A Children Not in School register will help identify families who may need support

15 March 2024
Children Not in School Bill



Local authorities have no way of knowing how many children are receiving home education, and they do not have the tools to support children who may be falling through the cracks in our education system.

While many homeschooled children receive good quality education, some children do not. Their parents may have felt forced to withdraw their child from school for a range of reasons. Some may feel that a school is unable to meet their child’s needs, or some may be unable to pay absence fines but feel unsupported in tackling their child’s poor attendance.


Gabriel’s story shows how a whole family support practitioner can address challenges facing a family that may have led them to homeschool their child.

14 year old Gabriel had not been in school for four years when a School-Home Support practitioner met him. 

Gabriel was withdrawn from school because there was a lack of support and educational plan to support his ADHD and sensory impairment diagnosis. His mum, Roisin, wanted the best for her child, but felt she had no choice but to homeschool Gabriel.

As a single mum, Roisin struggled to homeschool Gabriel and keep the family financially stable. The pressure of homeschooling led to a relationship breakdown between Gabriel and mum, and they needed help.

School-Home Support practitioner Carol worked with Gabriel to build trust and create an Education, Health and Care plan (ECHP), and helped transition Gabriel to an Alternative Provision Unit (APU). She sourced ear defenders to support his sensory impairment to ease his anxieties at the APU. Carol also worked with Roisin to give support for Gabriel’s learning at home, and provided food vouchers to reduce the financial burden.

Gabriel’s story shows how a whole family support practitioner can address challenges facing a family that may have led them to homeschool their child.

We worry that there are many more children like Gabriel who are not receiving the support they need to receive a good education. Existing data suggests that children with a ECHP or SEND, are eligible for free school meals, or have a history of school absences and exclusions are more likely to be home educated.

A recent article by the Guardian also shared parents’ homeschooling stories and the difficulties some have faced in ensuring their child receives a good education. It was found that a majority of parents homeschool their children as a “last resort” as the schools were unable to support their child’s needs, such as autism or anxiety.


Today was the second reading of the Children Not in School Bill, which passed without debate.

This will give all local authorities a statutory duty to maintain a register of children who are receiving home education. We warmly welcome the bill, as it would ensure that children on the periphery of the education system are not forgotten about, and children who need extra support are identified. Schools must be able to access whole family support services in a reliable and timely manner.

The Children Not in School Bill passing without debate indicates broad and cross-party support, so we want to see the Government make legislative time for a Government Bill before the end of this Parliament, to reflect the Secretary of State’s commitment to make school attendance her top priority.

To read more on School-Home Support’s position on the Children Not in School Bill, read our briefing.