Minister: home-school could be cover for abuse

23rd January 2009 at 00:00

Educating children at home could be a cover for abuse and lead to poor schooling, the Government has said.

The safety and welfare of children taught by their parents is to be investigated as part of a review of home education, announced after some local authorities and children's organisations voiced concern about the ability to check on their wellbeing.

Local authorities have to establish that every child is receiving a "suitable" education, though not necessarily at school. New guidance clarifies the roles and responsibilities of parents and local authorities.

During a recent public consultation, some authorities and children's organisations expressed concern about the current system's ability to provide adequate support and monitor the education, safety and well-being of home-educated children.

The review will look at safeguarding and how concerns about the welfare or education of children is dealt with. There are no plans to change parents' right to educate their children at home, but recommendations for improvements may be made.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, the junior minister for children, young people and families, said: "Making sure children are safe, well and receive a good education is our most serious responsibility. Parents are able, quite rightly, to choose whether they want to educate children at home, and a very small number do. I'm sure the vast majority do a good job.

"(But) there are concerns that some children are not receiving the education they need. And in some extreme cases, home education could be used as a cover for abuse. We cannot allow this to happen and are committed to doing all we can to help ensure children are safe, wherever they are educated."

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