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England: why parents choose home education

The Department for Education (DfE) and Baroness Barran, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, who is leading the Schools Bill in the House of Lords, are forming policy and guidance for EHE. Education Otherwise believes that any policy should be based on accurate data. To that end, a survey was taken of home educating families in England to update earlier research to ascertain the reasons why parents choose to EHE their children.

· Responses were received from 3,168 parents of whom 45.63% referred to negative reasons relating to schools as their main initial reason for home educating their children. These parents frequently referred to safeguarding concerns related to school.

· This included general dissatisfaction with the school system (21.21%), the school curriculum not relevant or suitable (9.25%), the school being unable to meet the child’s special needs (10.79%) and bullying at school (4.38%).

· The most cited current reason for currently choosing to EHE a child was that home education provides a better education than school, at 40.01%, rising from 21.12% citing this as their initial reason to EHE.

· Health needs, including the child’s mental health were cited by 13.07% of parents as their primary initial reason for home educating the child.

· Parents who EHE would consider school in the future in 11.42% of cases, with one third of those parents stating that it would be if the child expressed a wish to do so.

· Parents will continue to choose EHE at higher rates, if schools do not become safer, more accessible to all children and excellent sources of a world class education. Schools cannot make that claim now or in the foreseeable future.

· There are many children in English schools who are deeply unhappy, being failed by the system, or both. School simply is not the best place for every child.

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