New register to help all children get the education they deserve

Landmark proposals for a register of all children not being educated in school, including those being taught at home, have been set out by Education Secretary Damian Hinds today (Tuesday 2 April).The Government is consulting on proposals which will, for the first time, provide a clear picture of where children are if they are not in school. Estimates suggest almost 60,000 children are deemed to be educated at home – a figure that is thought to be rising by around a quarter every year.A register of children not in school will transform a local council’s capacity to identify and intervene where the standard of a child’s education isn’t good enough or, in the rare instances, where they are at risk of harm. It will also help the authorities spot young people who may be receiving a solely religious education, attending an unregistered school or not receiving an education at all.The Department is also proposing new measures to support parents who choose to educate their children at home, in the form of a legal duty for local authorities to provide assistance like helping to pay for exam costs and more. The term ‘home education’ has now acquired a much broader meaning than it used to. It is now a catch-all phrase, used to refer to all children not in a registered school. So whilst this does include those actually getting a really good education at home, it also includes children who are not getting an education at all, or being educated in illegal schools where they are vulnerable to dangerous influences – the truth is, we just don’t know.

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