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Safeguarding

The Law says that a local education authority shall make arrangements for ensuring that the functions given to them in their capacity as a local education authority are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.  This would include children who are electively home educated.

The vast majority of parents choosing to EHE their child/children are doing this for the right reasons; however, a number of recent high-profile cases in which children have been placed at risk whilst being electively home-educated, suggest the following:

  • Home-educated children are subject to less monitoring and scrutiny than those who attend school. Services are less likely to become aware of the signs of abuse or neglect.
  • Parents of children with special educational needs, particularly those with complex and/or profound needs, are likely to struggle with the practical and emotional difficulties of providing home education.  Such parents may lack the support of others and become isolated.

It is, therefore vital to gather information about vulnerable children/families and to share it systematically with relevant officers and workers.

The BACME Officer will identify newly referred children who may not be receiving proper education by looking at children known to social care, including those who have a child protection plan or those who have been designated as children in need. 

We acknowledge that parents can decide to EHE at any time; however it considers that where a child is:

  • made subject to a Child Protection plan,
  • currently subject to a child protection plan, or
  • is child in need

the conference chair/ chair of the child in need meeting will make clear that if the parent/carer has already declared EHE, or states an intention to do so, the risk will be re-considered with the likelihood that the child could be considered at risk of harm due to being in receipt of EHE.

The BACME EHE lead will liaise with Children’s Services on those occasions where there is uncertainty about the welfare of a child or young person.

Please refer to the EHE protocol (PDF) for full details.