Home education in Northamptonshire increases by 1,172 per cent in ten years, FOI reveals

Home Education in Northamptonshire has increased by 1,172 per cent in last ten years.
Home Education in Northamptonshire has increased by 1,172 per cent in last ten years.

A new study looking into the growth of home education in Northamptonshire has revealed that since 2006, there are now 375 more pupils now being taught at home.

Research obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that there were 32 children home-educated in Northamptonshire in 2006 and within 10 years that number has escalated to 407 students in 2016, an increase of 375 people.

Northamptonshire County Council is in the top five councils in England for increases in home education, with a rise of 1,172 per cent in the last ten years.

Opposistion education spokeswoman for the Labour party, Danielle Stone (Castle) said: "Families home educate to protect children from pressures implicated on them at school and because they are not happy with the narrowness of the curriculum.

"Teachers and children are subjected to more pressures, there is an increase in mental health in primary children, anxiety features quite a lot and there is an increase in depression, they feel they need to meet targets at school.

"I'm sad that so many families think they can't find an appropriate place for their children in schools but I'm not surprised."

One mum from Wellingborough, who wishes to remain anonymous, has her son work from home and says a lot of parents are fed up with being dictated to by schools and the Government.

She said: "There are lots of children now diagnosed with complex issues such as autism, ADHD to name a couple along with anxiety.

"And more often than not schools don't always provide the needs that that particular child requires without a lot of hassle. Some children are late in getting assessed and during which time the child can become increasingly distressed due to the school environment. So the parent may just feel school isn't the best place for them.

"Quite often the schools are not geared up to deal with children with complex needs or for those that just don't fit into the 'normal' box. They are often impatient and just don't understand the needs of that child. From a parents point of view when a child is so distressed by school 'home educating' seems to be the way.

"With home education, there is so much more flexibility. You can holiday when you want to, go on day trips etcetera, and reduce the hours of working to probably three or four. It is something we have considered a lot and still do. But for us the social side of things is important as home educating can be lonely, but it does have great success. I take my hat off to anyone who makes that decision as it is never done lightly."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The county council follows national guidance regarding home education but we would always encourage parents that their children receive a mainstream education which has many advantages.

“In cases where parents opt for home education, our role as the local authority is to ensure parents provide a suitable education for their child’s age, ability and aptitude, however that may be delivered.”

Southampton City Council (2,327%) Hertfordshire County Council (1,846%) Liverpool City Council (1,507%) have seen the largest rises, with Northamptonshire County Council trailing closely behind.

The only councils to respond to the Freedom of Information request and reported a decrease in the number of children registered as home-educated were Rutland County Council (-58%), London Borough of Wandsworth (-24%) and Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (-17%) between 2011 and 2016.

Oxford Home Schooling’s top tips for parents considering home education is:

- Make contact with your local home education group and share skills and knowledge.

- Make sure your child attends activities outside of home education groups - they will get to meet other children and socialise in a different way to the home education groups. It also gives you the chance to get involved and engaged in the local community.

- Investigate all the different varieties of home education, from autonomous education to school at home. Different things are right for different families and even different children at different points in life.