The Welsh government is failing in its legal obligation to protect the rights of home-schooled children a decade after a boy who was educated by his parents slipped under the radar of education and health officials and died of scurvy , concluded an official report.

Eight-year-old Dylan Seabridge lived in a remote rural community in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales, where he had not been seen by any agency or service for seven years.

Since his death in 2011, there have been repeated calls for the Welsh government to introduce stricter regulations for home schooling, and successive administrations have said changes will be made.

But the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, said the measures taken by ministers had been “too tentative, lacking momentum and, in the end, failed to create meaningful reform.”

Holland said: “It is absolutely vital for the children of Wales that these issues are addressed with determination, clarity and transparency. We cannot look back in another decade to find that as a country we still have not made progress. “

An official review of Dylan’s case released in 2016 concluded that the boy was “invisible” to authorities and called for changes to the law at that time.

Dylan’s parents called 999 after he collapsed at home in December 2011. He suffered cardiac arrest in an ambulance while being taken to hospital and could not be saved.

A post-mortem report said he was suffering from anemia and some of his teeth were loose. He concluded that “these results together are explained by the effects of a long-standing vitamin C deficiency (scurvy)”.

According to the Children’s Commissioner, more cases have emerged since Dylan’s death, including that of a group of home-schooled brothers and sisters in central Wales who suffered physical and emotional abuse.

A report on their case released last year noted that parents had been able to manipulate the rules to maintain control over access to children by strangers. One of the children told investigators, “Education officers should come to the house.”

The Commissioner concluded that the Welsh government ‘has failed to comply with its legal obligations relating to children’s rights’ and made a series of recommendations, including the introduction of legislation ensuring that all children in Wales can be seen and discussed about their education by officials.

In addition, the report called on the government to introduce stricter rules regarding protection in independent schools in Wales.

Staff in independent schools do not need to be registered with the Education Workforce Board (EWC) of Wales, the independent regulatory body for education staff. This means that the EWC cannot intervene if concerns are raised about independent teachers or learning support staff.

Last summer, the government announced that it had abandoned plans for new legislation around home schooling, including plans to introduce a homeschooled person database, citing the impact of the coronavirus on its workload.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “We take the responsibility to protect the rights of children in home education and independent schools very seriously.

“The Prime Minister [Mark Drakeford] and the Minister of Education [Kirsty Williams] expressed disappointment that the government has not been able to move forward on this important planned work. Under normal circumstances, the work would have been near completion. However, we are not in normal circumstances and the government has had to change course drastically.

“We have taken note of the findings of the review and will review the report in detail before responding more formally.”