15 November 2005
A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication
ISBN 0 7559 2828 8 (Web only publication)
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This publication provides results of the annual survey on children educated outwith school, and the latest projections of pupil numbers.
The main findings are: -
Children educated outwith school
- In 2004/05 there were 855 children who received local authority education at home or in hospital due to prolonged ill health, or through special arrangements put in place as a result of family illness. The large drop from 1,314 children in 2003/04 was mainly due to a correction in recording procedures by a local authority, hence the two figures are not comparable.
- A further 113 children received education at home under 'other extraordinary circumstances'. Examples of 'extraordinary circumstances' include pupils unable to attend school because of geographical remoteness, travellers' children who may spend part of the school year outwith school and prolonged adverse weather affecting the ability of island children to attend school.
- In 2004/05, 417 children were known by local authorities to be receiving home education as a result of parental choice, who had at some point in the past been in local authority school education. This figure had risen by six (1.5 per cent) from the previous year.
- Another 127 children who had never been in local authority school education were known by local authorities to be receiving home education as a result of parental choice, a fall of seven (five per cent) from the previous year.
- The total number of children known to be educated at home due to parental choice, 544, represents 0.08 per cent of the population aged 5-15, unchanged from 2003/04. It is recognised that there may be more children educated outwith school who are not currently known to local authorities, and that changes in numbers known may be due to information management.
- The total number of pupils receiving publicly funded school education is projected to decrease steadily from 724 thousand in 2004, to 631 thousand in 2016, a decrease of 13 per cent.
- The number of pupils in publicly funded primary schools is projected to continue to fall steadily from 398 thousand in 2004, to 367 thousand in 2010, and then more slowly to 359 thousand in 2016, a decrease of ten per cent.
- The number of pupils in publicly funded secondary schools is projected to decrease steadily from 318 thousand in 2004 to 266 thousand in 2016, a decrease of 16 per cent.
- The number of pupils in publicly funded special schools are projected to fall in line with the anticipated decrease in the number of children of school age, but have also been adjusted to account for the potential impact of mainstreaming of pupils with additional support needs.
Children Educated Outwith Schools
1. This survey was run for the first time in Autumn 2001. Local authorities provided details of all children who were educated outwith school at any point during the school year, whether out of necessity (Section 14 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980) or by parental choice (Section 30). The survey replaced and extended the previous survey of pupils educated outwith school (SC4) which provided only a snapshot picture of Section 14 children during a given week in September. This year's results are therefore comparable with figures from 2000/01 onwards, but not comparable with earlier figures.
2. Following the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 education authorities must make special arrangements for the education of children who are unable to attend school because of prolonged ill-health and exemptions caused by family illness. The Executive issued guidance to authorities on this duty in December 2001. Authorities may also make special arrangements for children who cannot attend because of extraordinary circumstances.
3. Section 30 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 states that parents have a duty to provide efficient education for their school age children which is suited to their age, ability and aptitude. They may do this by ensuring that their child attends a local authority school regularly, or by other means, including the provision of education at home. Children who receive education at home under Section 30 do so as a result of parental choice, and are distinct from those who, due to illness or exceptional circumstances, are unable to attend school.
4. Parents of children who have started to attend a local authority school must seek the LA's consent before withdrawing their child from school to educate them at home. LAs reported that they were aware of 417 such children who were educated at home in 2004/05. Parents of children who have never attended a local authority school are not required to seek the consent of their LA in order to educate them at home. LAs reported that they were aware of 127 such children, although there may be others. If LAs become aware of such children they have a responsibility to ensure that an efficient education is being provided.
5. In March 2004 the Scottish Executive published guidance for local authorities on the circumstances in which parents may choose to educate their children at home. The purpose of this guidance is to promote a consistency of approach across Scotland by setting out the legislative position, providing advice on the roles and responsibilities of education authorities and parents, and giving examples of good practice. The guidance is available on the Scottish Executive website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/education/gcech-00.asp.
Pupil number projections
6. The information in this statistical publication notice is derived from:
a) Census of Pre-school Education Centres, 2004 and previous.
b) Pupil Census September 2004 and School Census September 1996 - 2003.
c) General Register Office for Scotland - mid-year population estimates up to 2004.
d) General Register Office for Scotland - 2004 based population projections.
7. The methodology employed in projecting numbers of children in pre-school centres uses the 2004 Pre-school Census pupil counts, split by age, and population projections.
8. Figures used in these projections are headcounts. In previous years an estimate has been produced for FTE, however since no FTE figures have been available for several years this has been discontinued.
Primary and Secondary
9. Firstly, the percentage of pupils of each age, in each sector, compared to the total number of children in the population was calculated. (Data on the age of pupils were available from the 2002, 2003 and 2004 pupil censuses. For previous years, data giving the stage of the pupil were converted to age using cohort-specific age/stage patterns from the recent pupil censuses)
10. Then, for a given cohort moving through the school, the participation rate for a given year was projected using the knowledge of the previous year's participation rate for that cohort, together with the average change in participation rates at that age. (For example, if 98.2% of 6 year-olds were in mainstream primaries in 2003, and on average over the past four years the participation rate of 6 year-olds had increased 0.3 percentage points by the time they are 7, then the projected participation rate for 7 year-olds in 2004 would be 98.5%.)
11. A similar methodology was used for 16 - 18 year olds, but some changes were made to avoid distortion due to leavers. The average change in participation rates were based on fewer years, so that more recent years were given greater weight. In addition, where the participation rate for 17 and 18 year-olds resulted in a lower participation rate than the average over 2003 and 2004, the average was used instead.
12. The participation rates for 19 year olds was calculated using the 4 year average rates for 1999-2004.
13. Participation rates for cohorts not yet in the system were calculated using four year average rates for 3, 4 and 5 year-olds, which are then projected forward using the same methodology as above.
14. The projections for pre-school and primary school age children are increasingly affected by predicted birth rates and unknown participation rates - this introduces a greater element of uncertainty.
15. Pupil numbers in special schools are projected using age-specific participation rates. The lower estimate from the Audit Scotland/ HMIE publication Moving to Mainstream has then been used, phased in over 7 years, to adjust the figures to account for the potential impact of mainstreaming of pupils, arising from section 15 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000. These have been subtracted from the special school figures and added to primary and secondary schools in proportion to the primary/secondary ratio in mainstream pupil numbers.
16. This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
17. The team responsible for producing this document were : Mal Cooke, Matt Flanagan and Colin Gallacher.
18. All tables are available on the Scottish Executive website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/00457
19. Public enquiries (non-media) about the information contained in this statistical publication notice should be addressed to Mal Cooke, Statistician, Scottish Executive Education Department, Area 1-B, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.
Telephone 0131 244 1689 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. Media enquiries about the information in this statistical publication notice should be addressed to:
Marion MacKay: 0131 244 3070
Statistical Publication Notice
15 November 2005
Tables & Charts
Table 1: Children Educated Outwith School in Scotland, 2000/01 - 2004/05
Chart 1: Children Educated Outwith School in Scotland, 2000/01 - 2004/05
Table 2: Children Educated Outwith School, by Local Authority, 2004/05
Table 3: 2004-based Scotland level pupil projections
Chart 2: Number of pupils (thousands) at September, publicly funded primary and secondary schools
Table 4: 2004-based Scotland Level Pupil Projections - Number of pupils (thousands) receiving publicly funded education at September, by age at following June
Table 5: 2004-based Scotland Level Pupil Projections - Number of pupils (thousands) at September by stage in publicly funded primary and secondary schools