The number of children being home educated has risen by 27 per cent in the last year, according to a survey of local authorities carried out by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).
Around 57,800 children were home schooled in 2018, up from 45,500 in 2017 and 37,500 in 2016.
Debbie Barnes, chair of the ADCS educational achievement policy committee, said that in some places, schools are using home schooling “as a means to illegally exclude children with special educational or behavioural needs”.
Some parents said that when schools threaten to permanently exclude their children, this can lead to a home education “decision”, according to the report. One local authority said that they attribute the rise in home education to the trend for strict behavior approaches at schools.
Another authority reported that schools often “suggest” home education to parents when they are “under threat of warnings” over the behaviour or attendance of their children.
Ms Barnes said that parents have a right to educate their children at home, children’s services directors.
She added: “However, if the learning experience provided in the home does not meet children’s needs, when schools are using home schooling as a means to illegally exclude children with special educational or behavioural needs, when parents use home schooling as a means to avoid attendance fines or as a cover to send their children to illegal schools, that’s when we worry.”
The majority of local authorities said that 80 per cent of those home schooled had previously attended school. ADCS said that a greater awareness of home education, rising birth rates and improved recording by local authorities may, in part, account for some of the growth.
Earlier this year, MPs warned that haircut and uniform violations are being punished by schools as severely as drug and weapons under “zero tolerance” policies.
These behaviour policies have become a popular among headteachers as they seek to instill discipline and improve results. But such policies have been criticised by MPs who say they are leading to more students being temporarily or permanently excluded from school.
written by Camilla Turner, education editor
15 NOVEMBER 2018 • 5:53PM-The Telegraph/education