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Brighton and Hove LA


a page for Brighton and Hove comments and news.



See also:


Meeting the LA Education Department


Guidance on improving LEAs



June 09: Brighton and Hove home educators taking action on the Badman report


We have set up a website to coordinate our ideas and actions on the Badman review.


If you live in or near Brighton and Hove, please visit http://bhhe.wordpress.com to see how you can work together with other local people.

February 09: Brighton and Hove's response to the Badman review questionnaire.


  Section One – About your local authority



Name of LA


Brighton & Hove


Tel. No of main contact


01273 294341

E-mail of main contact



Would you be willing to take part in the next phase of the research in March (including in-depth interviews with key personnel in your organisation)?




1.         Who is involved in supporting and monitoring home educated children within the local authority and other agencies?




Team with main responsibility -

List all teams / professionals  involved




EOTAS Team (Education other than at school)



As left

Describe how you ensure collaboration and communication between these teams / individuals


Regular meetings between EOTAS and Connexions



Section Two – Data and Tracking



2.         How many children are currently home educated in your local authority?





Registered with LA


Non-registered children


Primary age



Secondary age









3.         Are these figures accurate or based on estimates?





Where do you get this data from?

The figures registered with the LA are accurate. They come from:


a) children taken off roll at school


 b) parents who ring up to register their children as Home Educated


c) Children identified by the CME Worker


d) Children presenting at hospital as not on a school roll. The children who are not registered are therefore an unknown number.



How do you know this data is accurate?

These are those we are aware of, there are others we are not aware of as they have never been on roll at school, and are not identified in other ways as above








What data have you used to arrive at this figure?(List all sources



4.         How confident are you in the accuracy of this data ?



Very confident                                           Fairly confident              




Don’t know                                                 Not very confident             




Not at all confident   




5.         How often does the local authority get updated data?


List frequency for each source separately


a) Approximately every 3-4 weeks


b) Infrequently


c) Infrequently


d) infrequently


6.         Thinking about your home educated population, what proportions have the following characteristics? Please say whether these figures are based on estimates or accurate data.








Choose option


Statement for SEN

9    13.6%






Non-statemented SEN




Gypsy, Roma, Traveller heritage




Other BME Group (please state below)















7.         Do you believe the local authority knows about all the home educated children in your area?



Yes, we are confident we know about all home educated                       

children in the area


We think we know about the vast majority of home educated                

children in the area



We probably do not know about a fair number of home educated         

children in the area



We probably do not know about a significant proportion of home         

educated children in the area



8.         Do you think that you will be better able to track children in your area in the near future? E.g. planned changes to your own systems, ContactPoint, other system improvements?






Why do you think that?






Why do you think that?


The only way children can be tracked at present are the ones above, as the present legislation doesn't allow for authorities to actively seek home educated children

Don’t know   


Section Three – Supporting Home Educating Families



9.         How does the local authority ensure families know about their rights and responsibilities in relation to home education?



List all approaches used


a) Information on the council website


b) Information given when families register their children as home educated


c) Information given verbally during visits


d) Information sent with reports following home visits



10.       What support does your local authority provide to home educating families?



List all forms of support offered


a) Phone number and email contact with EOTAS service for advice


b) Advice given during home visits or meetings elsewhere if requested


c) Advice given if requested on exam entry


d) Dedicated Connexions worker for Home educated children






11.       How does the local authority let families know about the services provided to support them in home educating their children?



List all approaches used


a) Through information on appointment letters


b) Contact number and request e mail on LA website


c) Information provided during home visits or meetings elsewhere


d) Telephone or email communication with parents



Section Four – Assessment and Monitoring




12.       Following the initial assessment visit, are further monitoring visits made to a home educated child?




Yes                              No                                Don’t know             




12a.    If yes, how often, on average, are these carried out?





More than twice a year                 How often?        




Twice a year                                  Once a year                                  




Less than once a year                 

Additional comments


Visits are offered yearly, but on each visit it is made clear that should the parent or carer need to contact the service that is fine.


Should the service not be satisfied that a suitable education is being provided, then we offer another visit at 6 weekly intervals to review the provision




13.       On average, how often is the child seen when a visit is made?







        Usually, but not always      





Sometimes                                    Never     




Depends on the child / circumstances                  Please describe







14.       If the child is seen, where is s/he usually seen?



In the home                                    At the home, but do not go inside              




Another venue                               Please specifiy                                             




Depends on the child / circumstances                  Please describe




Occasionally parents prefer to visit our office or library with their child



15.       If you are not permitted access to a child, is any further action taken?




Yes                      No                               Don’t know        




15a.    If yes, what further steps are taken?




We write to request a written report on the child's educational provision.  If this is not forthcoming we refer the family on to Education Welfare Dept.Please describe



16.       How is the ‘suitability’ of the education provided to the child assessed?




Please describe


The LA looks to ensure that the child is having access to a broad range of educational experiences, including literacy and numeracy. We also look to ensure that the parent or significant adult is committed to delivering the child's education, and are aware of future implications for examination entry, particularly with KS4 children. 



