Following publication of our report ‘Home Education: The Covid Effect’, on trends in home education, this report examines continuing trends in parental choice to home educate their children and how Covid 19 arrangements have continued to affect those choices.
There is increasing positive narrative around home education with current indications suggesting a shift away from the rhetoric which incorrectly conflates home education with safeguarding risk. When and wherever this baseless attribution is promoted, home educating families continue to express disappointment.
Further, a tide of media reporting is developing around a false negative connotation associated with the number of children who are being home educated. The narrative from ministers, members of both houses and public bodies continues to propound the notion of rising numbers of home educated children as a concern from which to launch promises of mandatory registration, in advance of analysis of the consultation on the issue. Between 7th April and the 1st October 2021 there was a 7.4% fall in numbers of home educated children in England from 83,974 to 78,184. Main reasons cited by parents for home educating their child continue to relate to specific educational failure of schools and matters relating to welfare and well-being. Divides between home educating families and public bodies continue to be driven by the propagation of false narratives by public bodies. Despite data confirming a net decline in the numbers of home educated children, public bodies continue a rhetoric of rising numbers. Public bodies continue to conflate safeguarding’ concerns with the false narrative of rising numbers of children being home educated. Covid 19 continues to be a factor in decisions to home educate. Media and public body hyperbole continues to be inaccurate, misleading and framed in unsupported narratives of concern, with little attention being given to reasons to home educate inherent within school failures. Home educating families report having lost trust in public bodies and continue to feel a sense of professional ‘gaslighting’ and institutional confirmation bias. Parents seek recognition of home education as a different and equal essential choice for many children.
Read the full report here.