The number of children in home education across England has doubled since 2013.
In Hackney, the percentage of children moving from mainstream education to home education has risen by 94 per cent since 2016, according to research by the Children’s Commissioner for England.
Parents do not have to go through formal proceedings to register their children for home education. The Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, estimates that 60,000 children, most of whom are vulnerable, or have special needs, are effectively “off the grid”.
Many families say they feel they have no choice but to educate their children at home because the schools cannot give their children the help they need.
Vickie Hairsine, a home education parent, said:
Home education for us is vital. My eldest daughter was failed by the school system at just 5 years old. We received zero help from the school or our local authority. Since withdrawing my daughter from school her mental health has improved dramatically, academically she is now years in front of her peers. I know feel incredibly fortunate that in this country we have the option to home educate our children and do what’s best for them, both physically and emotionally. I feel proud that my children have the chance to be educated this way, it has most definitely been the right choice for us.”
Hackney council said special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are in need of extra funding, facing a funding gap of just over £7million pounds.
Anne Longfield told the Independent newspaper: “Many of these children are unable to cope with a ‘one size fits all’ school system. It is a small number of schools responsible for this sharp rise in children leaving school for home education.”
Longfield added: “We need to know if they are getting the education they need to succeed in life. There is a clear case for the government to introduce a compulsory register for all home-educated children.”