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Concerns about the increase in home schooling in Barnet UK News

An increase in the number of homeschooled children has led counselors to worry about their learning and their safety.

The number of families choosing to teach their children at home in Barnet more than doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic, from around 204 in July last year to 435 in January, according to a Barnet report Council.

Presented to the Children, Education and Safeguarding Committee on Monday, the report reveals that the council is updating its policy on homeschooling to build better relationships with home educators and protect the interests of children.

The legal responsibility for a child’s education rests with its parents, which means that they can choose to teach their children at home.

At the same time, local authorities have a duty to protect and promote the well-being of children.

But the council report says optional home schooling can allow parents to prevent independent supervision of children who are injured and neglected.

Counseling can intervene if they have reason to believe that a child is not receiving an appropriate and effective education and inquire about their well-being when there is cause for concern.

The report finds that several national protection reviews have highlighted the increased risk of abuse and neglect for some children who are electively homeschooled.

He adds that although most parents are “committed homeschoolers”, there is also “a minority of parents who teach at home with the nefarious intent to cover up abuse and neglect”.

Ian Harrison, director of education and skills at Barnet, told the meeting that the board’s new policy followed the guidelines of the Department of Education very closely.

He added that the council had tried to tighten the reporting requirements of schools when a child leaves and improve information sharing between schools and elective home educators.

But Cllr Nagus Narenthira (Work, Colindale) said her main concern is that a parent does not have to register with the board when their child is homeschooled.

She said if a child never went to school, the system “wouldn’t know the child, so if there are protection issues, if there is a danger to the child, we will not know ”.

Cllr Narenthira also cautioned against the lack of data regarding outcomes for home-schooled children, which means the board “cannot assess whether education has taken place properly”.

Labor counselors have tabled a motion calling on the commission to write to the government asking parents who decide to educate their children at home to register their intention to do so with the boards.

Their motion also called on the government for more clarity on what is considered appropriate education for those who are taught at home.

The motion received unanimous support from the committee, which also voted to approve the council’s draft optional home schooling policy. The policy will be subject to consultations with stakeholders in June and July.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-08 12:00:00

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