Children’s commissioner Anne Longfield has called on the DfE to intervene in schools where there is a high rate of off-rolling.
Ms Longfield said the DfE must deploy its regional schools commissioners to intervene in schools that are struggling to support children, particularly those with special educational needs who are subsequently being taken off the roll and educated at home – when that is “not the first choice of the parents”.
She said that around 10 per cent of schools were responsible for around 85 per cent of elective home education in England, but that they could learn from those schools that were able to support vulnerable children successfully.
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She said: “Many schools support children by using inclusive environments such as cooling off rooms, and plan where they can take time out to stabilise, and they are much more supportive of children who cannot cope with a regimented regime.
“And the schools which are not able to do this need to learn from those who are doing it.”
She added: “The DfE needs to find out what’s going on, and to ask its regional schools commissioners to intervene to support schools that are struggling.”
Ms Longfield also called for more funding for special needs, and for schools to share good practice, knowledge and resources.
Yesterday, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator annual report highlighted a 13 per cent rise in pupils being electively home educated, and that more than 100 local authorities had expressed concern that parents were unable to cope.
Ms Longfield also said councils had come to her over the last two years to express concerns about the rise in the number of children educated at home.
She said: “My major concern is that there are a lot of special needs children who are leaving the school roll, and a lot of parents will say that is not their first choice, and many are quite unprepared for it.
“My concern is that pupils with vulnerabilities will not be getting the education they have a right to. Parents are putting safety and wellbeing first.”
The DfE has been contacted for comment