The famous scandal about home education which Barry Sheerman tweeted about recently, now seems to have become public. As he suggested, Ofsted are involved. The only problem is that this is not about home education at all. As expected, Gypsies and travellers are mentioned, but the only mention of home education is made in a footnote on Page 7, which states unambiguously, 'This report does not apply to pupils whose parents have taken the decision to electively home educate them'. In other words, this is nothing at all to do with home education. The language used by the BBC and newspapers is misleading. Reports in the media talk of children missing from school, but what they really mean is that they are missing from education; which is quite a different matter. My own daughter was definitely missing from school, but it would have been a rash person indeed who asserted that she was missing from education.
The main thing which strikes me about this report, is that most of the children mentioned are missing from school due to the ineptitude or laziness of those whose job it is to provide them with an education. They are children who have been excluded, children with special educational needs for which schools were unable or unwilling to cater, kids with physical and mental problems and also those of asylum seekers. There is no suggestion that any are home educated children, whose parents are not fulfilling their legal duties; more that local authorities are ignoring children who need school provision.
On the whole, I am pleased to see this report, because it ties in with what I have been looking at recently, which is to say children who are not being sent to school and are consequently at risk of harm. As long as nobody muddles this problem up with home education, then I shall be glad to see action taken to tackle what really is a scandal. A scandal it may be, but it it is not, as Barry Sheerman would have us believe, a scandal involving home education. The fifteen boroughs visited for this survey were Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Bristol, LB Camden, Derbyshire, East Sussex, Halton, Lancashire, North East Lincolnshire, Northumberland, Peterborough, Southampton, Telford and Wrekin, LB Wansworth and Wolverhampton.
The report, Children Missing Out on Education, may be found here: