More than 700 children taken out of Norfolk schools to be home-educated in one year
- Credit: PA
More than 700 children were taken out of schools in Norfolk to be home-educated in the last academic year.
Overall the number of home-educated children in the county has risen by 50pc in the past three years.
It follows a national trend which has led to calls for the rules and guidance around home education – for parents, carers and local authorities – to be reviewed.
Figures from Norfolk County Council show that in the 2015/16 academic year there were 1,200 children being home educated in the county.
By 2017/18 this had risen to 1,808 – and the number looks set to grow again this academic year, with 1,339 children listed as home-educated up to November 28.
The number of children being taken out of mainstream education has risen by almost 60pc, from 453 in 2015/16 to 724 in 2017/18.
The council said children could occasionally be recorded more than once, for example if they had a period at school then returned to home education.
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While there are many reasons why parents choose to home-educate their children, some suggest the rise could be symptomatic of a growing dissatisfaction with the learning on offer in schools.
In response to the growing number of home-educated children nationally, the Department of Education recently asked for views on issues such as registration, safeguarding and monitoring.
A department spokesman said: 'There are thousands of parents across the country who are doing an excellent job of educating their children at home. We know, however, that in a very small minority of cases children are not receiving the standard of education they should be or, very rarely, are being put at risk.'
A parliamentary bill looking specifically at the duty of local authorities to home-educated children is due for its second reading in the House of Commons in the New Year.
A Norfolk County Council spokesman said the authority had increased the support available for home educating families as more parents opt to home-educate.
'Our aim is to work in partnership with Norfolk's home-educating families. We quickly make contact with parents who choose to educate their children at home and assess the level of support that should be offered to them.'