Wales: Home Education of Children Report - National Independent Safeguarding Board

This was published 17 November 2017

Home Education of Children Report -
National Independent Safeguarding Board

The death of Dylan Seabridge raised questions about whether existing safeguarding mechanisms are sufficient for children who are home educated. In February 2017 the National Independent Safeguarding Board (NISB) commissioned Cascade, Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, at Cardiff University to explore the possible risks in relation to safeguarding, health and well-being of children and young people who are educated at home.
We are pleased to publish the report today and look forward to discussing the recommendations with Welsh Government Ministers. In the meantime we hope that it will prompt a debate on this important subject.
The report is another full frontal assault on home education.

Recommendations include:

Where a child is withdrawn from school and home educated the school and other professionals should assess whether this change might give rise to care and support needs or pose a risk to the well-being or safety of the child. If this is the case a referral to social services should be made.

There should be a register of home educated children in a similar way to the school register.

A more holistic assessment of the well-being and education of children educated at home should be undertaken at regular intervals. Such assessments would focus on ensuring that the child is thriving, their education is adequate and would help provide and plan for appropriate support services.

Such assessments should involve children, as appropriate for age and ability. They should also take place in the child’s home as their place of education.
The report acknowledges that home educated children are no more likely to be abused than schooled children. Their case for all the monitoring is that home educated children are not 'seen'. The very obvious point is that the vast majority of children who are abused are 'seen' by teachers but that does not prevent the abuse.

By their logic every child, schooled or home educated, should have regular home visits.

Read on . .


The entire report reeks of anti-family prejudice, which was entirely expected. File available here.

Having spoken to one of the 'researchers' earlier this year, her statist bias was clear.

I'm not sure how they managed to access an unpublished SCR on the Seabridge case which was never made available for public scrutiny. Being of the Badman ilk (bought and sold), they probably just fabricated its contents in order to further the given agenda. It was, however, noteworthy that Lord Lucas corrected the misrepresentation regarding the circumstances of that particular case in the House of Lords debate last week on the Soley home ed strangulation bill for England.

Predictable twisting of the UNCRC in this report also omits the fact that children may not be compelled to offer their views and that they have the right to refuse to do so. Even the Scottish Children's Commissioner has underlined this on his website.

The recommendations will fall foul of the Human Rights Act as blanket targeting of a minority group exercising a lawful choice as to how to discharge a parental duty is in no way proportionate.

Failing to apply the same measures to all schooled children who are compelled to attend school at their parents' behest, whether they like it or not (and where they are frequently unsafe as well as uneducated) is also discriminatory. Gypsy Travellers constitute a group with protected characteristics under the Equality Act and it is clear that other protected groups (e.g. those with disabilities and/or religious or philosophical beliefs) are disproportionately represented in the home ed community of interest, thus these recommendations are inherently discriminatory.

If councils seek to assume responsibility for ensuring suitable education for all children, they had better start looking in the mirror. Schools are failing on an unprecedented level to educate children in the basics and have turned into child warehousing centres.

Also, given that councils are the corporate parents of children, whose outcomes are disproportionately poor and who are at greatest risk of harm, who is going to enforce the new draconian regime for looked after children? Will they be marking their own sub-standard homework leaving these children without equal protection?

There clearly needs to be research into safeguarding issues in relation to so-called professionals, many of whom are not fit to work with children and have been shown to abuse their positions to perpetrate crimes. The latest sexual harassment scandals demonstrate that power-over settings like schools facilitate such grooming and abuse. Forced entry to family homes and access to children by such people is a truly terrifying prospect and they need to be much more closely monitored by the parents they work for.

Fascism needs to be resisted, full stop.