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Homeschooling On the Rise: Why a Surge?

Statistics for homeschooled children show significant increases over the last few years. So, what are the common reasons parents choose personalised learning for their kids?

HOMESCHOOLING INCREASE: UK-wide figures reveal close to 48,000 children received a home education in 2016-17.

That was a huge rise compared to around 39,000 for the previous school year. That particular year also took a jump up from 34,000 in 2014-15.

There are many reasons why parents are removing their children from the classroom. But, among the most common are mental health problems and avoiding exclusion from school.

The government already issue guidance on the ‘rights and responsibilities on home education‘. Even so, the majority of local councils are seeking further monitoring powers.

Their concern relates most to the quality of the education that homeschooled children receive. But, they also want improved ‘safeguarding’ on some child-related issues. An example would be the ability to protect children from any maltreatment or abuse.

The rise in homeschooling in the United Kingdom also concerns some children’s charities. One charity for children outside mainstream education went even further. They said the UK homeschooling surge suggests that something “tragic” is happening to the education system.

Even so, parents should not feel pressured into providing a personalised learning environment for their kids. But, homeschooling statistics seem to show that many do. A common reason given for the pressure was to avoid any prosecution over school attendance and absence.

Many are questioning whether putting up to 30 children in one classroom is the smartest way to teach children. As a rule, it means they all do exactly the same thing and follow the same national curriculum.

Is thinking ‘outside the box’ the way to move forward in the 21st century? Many parents and teachers believe that teaching online and in real time is the best way for kids to learn.

Homeschooling Statistics in the United Kingdom

The home-education statistics and figures on homeschooling come from councils in England, Wales, Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Department of Education.

  • Homeschooling On the Rise: Why a Surge in the United Kingdom?164 out of 177 authorities that provided data reported an increasing number of children are not in schools [2014-2017].
  • 11 authorities had less homeschooled children than the previous year (of those that provided figures for all three years).
  • The statistics account for less than 1% of the school age population in England and Wales. But, it proves that homeschooling is on the rise in the United Kingdom.

Note: The laws on schools and school-age education state that all children must receive an education. But, there is no legal obligation for children to get it by attending a school. Thus, they can receive a ‘suitable education’ by their parents or get taught by private tutors.

Proportion of Home-Educated Children by Area [2016-17]

  • Isle of Wight had the highest percentage of local homeschooled children with 1.9% (almost 1 in 50).
  • Ceredigion also had a high percentage of local homeschooled children with 1.4%.
  • Devon also had a high percentage of local homeschooled children with 1.2%.
  • Wolverhampton had 1% of local homeschooled children.
  • Gloucestershire also had 1% of local homeschooled children.

Reasons Why Parents Choose to Homeschool Children

Not all council authorities could give realistic reasons for the rise in homeschooling. But, most of them accepted that more parents appear to be choosing personalised learning for their children. Nonetheless, some areas did provide a handful explanations, including:

  • Cambridgeshire Council: Cited increased support for the home-educated community. Of note was the extended ‘borrowing rights’ at local libraries.
  • Darlington Authority: Their staff are ‘working with the police and health centres’. They suggest it contributed to the rise in numbers of homeschooled youngsters identified.
  • Devon Authorities: Many parents put the blame on ‘dissatisfaction with the school environment’.
  • East Sussex: Provided a list of reasons why parents are choosing to educate children at home:
  • Gateshead: Parents said they felt pressured by schools to remove their children. They highlighted the main reason behind the pressure was poor school attendances.

Homeschooling Assessments by Local Authorities

The House of Lords will deliberate on a bill to provide extra powers for local authorities. If that goes through, it means councils can make assessments on children who get home education.

The education minister said many parents home-educate their children for ‘positive reasons’. He wants to see the opportunities continue with ‘minimal fuss and bureaucracy’.


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Homeschooling On the Rise: Why a Surge in the United Kingdom?