Home Education (0)
Home education is frequently in the news, and I get many enquiries about possibilities. Reasons for looking at home education can be quite varied but mainly come down to no accessible suitable school being available. Reasons may include: allocated school is in Special Measures and so not fit for purpose; poor academic results; for SEN children fear of exclusion (common with Autistic Spectrum and ADHD); for SEN children failure of school to offer appropriate support or education; bullying or bad behaviour (experienced, reported, or observed the latter mainly be parents living close to the school); in Years 10 & 11 inappropriate curriculum or lack of interest in education; school allocated is of low status amongst friends and neighbours.
Home education is not to be taken lightly - it argued that children miss out on the social experience of school - but so many of the reasons cited above add up to that experience being a negative, not a positive factor.
There are a number of organisations that will offer you direct support in home educating your child, and others that will offer advice. Many parents are tempted to act impulsively when withdrawing their child from a school. There are many issues including the possibility of a long term commitment. Seek advice before taking an action that may be irreversible, for there may be alternatives.
Statistics for numbers of Kent children being home educated are as follows:
On 31st January 2011, there were 825 Kent children being home educated out of a total school population of some 180,000 children - that is around 5 out of every 1000 or half of a percentage point, reflecting the national average. Of the 491 new referrals last year, over a third were from Years 10 & 11, I suspect many of these having dropped out of school, and were therefore missing from school rolls (and exam and attendance statistics) with perhaps no one chasing hard to find them. The number of new referrals were very similar in each of the primary years (averaging 22 per year group across the whole county) - although rising in the secondary years. Nevertheless the number of home educated children has increased by 16% over the past three years, so there has to be some concerns. This may be why KCC has commissioned a report on the issue, to be considered at the scrutiny committee meeting on 23rd November 2011.
In Medway I have less information, but the total figure for 2009-10 was 224, of whom 97 were in Years 10 and 11.
A recent Internet page on Money.co.uk looks at the costs of Home Education and not surprisingly concludes it is cheaper than sending children to school!