Number of our children educated at home on rise
Parents are taking their children out of the education system and deciding to home school.
During the past year the number of children being educated at home has risen across West Yorkshire.
In Wakefield the figure has risen from 95 children to 167, in Leeds it has increased from 161 to 181, in Calderdale the number has risen from 36 to 48 children, in Kirklees from 187 to 204 and in Bradford the number has gone up from 293 to 345.
The numbers may be higher than this as there is no statutory obligation for a parent to register their child as being home educated.
Mum-of-three Sarah Jones from Ferrybridge, decided to withdraw her eldest son from school aged 7.
She felt that both schools she had tried, one state one private, failed to treat him as an individual.
She said: “In the state school, the teachers were overwhelmed by numbers. In the private school, the focus was on cramming as much into their heads as would fit, without consideration for the fact that they’d only been out of nappies for about half their life.”
Sarah has three sons aged, 11, 5 and 3 years old and she home educates all three.
She said that the state school did virtually no exercise so the kids would be like “fizzy bottles of pop and explode at playground with little supervision.”
Mrs Jones said: “They were being expected to sit down all day, quietly, and told off if they didn’t, without any ability to release their energy other than in the playground.”
When trying a private school, she found it beneficial that they did P.E four times a week but with the extra homework she felt her son had very little time for himself, so Mrs Jones withdrew her son from the school system. She said: “We had discovered that there was a huge home education network in Yorkshire, and that the kids would have no shortage of opportunities for a wide education, as well as socialising opportunities.”
The family’s week now includes a range of physical activities, languages and drama and “free-time” for the kids to choose what they want to learn about.
Business woman Claire Young, a mum-of-one who runs School Speakers, said that school is more than what happens in the classroom.
She said it created the basis where your future friends and networks are built.
Miss Young said: “By being home schooled you miss out on this, as much as people try to link up with other students and groups, I think that is a big shame.
“I believe that education is the back bone to your life and I want my daughter to have the best start and that isn’t by me teaching her.”
Although Miss Young said she can understand people opting for home education if they don’t have a good school offered to them.
She said: “There is no consistency of schools in the UK. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
“If you have a terrible school as your only option I can understand why people decide to take matters into their own hands and home school.
“However, if you have a good school offered to you I am unsure why people who turn this down and choose to home school.”
Miss Young said that she would go as far as to move house to be close to a good school or work any jobs to pay for a “great education.”
She said: “I understand however why more people are home schooling, as growing birth rates and expanding numbers in the class room, are big drivers.
“I also think more parents want easier freedom to travel, a crackdown on taking your children out of school during term time, and questions over the pressure on SATS and what OFSTED believe is important.”
Mrs Jones is currently travelling with her family in Spain where she has gone for a month to help teach the children about the country and the language as well as getting some Winter Sun.
She said: “We’ve been doing ‘beach maths,’ where I draw sums in the sand and they solve them with sticks - much more fun than doing workbooks yet the same learning effect.”
In Wakefield, since the start of September 2015: 167
September 2014 – summer 2015: 95
September 2013 – summer 2014: 49
September 2012 – summer 2013: 56
September 2011 – summer 2012: 67
September 2010 – summer 2011: 48
Marium Haque, Service Director Education and Inclusion at Wakefield Council, said: “The number of children registered with us as home educated has increased. However, we cannot confirm if these figures show the complete picture as there is no legal requirement for families to register with us.”
In Calderdale, 2015-16 to date: 16 from academies; 32 from council run schools
2014-15: 8 from academies; 28 from Council runschools
2013-14: 12 from academies; 19 from council run schools
Unfortunately informationon the years prior to 2013-14 is not held
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Coun Megan Swift, said: “These figures are in line with the national increase in the number of children who are being educated at home.”
In Leeds, in the course of a year, some pupils will start being home schooled and others will stop (return to school or move to a new school etc) so the figures are very fluid. Therefore the figures below are those who started to be
home educated in each year:
2012/13 academic year – 127
2013/14 academic year – 161
2015/15 academic year – 181
A spokesperson from Leeds City Council said: “There has been an increase but we would mainly attribute this to the overall increase in total pupil numbers in the city.”