Nearly 2,000 families still without school places


More than 1,700 parents are still without a school place for their children, according to the Independent.

The problem is worst in the primary sector, where a rising birth rate has forced many primary schools to increase class sizes.

A survey of education authorities in England and Wales by The Independent has revealed that more than 1,000 parents had still not accepted the offer of a school place for the new school year, which starts on Monday in many regions.

The problem has forced a growing number of parents to educate their children at home. The Department for Education does not keep official figures, but the latest indication comes in the answers to a Freedom of Information request by Ed Yourself, a website dedicated to home education, which reveals that local authorities had recorded there were 20,842 children being home-schooled in 2012 in England, an increase of 500 on three years previously.

Home educators believe the actual number could be as high as 80,000 children.

Edwina Theunissen, who runs a helpline for Education Otherwise, said: “There is no doubt that quite a few people are coming to it because of difficulties in finding a school.

“There are two types of home educators really: those who philosophically support the principle and the refuseniks from the school system.”

She said the latter included many parents whose children had been bullied at school, or who had considered their children too young to go to school.

“Some are temporarily educating their children at home until they can get a place,” she added. “Some find they quite like home-educating so they continue.”

However, a spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We are making every effort to stop an unprecedented increase in pupil numbers affecting class sizes and councils have a legal duty to provide places for children in their area.”

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