Children in England 'Safer at School' Than When Educated at Home, Study Finds.

Children in England 'Safer at School' Than When Educated at Home, Study Finds.
  • May 15, 2024
  • 190

An assessment of major safety failures in England, wherein six children died and 35 were harmed in a single year, found that children raised in abusive or neglectful circumstances are safer attending school than receiving their education at home.

Although home education did not pose a risk to child safety, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel's findings highlighted that children who were deemed vulnerable were not as visible to child safety agencies as children who attended school regularly.

The panel's chair, Annie Hudson, stated: "While the majority of home-schooled children lead happy and secure lives, it is imperative that children receive the best protection available when and wherever they are at risk of harm."

Our investigation examines the lives of 41 children who were homeschooled voluntarily and endured horrifying, and occasionally fatal, maltreatment. It aims to increase knowledge and awareness of the risk factors so that caregivers may better assist and protect children who are in danger.

Our research demonstrates that children receiving their education at home, where there is a possibility of abuse and neglect, might not be seen by protective services and might not be able to benefit from the potential protective advantages that attending school could offer.

After reviewing reports of significant safeguarding breaches in 2020–21, the panel found 27 cases involving 41 children in England who were not enrolled in school and had been the victims of physical, sexual, or neglectful abuse.

This led to the deaths of six of the kids, including three who committed suicide. Three children lost their lives due to undetected eating disorders, undiagnosed leukemia, and stabbings.

According to the panel's briefing paper, although the number of children who choose to receive their education at home and suffer harm is relatively small, their lack of access to the protective elements that schools provide has had major, even fatal, effects on their welfare and safety.

Just 17 of the 41 kids were at that point known to children's services, and 21 of them had never attended school. Six children seemed to be missing from school, and the remaining six lacked sufficient information to be classified. A total of 29 children were perceived as receiving their education at home.

In England, parents are not required by law to notify the local authorities that their child is receiving their education at home.

The panel stated that after the lockdowns during the pandemic, more kids were being homeschooled, which prompted its probe.

Statistics from the Department of Education indicate that, from less than 81,000 in the fall of 2022 to 92,000 in the fall of 2023, school-age children were receiving home education. There were fifteen safeguarding reviews in 2022–2023 and eight in 2021–2022, concerning homeschooling children.

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