17.       Is the local authority clear about what the definition of a ‘suitable education’ is?








Why is that?









Why is that?


Because the definition in the guidance is deliberately not clear on this, therefore it is not possible to have a definitive measurement of 'a suitable education'



18.       Does the local authority have systems in place to track the educational progress of home educated children?




Yes                      No                   Don’t know        




If yes, please describe the system




19.       Of the home educated children in your area of whom you have knowledge, what proportion in your estimation are receiving a suitable, full time (20hrs a week) education?


Please describe


95% (Estimate)



20.       Does the local authority take any further steps if a home educated child’s education was found to be unsuitable or not full time?




Yes                       No                   Don’t know        




20a.    If yes, what steps are then taken?



Please describe


As detailed above, we will offer extra visits to ensure that parents are providing a suitable education, but there is no way to measure whether an education is full time without asking parents to detail exactly which hours they are deeming educational, which would be unrealistic. If the child's education continues to be unsuitable we recommend a return to school and are happy to support this with arranging appointments/visits to schools. We occasionally refer families to the Education Welfare Service.




21.       Does the local authority face any challenges in assessing whether home educated children receive a suitable education?




 Yes                       No                          Don’t know             




If yes, please describe challenges and what you think could be done to overcome these


The challenges occur where we are unsure if a child is receiving a suitable education. We find that the majority of parents and carers are providing a suitable education, but for approximately 5%, where this is not happening, it is a challenge due to the fact that the guidelines in relation to Home Education are vague and without legal effectiveness.  In reality this means that some may be providing a minimal education as a result of their children being deregistered from school, sometimes due to truancy.  It is difficult to measure some educational provision under the present guidance, and therefore hard to take further steps particularly when the parent and child are adamant about remaining home educated.


The other challenges are related to the fact that we have no right to visit, to assess, or to see work done. This means there are a small minority of registered home educated pupils where we have not seen the parents or the child,  have not seen a report on their progress, and therefore cannot assess the home education of the child, or indeed their safety.


With regard to what may be done to overcome these, there is no clear answer with the current guidelines. As the majority of parents are providing a suitable education under present guidelines, and would find it difficult if those were changed and became more restrictive, I'm not sure of the way forward. When we are able to visit, then we can assess if a child is receiving a suitable education. If a parent or carer refuses a visit or to provide a report, and there are no concerns from social workers documented, then under present guidance we cannot do anything apart from log the attempts we have made to contact the parents or carers. As a result we have concerns about the welfare and education of some home educated children.





22.       Thinking about your local area, in the last five years[1], how many cases have you come across that use the premise of home education as a ‘cover’ for child abuse, forced marriage or other aspects of child neglect?



Please specify number[2]        




Additional comments


Please include the number of Serious Case Reviews you know about that have a home education element


We do not have specific numbers but we have encountered a few cases where we have been concerned about neglect, where parents are uninterested in ensuring their children attend school and are not delivering home education either.  Some parents have had mental health or drug-related problems and are sometimes in temporary accomodation. If we have child protection concerns in these cases we refer to local area social workers. We have had no Serious Case Reviews in the last 5 years.





23.       Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate?



Yes                         Why do you think that?








No                           Why do you think that?



See above answer, and there are registered children we have never seen, as well as the unknown number who are not registered.



Don’t know             




24.       Do you think that home educated children in your local authority are able to achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes?




Yes                        Please say why for each of the five outcomes.




Be healthy


Stay safe




Enjoy and achieve


Make a positive contribution


Achieve economic well-being




No                           Please say why for each of the five outcomes.


Be healthy


Impossible to assess for those HE children where we are refused access by the parents.





Stay safe


See above.



Enjoy and achieve


A minority of HE children will fall behind the academic level of their peers and not take GCSEs, although they may enjoy being educated at home.


Make a positive contribution


Achieve economic well-being 


For some it might be difficult for them to gain employment later because of a lack of opportunity for work experience as there are issues for employers and insurance with HE children. Also, routes to examination entry are expensive and more complex for some of these children making it difficult to obtain a competitive range of qualifications


Allthese answers are for those who may not be receiving a suitable education. There are many children where they are getting an education enabling them to achieve the five outcomes..






25.       Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educated families?



Yes                        What should they be?



Firmer statutory regulations on access & monitoring HE particularly with regards to safeguarding of children.



No                          Why do you think that?






Don’t know             




26.       Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families and ensuring that home educated children are able to achieve the five outcomes?



Yes                        What should they be?


a)  The right to see the child regularly

b) To have clearer guidelines on what constitutes 'adequate educational provision'



No                          Why do you think that?






Don’t know



Thank you for taking time to respond to these questions.



Please return your completed questionnaire, by Friday 6 February to homeeducation.review@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk or by post to the address on page one.  If you are returning the questionnaire electronically, please add the name of the DCS and Lead Member in the signature box.





I agree that the information supplied in this questionnaire is a true reflection of practice in this local authority.



