Hundreds taken out of mainstream education

Education: Secondary / Wed 19th Sep 2018 am30 09:42am

ESSEX County councillors have been warned that parents are being urged to home school children to help budge troublesome pupils off the school register.

Figures published this year have shown that the number of children removed from school in Essex to be home schooled increased from 466 in 2014 to 750 in 2017 – a rise of 60 per cent.

Of the 750 taken out in 2017, 65 of those were due to attendance issues and 22 were taken out due to bullying.

However Essex County Council (ECC) says the majority – 429 – were taken out of mainstream education for reason either unknown or for “other”.

Phil Picton, Independent Chairman for the Essex Safeguarding Children Board, told councillors on the People and Families Policy and Scrutiny Committee on September 13: “The vast majority of home schooling is not a problem.

“There are responsible parents making a decision for their own reasons or in their child’s interests wanting to home school who are involved in national organisations involved in home schooling and it would be hard to say they are not doing a good job.

“There are a small number of cases – and I’m not speaking about Essex in particular – that have led to serious case reviews in situations where children have been home schooled and have been out of sight.

“And there is a weakness in the national system because once someone says ‘I want to home school my child’ then potentially they could take them away from all agencies and the child disappears in effect.

“It is less of a problem in Essex than other places.

“Home schooling in that sense can be an issue.

“I think it’s again nationally, I hear suggestions that some schools – and I don’t know if there are many or any in Essex – who encourage parents of children who are challenging to educate or control to home school as a way of taking the child off the school register.

“That concerns me a great deal because usually the parents of those children are not parents who have the skills to home school their child.

“The idea you can take a child out of the system and there is no surveillance of that child feels to me to be a significant risk.”

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