Home schooling rates in Newham rise most in London
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The number of students being educated at home has risen more in Newham than anywhere else in London, according to a leading resources provider.
Just 50 people were being home-schooled in 2006, but that number has risen by 686 pc to 393 this year, figures obtained by Oxford Home Schooling through a Freedom of Information request to Newham Council show.
Of that number, 229 are primary-age while 164 are secondary school age.
“It’s worrying because we don’t know if they are getting an education they need to be successful in the future,” said Iain Hale, 57, Newham’s assistant branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
“Where are they going to develop those social skills that are so crucial in later life?
“Working with other people, making friends – if you can’t do that are you going to be a successful person in later life? My answer would be ‘no you’re not’.”
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Pupils suffering with anxiety, special educational needs (SEN) or bullying are often the most likely to be home-educated alongside aspiring sports stars unable to combine their training regimes with regular schooling.
“Home-schooling is definitely an option,” said Greg Smith, 45, head of operations at Oxford Home Schooling.
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“A lot of people out there are home-schooling and doing a very good job of it.
“One of the most common reasons is people not having their SEN met.
“It can be difficult for mainstream schools to deal with certain things, especially when a child can’t cope with large spaces for example.”
Katie Haigh, 32, director of education for Simply Learning Tuition, insists home education is “more acceptable and more accessible” than it was 10 years ago.
However, she believes it should only be considered for certain scenarios.
“For the majority of students a mainstream school setting is the best place for them because of the social advantages, not just the academic,” she said.
“Parents considering home-schooling will have their reasons but it is not for every child.”
Despite the figures having come from Newham Council originally, a spokeswoman disputed the numbers.
“Our latest data shows the number of children being home educated has risen but is not quite as high as the figures reported,” she said.
“Parents have the legal right to home educate their child and to determine what arrangements are made to support this.”