More than 50 children in Derbyshire receive no education
There are more than 50 children in Derbyshire who are not receiving any education.
Details in a Freedom of Information request to Derbyshire County Council revealed that in total, 56 children aged five to 16 do not currently have any educational provision.
However, the real figure is likely to be higher.
The county council said that there is no legal requirement for parents or carers to notify the authority if they have chosen not to register their child or children with a school – and are as a result without an education.
On top of this, if a family moves into the county they will not be known to the council unless they chose to register their child.
A council spokesperson said when families move counties or area during school holiday periods it can often take a while to track them down to ensure the children are being educated.
Of the 56 children, six are on the special educational needs register. Fewer than five have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. This is a legally-binding document which lays out what support a child with extra educational needs will receive, and how.
Numbers lower than five are not disclosed by the council so as to prevent directly identifying an individual.
The council has a legal obligation to ensure that all children in the county are educated and cared for.
It has an out-of-education service, which includes arranging for tutors to come to a child’s home or for a pupil to attend tutoring sessions.
Online courses are also available.
Pupils can also be home-schooled by a parent.
A common cause of children being left without any educational provision is permanent exclusion, when a school says that it can no longer cater for a child – typically due to poor behaviour.
A spokesperson for the county council said: “We provide a range of provision for children not in traditional education, including specialist support centres, out-of-school tuition and tailor-made education programmes to meet individual children’s specific needs.
“There are often legitimate reasons why some children are not in school but where there aren’t – and despite the numbers being very small – we are obviously concerned and take the issue very seriously.
“We have robust tracking processes in place to monitor children who are missing out on the education they are entitled to and make every effort to ensure they receive it.”
She said that other reasons for these children not having any education could include them moving to a private school – which they don’t have to tell the council about.
The child could also have started an athletic or acting career – or something similar – in which they have alternative education arrangements alongside their training.
The true figure for the number of children who are without education of any sort is unknown, due to those who are “lost in the system”.
In August, the council revealed that the number of children being electively home-schooled – in which the parent chooses to homeschool their child – had almost doubled in three years.
The number of children being taught from home increased from 495 in July 2015 to 808 as of July 2018.
If a pupil was being homeschooled, for example in Nottinghamshire, and moved to Derbyshire, they would not be known to the county council at all – unless the parent chooses to register their child.
If parents chose not to register their child with a school or withdraw their child from school and do not provide them with an education, they can face a hefty fine and possible jail sentence.
The education welfare team at the county council are responsible for taking these cases to magistrates’ court, at which parents can face a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence of up to three months.
The court also gives out a Parenting Order, if these proceedings find the parent guilty.
These orders mean that the guilty party has to attend parenting classes must follow strict steps to ensure their child is educated and/or that their attendance in school improves.