Striking Surge in Home Education Raises Concern


A recent study reveals a concerning trend in England, as more children are being withdrawn from schools for home education. This has prompted calls for action from government and education authorities. Analysis shows that the number of children in elective home education (EHE) has surged in many regions over the past five years, with some councils reporting a doubling of numbers since 2019.

Councils attribute this increase to various factors, including families opting for formal home education after experiencing homeschooling during the pandemic. Additionally, a growing number of parents are choosing home education because they feel the current school system cannot adequately address the needs of their children, particularly those with mental health issues or special educational needs and disabilities (Send), as noted by charity Education Otherwise.

Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show significant rises in home education registrations across England. For instance:

– Devon County Council reported 2,039 children registered for EHE in August 2023, up from 1,963 in August 2022 and 1,234 in August 2019.

– Rotherham Borough Council recorded 397 children in EHE in August 2023, compared to 324 in August 2022 and 163 in August 2019.

– Lancashire County Council reported 1,967 children in EHE in August 2023, compared to 1,746 in August 2022 and 1,216 in August 2019.

– Derby City Council saw 645 children registered for EHE in August 2023, up from 465 in August 2022 and 329 in August 2019.

Some London boroughs have also experienced significant increases. Harrow Borough Council reported 350 children in EHE in August 2023, compared to 194 in August 2022 and 71 in August 2019. Similarly, Hillingdon Borough Council recorded 311 children in EHE in August 2023, up from 157 in August 2022 and 95 in August 2019. Reasons cited include concerns about health during the pandemic and a growing emphasis on emotional well-being as a motivator for home education.

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