Home schooling more than doubles to ‘size of a small secondary school’

More children than ever are being home schooled in Sheffield, after figures more than doubled in the past six years.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 15:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 13:53 pm
Clr Abtisam Mohamed, cabinet member for Education and Skills. Picture Scott Merrylees

Councillor Mohammed Mahroof asked for the figures at a full council meeting and said numbers had gone up almost to the size of a small secondary or a large primary school.

He said: “People are getting concerned, quite rightly.

Councillor Mohammed Mahroof

“I think it’s increasing because some people aren’t getting their child into the schools they want to because for the catchment they are in, the schools are full.

“A number of parents have come to me and said because of this they have had to think of alternative ways of schooling them.

“It’s an alarming number and it will be interesting to know what the authority is actually doing about regulating this.

“I would prefer children to be at school because of the wider educational experiences that they get.

Photo by Chris Radburn

“But people are choosing to home school for various different reasons and we need to dig a little bit deeper into why people are choosing to do this.”

Coun Mahroof said the national average increase in home schooling was 40 per cent, compared to 100 per cent in Sheffield.

He added: “People are seeing the division in education in the city and choosing not to send their school anymore.

“Also the lack of SEND provision is moving people towards home schooling out of necessity, not out of choice.

“The council say they have monitoring in place but I can’t see them having huge numbers of officers going around checking home schooling.

“I can’t for the life of me believe we have that many officers checking all their curriculums. It’s a worrying sign for the city.”

Coun Abtisam Mohamed, cabinet member for education and skills, said 97 per cent of families get a place at their preferred schools and that they had ‘been above the national average for a number of years’ for this.

She added: “This growing trend in home schooling is reflected in numbers across the country and in Sheffield we are undertaking a number of pieces of work to address this growth.

“At the point of moving to home education, families are contacted and offered support, including a visit and supportive conversation around whether home education is the right move.”

She added that all home educators had access to the Elective Home Education Advisor who can provide advice, information and signposting to support parents.

If provision appears not to meet the needs of the child, parents get advice on how to change.

FULL FIGURES FOR HOME SCHOOLING

2013/14: 268

2014/15: 303

2015/16: 373

2016/17: 413

2017/18: 539

2018/19: 600