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(UK) Guardian reports major increases in homeschooling of disabled students

Jan 17, 2019, Guardian: Schools pushing children into home schooling, say councils https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/jan/17/schools-pushing-children-into-home-schooling-say-councils Local authorities in England say some parents are being “coerced” by schools into home educating their children, often before GCSE exams, and that there has been a sharp increase in the number of pupils being removed, according to the government’s admissions watchdog. The annual report of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) says more than 52,000 children were registered as being home schooled in 2017-18, using figures supplied by the 152 local education authorities in England. … The figure represents a steep increase from a similar survey in 2015-16 that estimated about 37,000 school-aged children were registered as home educated. Shan Scott, the chief schools adjudicator, said some local authorities had reported substantial increases “of between 40% to 70% in recent years in the numbers of children electively home educated”. One local authority told the OSA it had received more than 1,000 new registrations in the course of the 2017-18 academic year, and said “many of these are instantly identifiable as inappropriate”…. But “off-rolling” – the practice of a school shifting pupils off its rolls without using formal exclusion processes – was also said to be widespread. “In a story echoed by other local authorities, one said ‘it is reported by parents that they have been coerced to become electively home educated’ with some reported instances of schools preparing a standard letter for parents to sign advising of their intention to electively home educate,” the OSA report says. … The OSA report is the latest evidence of increasing concerns over off-rolling, whether for behavioural or academic reasons. Earlier this week Ofsted announced it would use data to spotlight schools that appeared to be off-rolling pupils, with schools doing so at risk of being downgraded by inspectors. … The OSA also said parents opted for home education because of their child’s anxiety or unhappiness at school, especially as a result of bullying, or concerns about the standard of education. Others said they did so because their child’s special education needs were not being met. …