The number of children registering for home education has increased by 75% in the first eight months of the current school year. In the north-west of England, there has been an even greater increase of 92% on the previous two-year average.
This is largely due to anxieties around Covid19 and the huge disruption the pandemic has caused to mainstream education over the past year. The significant upheaval caused by the pandemic in the form of remote learning, isolation and bubbles has caused many parents to consider and indeed choose the alternative education.
Parents feared for their children’s health and how their education would be impacted by the disturbances if they continued traditional education.
The Department of Education and Minister for Education, Gavin Williamson, have responded that they are absolutely committed to creating a register of home educated children and its introduction is imminent.
He stated the importance of accountability and monitoring whilst also noting the high standard of education, dedication and hard work put in by parents and family members to create the right resources, schemes and work to create the optimal learning space. He stressed how vital it is to ensure the decision to home-educate is made with the child’s best interests at the forefront and it is a decision not to be made lightly.
The BBC heard from families across the countries who shared their reasons for making the decision. These included feeling that their child would regress as the school was teaching him phonics when he already knew how to read; with others stating that Covid was the final push in making the move.
Many parents are still reluctant and have reservations about certain elements of home education, in particular, the social element, with many fearing that their children will be excluding from their peers. At the moment, many are not certain about how long they will be spending at home-education and if it is just a short term response to the current COVID19 situation.
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