Big increase in number of Devon students being home educated

PUBLISHED: 12:01 08 June 2019

Devon schoolchildren. Picture LDRS

Devon schoolchildren. Picture LDRS

Archant

Numbers have almost tripled in the past five years

The number of students taken out of school to be educated at home in Devon has more than tripled in the last five years.

In 2013/14 there were 750 students registered as being in elective home education, but last year the figure rose to 1,588.

Parents being unhappy with the pressures placed on children due to SATs, school uniform dress codes being applied too rigidly, and the use of sanctions such as internal exclusion resulting in their child not accessing an education are named as reasons why parents have chosen to take their children out of school.

There was a 25 per cent increase in the last year, a report to Devon County Council's children's scrutiny committee reveals, adding that the total percentage of children educated at home has risen sharply from 0.4 per cent in 2014 to 1.6 per cent last year.

The report of Dawn Stabb, head of education and learning for the county council, also says there is an increasing trend in recent years children being withdrawn at Key Stage 4 - Years 10 and 11 - saying that it is because parents have said it is because they do not consider that the curriculum is meeting their child's needs.

Lifestyle/Philosophical/Culture reasons are given the most prevalent reason for children being home schooled, followed by dissatisfaction with the school environment, emotional behavioural difficulties, medical reasons and bullying, although in around 20 per cent of cases, no reason was given.

Her report says: "The reasons underpinning parents' decisions to withdraw their children to be home educated are many, complex and varied. Devon reflects the national trend in seeing a steep increase in the number of children being taken out of school to be electively home educated - the numbers have more than doubled in the past five years. There has been a 25 per cent increase in the last year.

"An increasing trend in the last two to three years is the number of children being withdrawn at Key Stage 4 - Years 10 and 11. Parents tell us this is because they do not consider that the curriculum is meeting their child's needs. The requirement on schools to report on Progress 8 Scores is effectively restricting their ability to offer functional skills or a range of vocational qualifications for those pupils for whom many academic subjects are inappropriate. Some parents are therefore choosing to withdraw their child from school in order to attend a part time college course."

Examples of dissatisfaction with the school environment, for which 194 students were taken out of mainstream education last year, include parents being unhappy with the pressures placed on children due to SATs, parents considering school uniform dress code being applied too rigidly, the use of sanctions such as internal exclusion resulting in their child not accessing an education and the lack of communication between school and home.

* The report will be discussed by the children's scrutiny committee on Monday (June 10).

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