Elective Home Education Survey 2021, published in November 2021, which found that 115,542 children were home educated during the 2020/21 academic year, representing a 34 per cent increase from the 2019/20 academic year.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Elective Home Education survey in 2021 was a data collection independent of the government. However, the department did review it with interest, at the point of publication.
The ADCS estimated cumulative total of electively home educated children in the 2020/21 academic year increased by 34% from the previous year to 115,542. The survey also reported that the most common reasons given for a child becoming electively home educated were health concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, and other health or mental health reasons.
While the department knows most parents who choose home education for their children are committed and educate their children well, this survey did correspond with reports from local authorities at the time, about rising numbers of electively home educated children and that this increase was being driven by reasons other than a commitment to home education.
Similarly, the report noted local authorities’ concerns about being uncertain of the true size of the electively home educated cohort, due to the lack of a statutory register of electively home educated children.
The government remains committed to establishing statutory local authority registers of children not in school, and to progressing these measures at the next suitable legislative opportunity.
In the meantime, the department is continuing to work with local authorities to improve their non-statutory registers. In October 2022 and January 2023, the department also requested local authority aggregate data on Elective Home Education and Children Missing Education, to improve understanding of these cohorts.