Councils in England have shared statistics showing a huge rise in home education.
The number of families in England choosing to home educate has been rising noticably in recent years but the Covid-19 pandemic seems to coincide with a large spike in parents deregistering their children from state schools and opting to keep them at home for their education.
Why are parents increasingly choosing to home educate?
Health concerns related to Covid-19 are the most common reason cited by those who have chosen to home educate recently, in addition to worries about their child's mental health due to the pandemic. The number of changes that have had to be put in place in schools to become 'covid friendly' is, understandably, daunting and scary for many children, so we can understand this.
A survey by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ACDS) estimated there was a 34% increase in elective home education on the 2019-20 figures, across 152 local authorities in England. They also stated that numbers had fluctuated over the year signifigantly due to cases rising and falling, with parents sending their children back and then choosing elective home education again.
We asked the parents in our online community of over 75,000 parents - have THEY made the switch to homeschooling, or considered it, and why?
Only 2% of our voters admitted that they were considering elective home education, and only 1% had actually made that executive decision. Adelle told us;
"I really missed school through lockdown. It gives me my sanity as it turns out. I have 5 kids, 4 of which are school age. So when they are all home I struggle to keep up with everything."
Other reasons why our mummies and daddies have made this decision reflect the survey pretty consistently...
- Worries about bringing Covid home to vulnerable relatives.
- Children who are more vulnerable due to health conditions.
- All of the changes going on due to the pandemic are just too unsettling, with random closures coming unexpectedly causing disruption.
- Some schools asking for children to be regularly tested for Covid-19 which some children find very scary and stressful.
We wholeheartedly understand why parents are increasingly choosing to home educate, but is it practical for everyone? Our parenting community shared why they can't home educate, even if they really would love to...
- Financial reasons - not all families can survive on one income if one parent doesn't work to become the educator.
- Mental health - some parents struggle to cope with the demands and pressures of work, keeping a home, and other things going on without also being responsible for their child's learning 30 hours a week.
- Space - not every home has space for a work station, learning materials, nor can every home afford schooling materials.
- Educational needs - children with an EHCP (Education and Healthare Plan) can absolutely be homeschooled but it's not always feasible for their specific provision to be offered at home, and the personal budget part of an EHCP, if a parent has one, often doesn't cover everything needed to home educate an SEN child.
Overall, it's not an easy topic to navigate, and we completely empathise with parents either side of this topic. It musn't be an easy decision for a family to have to make, and we also really feel for families who would really prefer to home educate or send their children into school, but who have to make the opposite choice for really important reasons that can't be helped.
Either way - you're doing your best. Stay safe, everyone.
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