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(UK) 'Thousands of children' being homeschooled; govt needs to take action

Feb 4, 2019, Schools Week: Children’s commissioner to publish home education figures for every school https://schoolsweek.co.uk/childrens-commissioner-to-publish-home-education-figures-for-every-school/ The children’s commissioner will publish figures for every school in England showing how many of their pupils withdraw to be home educated amid huge rises in some parts of the country. New data from 11 local areas shows a 48 per cent rise in the number of children disappearing from schools to be educated at home between 2015/16 and 2017/18…. It comes after a survey of local authorities, published in November, showed the number of home educated pupils rose by 27 per cent from 2017 to 2018, and council children services chiefs warning many more are likely to be “hidden from sight”. … Later this year, the children’s commissioner’s office will also collect data from all councils in England and publish it, school by school, identifying which have high numbers of children being withdrawn into home education. “Our investigations have revealed thousands of children are ‘off the grid’ because they are being home schooled,” Longfield said. “The numbers are rocketing and no-one knows how they are doing academically or even if they’re safe. Many are being off-rolled. … Today’s report shows there were almost 60,000 children in England being home educated at any one time in 2018, although the precise figure remains unknown because parents do not have to register home-educated children. … However, between 2015-2016 to 2017-18, the number of children moving from academies rose by 43 per cent, compared to 58 per cent in council schools (across nine councils that had the data for all years). In Hackney the number of home educated pupils rose by 94 per cent between 2015/16 and 2017/18, and in Newham it was 176 per cent. Between 2016/17 and 2017/18, Hackney’s academies saw an increase in children moving into home education of 238 per cent…. Meanwhile, 92 per cent of councils “do not feel they have enough powers to assure the safety of home-educated children”…. “There is a clear case for the government to introduce a compulsory register for all home-educated children, without delay,” Longfield said….