Growing number of SEND children being home-schooled

The Children’s Commissioner for England has warned that 60,000 children are permanently out of school, many of whom are vulnerable or have special educational needs.

Reports revealed that the number of children home educated was 27 per cent higher in 2018 than in 2017, and in the past five years, this has risen by 20 per cent.

Moreover, one in five children withdrawn from school will have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

While some children are being taken out of school to have a high-quality home education, a growing number of parents feel they have no choice to home educate because schools cannot cater for their child and do not have the correct support in place.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “Many of these children are very vulnerable, have special educational needs, or are unable to cope with a ‘one size fits all’ school system. Schools should be for all children, including those with complex needs and those who struggle academically.

“The numbers are rocketing and no one knows how they are doing academically, with many being off-rolled. It also seems that a relatively small number of schools may be responsible for this sharp rise in children leaving school for ‘home education’ in this way.”

Ms Longfield added: “We need to know who these children are, where they are, and if they are getting the education they need to succeed in life. There is a clear case for the Government to introduce a compulsory register for all home-educated children, without delay.”

Councillor, Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Placing a legal duty on parents to register home-schooled children with their local authority would also help councils to monitor how children are being educated and prevent them from disappearing from the oversight of services designed to keep them safe.”