A BBC investigation has found the number of children being home schooled rose by almost 200% in parts of the North East in the last three years.
Figures shared with SCHOOLS NorthEast by the BBC show the number of children being home schooled in Northumberland rose from 68 in 2014-15 to 194 in 2016-17, a rise of 185%. Hartlepool and Redcar & Cleveland also saw rises of over 100% in the same period. Across the UK home schooling rose by 40%.
Home schooled children as a percentage of all children remains relatively low in the North East, with Darlington currently having the highest proportion at 0.7%.
* No data available for 2014-15. Figure is for the 2015-16 – 2016-17 increase.
In December Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, said the increasing number of home-schooled children was “becoming a challenge for local authorities.”
Ofsted also observed that the numbers of children with special educational needs or disabilities guided towards home-education “was typically high”. Ms Spielman called reports that parents are being asked to keep their children at home because schools cannot meet their needs “unacceptable”.
The Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill, which seeks more powers for local authorities to assess home schooled children, passed Second Reading in the House of Lords last week.
A spokesman for the DfE said the Bill would ensure local authorities “are clear on the action they can take where these responsibilities are not being met”.