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HomeEducationThousands of children are home-educated in Hertfordshire, according to latest data

Thousands of children are home-educated in Hertfordshire, according to latest data

More than 2,500 children are being educated at home in Hertfordshire, according to the latest data. Any parent can elect to educate their child at home or elsewhere instead of sending them to school.

In recent years, the number of parents in Hertfordshire choosing the ‘elective home education’ (EHE) path has increased. The latest data, which will be reported to county councillors on Tuesday (June 18), shows that at the end of March, there were 2,545 children being home educated in the county. This marks an increase of 16.3 percent compared to the same point last year (2023).

According to the report that includes the data, the numbers registered as being educated at home have increased over the past three years. Since September, there have been 1,066 newly registered as being educated at home, with 515 ‘closed’ to EHE. The majority of children being home educated, 1,824, are of secondary school age. According to the latest data, there are 17 children of reception age and a further 704 of primary school age. Data collated for county councillors also highlights a number of reasons given for home educating.

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Most parents, 688, point to philosophical or preferential reasons for opting to home educate, while 449 cite dissatisfaction with school in general. Other reasons include physical health (132), concerns relating to COVID-19 (81), or difficulty in accessing a school place (44). Smaller numbers point to permanent exclusion (25) or it being the suggestion of or pressure from the school (40). The reasons for a significant number of those opting to home educate, 832, are reported as being ‘unknown’.

In addition, the report also highlights “children missing education,” who are not registered at a school but are not receiving education elsewhere. At the end of March, the data shows there were 437 children missing education across the county, which dipped to 402 in April. Of those, 305 have been missing education for more than four weeks, and 61, that’s 15.2 percent, have been missing education for more than a year. According to the data, 300 students are of secondary school age, including 168 who are in years 10 and 11.

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According to the report, 99 children missing from education are reported to be awaiting the outcome of an application or admissions appeal. Thirty-seven children are said to have moved from another local authority area, while 11 cite difficulty in accessing a school place. Seven, according to the data, did not get their school preference, and two point to dissatisfaction with school (SEND). A significant number of reasons are classed as ‘other’ (90), ‘not specified’ (61), or ‘unknown’ (6). The data will be presented to county councillors at a meeting of the Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Learning Cabinet Panel on Tuesday (June 18).

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