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Councils in England see sharp rise in homeschooling

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Councils in England see sharp rise in homeschooling

Figures reveal a rise since the pandemic

Dozens of councils in England have seen a sharp rise in the number of children being removed from school to be home educated since the Covid-19 pandemic, figures reveal.

The number of children in elective home education (EHE) has increased in many areas of the country in the last five years – and in some councils, it has more than doubled since 2019, an analysis has found.

More families have opted to formally remove their children from school after the pandemic allowed them to experience homeschooling, councils have said.

But a growing number of parents are now choosing home education because they feel the current school system cannot meet the needs of their children – especially those who have mental health issues or special educational needs and disabilities (Send), according to charity Education Otherwise.

The figures – obtained by the PA news agency using Freedom of Information requests – show that dozens of councils in England also saw the number of children registered in home education rise last year.

Around half of councils in England – 72 out of 152 – provided full data to PA showing the total number of children registered as EHE in August 2019, August 2020, August 2021, August 2022 and August 2023.

The figures show that:

– Devon County Council said 2,039 children were registered as EHE in August 2023, compared with 1,963 in August 2022 and 1,234 in August 2019. A spokesperson for the council said some young people have “struggled to re-adjust to being in a school environment” following the pandemic.

– Rotherham Borough Council recorded 397 children as EHE in August 2023, compared with 324 (August 2022) and 163 (August 2019), while Lancashire County Council recorded 1,967, compared with 1,746 (2022) and 1,216 (2019).

– Derby City Council recorded 645 children in EHE in August 2023, compared with 465 (August 2022) and 329 (August 2019). A spokesperson for the council said some families had removed children from schools due to health concerns during Covid-19, but now “emotional wellbeing” is a key motivator.

– Some London boroughs have seen sharp rises. Harrow Borough Council said 350 children of school age were known to be EHE in August 2023, compared with 194 (2022) and 71 (2019). In Hillingdon Borough Council, 311 children were known to be EHE, compared with 157 (2022) and 95 (2019).

– Cambridgeshire County Council said 1,408 children were registered as EHE in August 2023, compared with 1,260 for the same period in 2022 and 998 in 2019. A council spokesperson said the pandemic provided parents with “the opportunity to experience home learning” and they saw some positives.

The figures are based on children registered as being in home education with local authorities, so the numbers are likely to be higher as parents do not have to inform councils if they decide to withdraw their child from school.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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