Rising number of pupils are now schooled at home


More parents in the UK are now choosing the home school their children, creating a 65% increase in this method of teaching in the last few years, according to a new report.

Responses to BBC Freedom of Information requests from 190 local authorities showed that in the space of the last six years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of pupils whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than sending them to school.

It means that out of the 9.5 million pupils across the UK, some 37,000 are now schooled at home, with this number having climbed by 10,000 since 2009. Lifestyle, dissatisfaction or disagreements with local schools, special needs, bullying and religion were the main reasons parents give for choosing this method.

Graham Stuart, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Home Education, says the last few years have seen councils become better at recording figures and keeping track of who has been home schooled, which is also helping to give a better overall picture of how the education sector is now taking shape.

"Local authorities have created groups to share best practice, and we're seeing what I hope is an increasing trend to stop treating home education as a problem to be regulated, and instead see it as an opportunity to be facilitated and supported," said the Conservative MP and former chairman of the education select committee.

Although parents do not need to give a reason why they are taking their child out of school, many councils do ask for one, which helps to paint the picture of home schooling in 2015.

At number one on the list of reasons is a difference of philosophy or lifestyle, which accounts for 13.4 per cent of home schooled pupils. A level of dissatisfaction with the local school or a conflict, accounts for 9.3 per cent of families who make this decision, while almost five per cent have had issues with bullying or special needs in local schools.

The government says it will continue to "respect the rights of parents to home educate their children" as long as they can prove they are providing a suitable level of education to their children and they are not falling behind because of their lack of structured schooling.