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Home schooling rises in Bucks

Home schooling rises in Bucks

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 12:14pm 12th March 2020.

The number of children being home schooled is Bucks has risen. 

Buckinghamshire has seen a rise in the number of children being registered as educate at home. 

As of March 2019 657 children were being home schooled, which was up 21% compared to the 545 the previous year.

Although parents do not have the register there children as home schooled, so the number may be higher.

Across England as a whole, a 15% rise meant more than 60,500 children were registered as home-schooled in March last year.

Shan Scott, the government body’s chief adjudicator, said that more than 100 councils expressed concerns that some parents who opt for home education may not be able to meet their child's needs.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it is important to bear in mind that home education remains rare across England:

“Nevertheless, it is concerning to see that the number of children in home education has risen because it is our view that young people are best served by attending a school. 

“It suggests that in a small number of cases, the relationship between the parent and school has broken down, and this may have been exacerbated by the severe pressure which currently exists on schools and pupils.

“Schools have had to make significant budget cuts, which have affected the extent of the support that they are able to provide to children with additional needs, and this may have led to unhappiness among some families.”

Councillor Judith Blake, chairwoman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said:

“We know that most children get a good education at home and fully support parents' rights to home-educate their children.

“In a minority of cases where home-schooled children are not receiving a suitable education or being educated in a safe environment, councils need the powers and appropriate funding to enter homes or other premises to speak to children and check their schooling."

However, Rebecca is a Bucks mum who home educates her two children, 15 and 11, disagrees:

"I think they're quite sweeping statements. Its really depends on the child and the family.

"There are a small number of children who love school and thrive in that environment. My opinion is the majorioty of children who put up with it, probably for the benefit of hanging out with their friends. Then there are a number of children who don't thrive at all.

"That would be my observation from school attending children and families and the children in the home education community who have come out in the last 5 years.

"The first 10 years were quite quite and quite a small community. The last 5 years has been an exponential growth from my perspective inside the community for parents taking their children out of school because its not meeting their needs."

She also heads a voluntary group that organises events and activities for home educated families and says she is often asked how home schooled children socialise:

"It comes up all the time. I would offer the home educated children get more opportunities to socials than children in school. At school you're not allowed to socialise in class time. You're allowed to socialise at break and at lunchtime, maybe before school and after school. But that's it, those are you social interaction times. 

"Home schooled children are going out to museums, they're talking to curators, they're going to farms, they're doing hands on activities and going into shops and working out the change. So their opportunity to socialise are greatly enhanced by being home educated.

"I almost have to curtail it. Certainly in the last 5-8 years we could have gone to a trip or regular home educate event or meeting every single day of the week and not been at home at all."

The LGA has also repeated its call for the Government to require parents to register their child with their local authority if they are home-schooled, so that councils know where they are.

A DfE spokesman said the department was looking into ways to make it easier for vulnerable pupils to access a school place when they need one.

He added that the DfE will use the findings of this report to ensure the school admissions system continues to help deliver good school places for even more pupils and parents.

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