Unruly pupils are being removed from school and parents are being ‘coerced’ into teaching them at home in ever-growing numbers, it’s been claimed.
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) has published its annual report and has highlighted why so many children are being home educated.
The report also looks into why off-rolling appears to be increasing, which is the practice of a school asking parents of a disruptive or poorly performing child to remove them from school without undergoing a formal exclusion process.
In 2017/18, more than 52,700 children were registered as being home schooled, the OSA says.
That’s a sharp rise from the figure in 2015/16 when 37,000 pupils were recorded.
Parents are not required to register their child
However, since parents are not required to register their child as being home educated the OSA says the true figure is probably much higher.
The chief adjudicator Shan Scott says that some councils are reporting increases of between 40% and 70% in home schooling numbers in recent years.
One local authority told her that it had received more than new 1,000 new registrations last year and “many of these were identifiable instantly as inappropriate”.
This could mean that the parents of a disruptive or unruly child had been talked into home schooling or had acted in haste after an incident.
It appears that few parents have little idea of what they are taking on when opting to take their child out of a school.
More than 100 new registrations
One local authority says in one month it had more than 100 new registrations and councils say parents have a range of reasons for opting for home education, including bullying, special needs not being met or failing to get a place in a favoured school.
Also, home schooling is growing because parents say their child is unhappy at school.
Now, Ms Scott says off-rolling is a widespread problem and the annual report highlights that some schools prepare a letter for their parents to express their intention to home educate electively.
Ms Scott said: “I’ve been told that there tends to be an increase in home education moves during Key Stage 4 years.”
Ofsted this week has also announced that it will penalise schools for off-rolling, saying this solution is never right and Ofsted says it backs exclusions from school using a formal process.
The Department for Education says it is consulting on plans to create a compulsory register for all home educated children.