Signed                                                                                   Date6.2.09


Director of Children’s Services                         







Signed                                                                                        Date 6.2.09


Lead Member for Children



The information you have provided may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  This does not necessarily mean that your response can be made available to the public as there are exemptions relating to information provided in confidence and information to which the Data Protection Act 1998 applies.  You may request confidentiality by ticking the box provided, but you should note that this may not exclude the public right of access.


Please tick if you want to keep your response confidential          


[1] Since January 2003

[2] NB – this data will not be aggregated or used in any other way.  This data will provide an overall sense of the scale of this issue.




LA response to EHE guidelines consultation


Here is a transcript of the Brighton and Hove City Council response to the government consultation on elective home education guidelines to local authorities. Please add comments under the comments section below.


Brighton and Hove City Council

King’s House, Grand Avenue, Hove BN3 2SU


Local authority

Please Specify:

Head of Education Other Than At School for Brighton and Hove City Council


1 Do you agree that it is helpful for the DfES to issue guidelines to local authorities?







It is good to have guidance but legal statute or more specific guidelines are needed in some places as parents may experience different responses from different LEAs. The guidelines need to bring clarity and consistency. Some areas still need addressing e.g. definition of full time. A separate section for LEAs and parents would be better.


2 Do you agree that the description of the law (paragraphs 2.1-2.3) relating to elective home education is accurate and clear?


Not Sure



2.2 What happens if a child wants to go to school but the parent doesn’t want this? Who advocates for the child? Is the parent’s decision overriding?

2.3 Greater clarity needed e.g. definitions of efficient, suitable, fulltime.

2.4 Conflicting with allows parents time to establish a programme.


3 Do you agree that the description of local authorities’ responsibilities (paragraphs 2.5-2.11) is accurate and helpful?


Not Sure



2.5 Helpful and accurate but a definition of reasonable is necessary.

2.6 Neither helpful nor accurate as we also have a duty to identify children in danger of missing education. We need to be able to ensure that the home education programme is happening before we can be sure they are not missing education.

2.7 Accurate but how would you know if they were not providing a suitable education if you are not able to monitor it and the parents/carer refuse to have any contact with the LEA? Parents of vulnerable young people may refuse to have contact with other agencies.

15 working days or 15 days?

2.8 Not sure.

2.9 Accurate and helpful

2.10 “Reasonable steps” This is very difficult to interpret.

2.11 Accurate but how is a LEA able to safeguard young people with whom they have no contact? There is nowhere in the document where this impasse is clarified.



4 Do you agree that the section on contact with the local authority (paragraphs 3.4-3.7) is accurate and helpful?


Not Sure



3.4 How is the LEA able to take a “risk-based approach” with families who choose to have no involvement with the them?

3.5 It is good that the young person is given an opportunity to express his/her views. In line two “can be” would be better replaced by “is being”.

3.6 How does a parent writing a report show anything apart from the fact that the parent is able to write a report otherwise an accurate and helpful section?

3.7 This section does not lie well with section 3.4 where the guidelines state, “ where parents do not want any involvement with the local authority, the LA should not automatically assume that there is a problem which needs investigating.” In this section one could infer that parents do need to have contact to provide evidence that they are providing an efficient and suitable education.


5 Do you agree that the section on providing a full-time education (paragraphs 3.11-3.14) – and in particular, the characteristics of provision (paragraph 3.13) – is accurate and helpful?


Not Sure



3.11 Accurate but I there are times when it would be “relevant” to have a set number of hours a year. Definition of full-time otherwise Leas have an impossible job trying to judge what this means.

3.12 Accurate and helpful

3.13 Helpful to have an indication of what provision should include but how would a LEA be able to be sure this was happening with the families who choose to have no contact?

3.14 “may Choose”  is too vague.


6 Do you agree that the section on developing relationships (section 4) is useful?




Comments: If the central aim of this document is to help develop relationships I feel that it leaves too much unclear. Vague guidelines that can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the views of the people concerned may result in difficult rather than easy relationships. Clear legal statute would help to avoid this. E.g. how can an LEA evaluate provision from a written report?


7 a) Are the suggested resources in section 5 and appendix 2 useful?




7 b) Should any other contacts be included?






Anti-bullying Campaign



Islamic Home School Advisory Network

Local/ regional groups







SATS information


Single parent home educating groups


8 Please use this space for any other comments you wish to make about the guidelines



3.10 Reasonable timescale needs clarification.

It would be useful to have a definition of a broad and balanced curriculum.

This would be a good opportunity to close the legal loophole and ensure that parents have to notify the LEA if they intend to educate their children at home.
















News link:


For Brighton and Hove news see: www.hedline.org.uk




Policy Review:


Jan 2008: HEdline has sent in a response to the EOTAS team at Brighton & Hove City Council, who are currently reviewing their policies and procedures on home education.

You can read our response, and our suggestion for a revised policy that would be in line with the law, at www.hedline.org.uk.
If you live in Brighton & Hove, or you are part of a group that meets in Brighton & Hove, we would urge you to send in a response of your own.  All the documents sent out by Barbara Benson (the Head of EOTAS) in January are available to view on our website, for those who have not been sent them directly.









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