A freedom of information request to Cumbria County Council has revealed a year on year growth of the number of children receiving home schooling in the county.
There is no legal obligation for children to attend school but the law says they must receive an education.
They can be taught by parents or private tutors and the guidance from both the English and Welsh education departments is that it must be a “suitable education”.
Registered home-schooled students in Cumbria:
- 2013/14 – 276
- 2014/15 – 318
- 2015/16 – 367
- 2016/17 – 450
- 2017/18 – 531
Mental health issues and avoiding exclusion are two reasons parents often cite for removing children from classrooms.
Dr Carrie Herbert, the founder of a charity for children outside mainstream education, said the rise in homeschooling suggested “something quite tragic about the state of the education system”.
She said she was concerned some parents might also feel pressured into home-schooling their children to avoid exclusion or prosecution over poor attendance.
“I’m not sure it’s very useful anymore to put 30 children in one classroom with an adult all doing the same thing in the same way at the same time,” said Dr Herbert, of The Red Balloon charity.
“We should really be thinking more 21st century and outside the box about this and teaching online in real time can help do this.”