13. Education, learning and employment
Elective Home Education Survey 2020 (England)
Source: Association of Directors of Children's Services
Date: 23 November 2020
The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) has published an analysis of its annual elective home education survey to capture the number and characteristics of children and young people who are known to be home educated in England. Estimates, based on data received from 133 local authorities who responded to the 2020 survey, include: 75,668 children and young people were being electively home educated on 1 October 2020, an increase of 38% from October 2019. Feedback from local authorities indicated that health concerns (relating specifically to COVID-19) over the coronavirus pandemic was a primary reason for parents and carers choosing to formally home educate their child in 2020. However, some parents or carers noted that their positive experience of educating their child at home during the partial school closures was a contributory factor. The other two top reasons for home education were 'philosophical or lifestyle choice' and 'health/emotional health'.
School Attendance Rates across the UK since Full Reopening (UK-wide)
Source: Education Policy Institute
Date: October 2020
Analysis from the Education Policy Institute suggests that the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils in the UK are more likely to have missed the most learning time as a result of the disruption to schools. The research compares data on school attendance across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland since the return of schools in August and September.
- In summary, attendance rates were highest in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with attendance rates close to that seen in a normal year and relatively low COVID-related absences, and lower in England and Wales.
- Within Scotland, the latest attendance rates are lowest in the most deprived areas (89%) and highest in the least deprived areas (95%). The authors highlight that this is a major source of concern given that evidence suggests disadvantaged pupils are likely to have lost greater learning time during lockdown. They note that this is unlikely to be a uniquely Scottish phenomenon, with evidence of similar problems emerging for England.
- Attendance rates are generally lower in areas with higher infection rates.
- Across the UK, the schools with the lowest attendance rates are special schools.
- Where pupils cannot attend school for COVID-related reasons, the report states that it is crucial that local and national policymakers provide appropriate support, in terms of access to necessary digital equipment and remote learning materials, but also replacements for free school meals.