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***(UK) 60K children homeschooled; many with SPED needs

Feb 3, 2019, Independent: Children ‘falling off the grid’ in the tens of thousands amid surge in pupils leaving mainstream education Children’s commissioner warns that 60,000 children, many with special educational needs, are permanently out of school as more families feel they have no choice but to home educate The number of children being taken out of school to be home educated has surged in recent years, prompting calls for greater supervision of youngsters not in mainstream education. The children’s commissioner warned that 60,000 children, many of whom are vulnerable or have special educational needs, are permanently out of school and therefore effectively “off the grid”. Research by Anne Longfield shows the number of children who are known by councils to be home educated was 27 per cent higher in 2018 than in 2017, and has risen by 20 per cent in each of the last five years – doubling since 2013-14. … …, a growing number of families feel they have no choice but to home educate because the school cannot cater for their child, and are struggling without help. Separate research from a Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary to be aired on Monday reveals that one in five children withdrawn from school has special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and that 88 per cent of councils are worried about off-rolling, where schools move difficult-to-teach pupils off the school register to boost performance data. “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,” said Ms Longfield. “The numbers are rocketing and no one knows how they are doing academically or even if they’re safe. Many are 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.” The report found that some schools were making more than 15 referrals into home education a year. In Hackney, there was a 94 per cent rise in home schooling and in Newham the figure stood at 176 per cent. Between 2016-17 and 2017-18, Hackney’s academies saw a 238 per cent increase of children moving into home education. …
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