Home education

Council 'doesn't know' how many children are not in school

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Cornwall Council has admitted that it has no way of knowing how many children in Cornwall are not attending school.

The authority records show 1,160 children are currently in Elective Home Education (EHE).

This number has increased in the past few years. In 2014, there were just 411 EHE children in the county.

Children
BBC

But parents have no legal duty to inform the council if they are teaching their children at home, and so the true number is unknown because many may never have started school.

The council has revealed that a number of children who are removed from school were also known to social services.

In a response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the council said 400 children were removed from school in 2017/18 and 106 of them had a social care referral, assessment or plan.

So far this year, 305 children in Cornwall have been taken out of school and 71 of them have been on social services' radar.

Sharon Hindley, head of education access and sufficiency, said schools had to inform the council when children were taken out of school.

"One of the things they have to complete is a safeguarding form to make us aware of any safeguarding issues," she said.