The number of children being homeschooled in North Yorkshire has increased by more than 800% in the last five years, new figures have revealed.
In 2013/14 just 70 children were educated outside of a school. By 2017/18 that figure had reached 659, an increase of 841%.
The figures come from a report which will go before North Yorkshire County Council’s Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Friday (7th).
It states that parents have the right to move their children to what is known as Elective Home Education (EHE).
The county carried out a survey of 121 parents and carers of EHE students to find out why they wanted to educate their children outside of school.
A common theme was linked to the support offered to children with complex needs and also to mental health issues, often caused or made worse by bullying.
The report notes: Key themes from the survey in terms of what led parents/carers to educate their child(ren) at home include increased levels of stress/anxiety when at school, associated with mental health deterioration often linked to bullying and/or peer group pressure.
“An unaccommodating school ‘culture’ in relation to not meeting the specific needs of the ‘individual’ child, leading to increasing parental (and pupil) disillusionment with the mainstream education system. Autism is also a feature.
“Communication breakdown between schools and parents also feature within the responses to the survey
“Where parents do not feel listened to or confident in the school’s ability to meet the particular special educational or health needs of the child, they sometimes feel as if removal from the school roll is their only option.”
Seven percent of those contacted said they took their child out of school to avoid an exclusion.
The second most popular reason given for removing a child from school was given by parents and carers for removing a child from school was “unknown” and it is this issue the county now wants to address.
The survey of parents was carried out after anecdotal evidence suggested that one cause in the rise was from schools “poorly advising” that EHE was in the best interests of the child.
The county council is now adding in some extra steps for children that will be homeschooled.
A three-way meeting between the parent/carer, a family outreach officer and the school will be held to ensure the correct and full advice has been given.
The parents/carers will also be given a 20-day cooling off period where their child will remain on the school’s roll to allow them to change their mind.