Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

More than 300 children in Powys educated at home, figures show

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

More than 300 children in Powys are being educated at home councillors have been told. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Health and Care scrutiny committee on Friday, June 2, councillors were given an update on the work being done by the Corporate Safeguarding Board. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Interim director of social services and housing, Nina Davies took the councillors through details of that last board meeting in March when home educated children had been a topic for discussion. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mrs Davies said: “The board were informed that numbers of electively home educated children has increased to more than 300.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mrs Davies explained that some children had not returned to school since the Covid-19 pandemic and that a Welsh Government “resource grant” was also available for families who register for home schooling. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mrs Davies added that the council is waiting for guidance to be published by the Welsh Government which will put the emphasis on parents to provide “evidence” that “suitable” education is taking place. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s an important shift and we’ll be discussing that further in future board meetings once that guidance has been received,” said Mrs Davies. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Liz Rijnenberg said: “You’ve noted the numbers but is there any information about the quality of that education. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Rijnenberg also wanted to know the “age range” and whether issues rise when children are home educated for a while and then go back to the school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Interim head of children’s social services Sharon Powell said: “There are lots of changes in terms of roles and responsibility of education services tracking electively home educated children, Welsh Government are particularly interested.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Due to some children experiencing “trauma” from home schooling, Ms Powell explained that there were several layers of operational scrutiny including a regional safeguarding board that look at the matter. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Powell said that the Welsh Government is “very keen” on knowing the numbers so that they can spot “changes in trend.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Committee chairwoman, Cllr Amanda Jenner said: “We want to be looking at this in a balanced ways because for a lot of children it suits their needs to be home educated.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

She added that more detail is needed to allow the committee to “explore” reasons why parents have chosen to educate their children at home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Jenner said: “Such as whether or not children with specific additional needs are in home education because their parents feel their needs are not being addressed at school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s not just about numbers it’s the reasons why.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mrs Davies added that staff from the education department could be brought to a future meeting for an in-depth discussion on the subject. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Corporate safeguarding means not allowing bad treatment and abuse of employees and others that the council would be responsible for. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The board was set up to address historic corporate safeguarding issues at the council following a critical report by Audit Wales which was published in December 2022. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In May the Cabinet received and noted the board’s report which will also be discussed at a meeting of the Governance and Audit committee later this month. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales



More from Powys Council

Powys County Council Predicted to Have Over £3 Million Surplus in Budget for 2023/2024

Powys Council

Planning Application Lodged for 22 Units, Including Affordable Homes, in Caersws Next to Former Hospital

Powys Council

Claims of Potential £10 Million Annual Target Sparks Concerns Over County Farms Sales

Powys Council

Blaming the Fire Service for Council Tax Rise Should Stop, says Powys Councillor

Powys Council

Approval granted for 22 homes in greenfield site near Welshpool

Powys Council

Powys County Council budget for 2024/2025 with 7.5% Council Tax Rise Approved

Powys Council

Latest from News.Wales

Cardiff council faces potential fine over waste collection changes

Cardiff Council

Plans to Build New Homes on Derelict Farm in Wrexham Village Likely to be Rejected

Wrexham Council

Plea for Extensive Training on Social Media Made After Councillor’s Viral Rant

Torfaen Council

Blaenau Gwent Council Budget Tweaks Result in Lower Than Expected Council Tax Rise

Blaenau Gwent Council

Protest forces cancellation of LGBTQI campaigner Peter Tatchell’s talk in Gwent town

Monmouthshire Council

Former World Champion Darts Player Gerwyn Price Granted Permission for New Fish and Chip Shop

Caerphilly County Borough Council