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Home Education

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the cost of establishing and maintaining an annual register of home-educated children. (310288)

In the October response to Graham Badman's "Review of Elective Home Education" and in the Impact Assessment (IA) published as part of the Children, Schools and Families Bill, we estimated that the cost of the registration and monitoring proposals for home-educated children would be around £21 million in the first year and £9.7 million in subsequent years, based on 25,000 home-educated children. We said at the time that the cost estimates for the Home Education proposals were subject to discussion with the Local Government Association (LGA) and would be reviewed in light of their comments.

We received the LGA's comments in December 2009 and we are now having further discussions with the LGA and local authorities to review our thinking on what should be included in the overall costs. We will also need to take into account the recommendations on costs arising from the 16 December Select Committee response. We plan to publish a revised IA as early as possible in January 2010.

We have already pledged to support in full the cost of these proposals and there has been no change to that position.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the state of relations between home educators and local authorities. (311284)

Graham Badman’s Review of Elective Home Education in England identified excellent practice where local authorities have engaged in a proactive and supportive manner with home educating parents. His review also recognised that in some circumstances these relationships may be strained or non- existent.

If the registration and monitoring arrangements in the Children, Schools and Families Bill are to work well, local authority officers and others engaged in the monitoring and support of elective home education will need to be appropriately trained. This training must cover the essential differences, variation and diversity in home education practice, as compared with schools.

Our guidance on monitoring will also place an emphasis on supporting home educating families so that local authorities work collaboratively with home educating parents in providing the best possible arrangements for home educated children.