Contextual research week 11 – Statistics of social services referrals of home educated children

Contextual research week 11 – Statistics of social services referrals of home educated children

In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme.

3rd December 2019


CONTEXTUAL RESEARCH WEEK 11 – Year 3 project Tate Britain –


Whilst researching home education numbers across the U.K , rules and regulations regarding alternative education, and statistics and data, I came across two papers published by Wendy Charles-Warner, one from 2015, and one from 2019.

The links to these papers are below, and include all references and citations , for where the data was collated from. The majority of this data was collated through data published through councils websites, freedom of information requests and similar. Some of the figures are just astounding. To me the most damning of which is the referral rates of families who home educate to social services.

In England, of you are parent of a home educated child aged 5-16  you are twice as likely to be reported to social services, than a mainstream schooled counterpart.

Of all those referred , the data shows for the 5-16 year old age range again, you are three and a half, to five times less likely for that referral to lead to a child protection plan being put in place.

This data is very transparent, home educating families are persecuted by both professionals and the public at large for their legal choice to home educate, whilst simultaneously, contrary to media rhetoric a home educated child that is referred is significantly less likely to need social services involvement than their schooled counterpart.

We must ask ourselves , WHY is this ? Is this fear, ignorance, or media propaganda, or a combination of all three.

This module I photographed and interviewed a family who had a malicious social services referral made about them. For obvious reasons I cannot include any identifying features of the family , so their interview will be being typed up and entered into my CRJ as a text document with no images or names alongside. It is important to me that the voices of those that have this kind of unnecessary, and quite frankly stressful, and worrying involvement are heard.

Both modules so far on the MA I have been encouraged to show the “real” home education , the mess, the tears, the tantrums, the washing, the washing up. I put it to you that this is just normal everyday family life, I choose not to photograph family lives, but to represent a philosophical choice.

The ‘reality’ of the mess of home education, is in the malicious or ignorant social services referrals, health care professionals being so intent on quizzing you about home education, they forget to discuss the health issues they are meant to be talking about, and unnecessary school attendance being served to families, (or perhaps even worse, being used as a threat to coerce families .) 

I am considering following this line of research in one of my future modules.

PDF DOWNLOAD 2019-research-Home-Education-and-Child-Abuse-How-Media-Rhetoric-Drives-the-Myth

Page introduction to the research …

Home Education and the Safeguarding Myth: Analysing the Facts Behind the Rhetoric.
Wendy Charles-Warner (Centre for Personalised Education)

The current climate regarding safeguarding of children has brought added consequences  for those who choose ‘Education Otherwise’ such as Elective Home Education (EHE). These families face suspicion, undue scrutiny, monitoring  and bureaucratic hurdles.
In the first data analysis of its kind Wendy Charles-Warner exposes the reality behind the rhetoric. The safeguarding data and analysis of serious case reviews indicates, that far from being at risk, EHE children are safer than their schooled counterparts. In fact the relevant authorities continue to miss opportunities to protect children when presented. In the case of EHE families these authorities exceed their roles and responsibilities without the statistical evidence to warrant their intrusion.

PDF DOWNLOAD Home-Education-and-the-Safeguarding-Myth-2

Charles-WArner. W. (2015) ‘Research: Home Education and the Safeguarding Myth: Analysing the Facts Behind the Rhetoric’ . Personalised education now. (Accessed 02.12.19)



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This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.