Children educated at home more at risk of abuse

Children educated at home are twice as likely to be on social services registers for being at risk of abuse as the rest of the population, the head of a government inquiry into home education said yesterday.

The review recommended that all parents who wished to educate their children at home should have to register with their local authority. Council officials will be given powers to refuse registration if they believe that any child is at risk.

In addition, all parents wanting to educate their children at home will have to draw up a 12-month plan outlining what they will teach their child.

If officials believe the child is not receiving an adequate education, councils will be able to issue an order requiring the child to be sent back to school.

Graham Badman, the former director of Kent County Council's children's services, headed the review. He said the ratio of home-educated children who were known to social services was "approximately double" that of the population at large.

At present, 20,000 parents who educate their child at home have voluntarily registered with councils.