Surge in home schooling in North Yorkshire

Classroom file pic.

The number of home schooled children in North Yorkshire has hit a record number, climbing at the fastest rate since the pandemic, new figures have revealed.

Some 1,093 children were recorded as being electively home educated (EHE) across the county at the end of March, which represented a 21 per cent rise in a year.

At points in 2017 the total number of children being taught at home in North Yorkshire was less than 400.

North Yorkshire Council officers say the rate of increase is broadly in line with national trends, but it was not expected that numbers of EHE children will reduce to pre-pandemic levels in the short-term.

They have also highlighted how the first three months of the year saw a higher
increase in children becoming EHE than has been seen in any previous quarter year period, with 212 becoming home schooled.

The figures follow the Association of School and College Leaders raising concerns that increases in EHE reflects wider problems, including unmet special education needs, rising volumes of pupils struggling with anxiety at school and other mental health issues.

Charity Education Otherwise has pointed to mounting numbers of parents concluding the school system cannot meet their children’s needs, while the Association of Directors of Children’s Services has said Covid-19 and school closures, of which North Yorkshire has seen a disproportionate number of, had contributed to the increase.

Reacting to the increase in EHE children, the authority’s Young People’s Champion, Councillor Alyson Baker, said she was “deeply concerned” about the quality of education home schooled children were receiving.

Executive member for education, Councillor Annabel Wikinson said she welcomed investigative work being carried out by the council alongside the government to see what extra support could be offered to the EHE children, especially with the curriculum.

She said: “I know some of the parents chose home education for philosophical reasons, but unfortunately more and more children are leaving schools to become home educated, and of course parents have that right so to do.”

Coun Wilkinson said at the point the education authority was notified home education was being considered the council offered a meeting with the family, the school and other agencies to consider how any issues which had led to the decision can be addressed.

Nevertheless, she added ultimately the decision was a parental choice.

She said the council asked parents for details about the education to be provided to assess its suitability.

Stuart Carlton, the authority’s director of the children and young people’s service, said the bar at what is considered suitable education for those not attending school was too low and was in need of national reform.

1 Comment

  1. And there will be more and more if they decide to charge parents to send their kids to school.

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