AN MP has asked the Prime Minister to set up a register of home-schooled children to ensure their welfare following a rise in young people not attending classes post-pandemic.
Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond brought up the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions.
She asked Rishi Sunak: “The pandemic has played havoc with school attendance and the Children’s Commissioner says that almost 115,000 children are now being home-educated, which is 34 per cent higher than before the pandemic, with little if any monitoring of their educational welfare.
“Even worse, nine in 10 local authorities believe that they have not been able to identify home-educated children. Will my right honourable friend bring forward the register of home-schooled children so that they are identified and we can ensure that their needs are looked after and they are not falling through the net?”
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In reply the PM said: “We support the right of parents to home-educate their children and we know that many do well.
“However, that is not the case for all, which is why local authorities must seek to identify those children missing education. We have published guidance on the arrangements that they should be following and, indeed, ensure that they have oversight of elective home education.”
Speaking afterwards Flick added: “This is an emerging area of concern for teachers and local authorities as education grapples with the fallout from the pandemic.
“I welcome guidance to local authorities but I will continue to press the government to set up a register.
“I agree many children are home schooled to a high standard but a lack of data and scrutiny for these 115,000 children, who cannot all be well educated, will have long term repercussions.”