Call for home-schooling register as Leeds numbers rise

Anne Longfield
Anne Longfield
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A compulsory home-schooling register must be created, the Children’s Commissioner for England has warned, amid suggestions that thousands of young people nationwide could be falling “off the grid”.

There has been a 49 per cent rise in the number of children withdrawn from school to be home educated in Leeds in the past two years, new research has found. Amid fears that many may be “invisible” to local authorities, commissioner Anne Longfield has called for a compulsory home-schooling register, stronger measures to tackle so-called ‘off-rolling’ where children are encouraged to leave school, and greater oversight of practice.

“The numbers are rocketing and no-one knows how they are doing academically or even if they’re safe,” warned Yorkshire’s Ms Longfield, who went to school in Otley. She will present a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on the findings tonight, reporting that the number of children home schooled in England has doubled in the past five years.

Ms Longfield, who has pledged to publish school-by-school data later this year, says more support is needed for families who home educate, alongside decisive action against unregistered schools.

“Many parents who make a philosophical decision to home educate provide their children with a high quality education,” said Ms Longfield. “But there are many other families who have ended up home educating for other reasons, and are struggling to cope.”