States must have 'safeguarding role' in homeschooling

BBC Radio Guernsey

A rising number of children being home schooled in Guernsey is not a cause for concern as long as children are being well educated, an education union representative has said.

Sean McManus, from the National Education Union in Guernsey, said he was "surprised" by the States of Guernsey figures, which show 31 youngsters are currently be educated at home this academic year, compared to 25 in 2017.

Parents can choose not to send their children to mainstream school, as long as the States has a safeguarding role to ensure that the people delivering the education are sufficiently well qualified in a general sense."

Sean McManusSpokesman, National Education Union

Guernsey's education law says parents have a legal duty to "cause their children who are between five and 16-years-old to receive efficient, full-time education suitable to the child's age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise".

Home schooling becoming more popular in Guernsey

BBC Radio Guernsey

The number of children being educated at home in Guernsey has risen by almost a quarter in the last academic year, figures from the States show.

This year 31 children are recorded as being home schooled compared to 25 in 2017, with about two thirds of those children at primary school age.

Lisa Newsom says her daughter was "not happy" in school for many years and wanted to be home schooled.

She says the only legal requirement for home schooling is that children are being educated to the correct standard for their age, and the education department conducts checks on her methods.

I think everyone’s got different reasons to home educate. It could be that the more you see others do something you realise it’s an option. It could be worrying about the schools locally, that was definitely a worry of mine. Since we’ve taken Ella out of school everything has just calmed right down it’s just a much nicer life.”

Lisa Newsom

The Education Committee says factors leading to a decision of home education can include:

  • Families moving to Guernsey from the UK who have been home educating and wish to continue
  • Siblings of home educated students joining
  • Parental choice

Home schooling register backed as numbers triple

The number of children taught at home has more than tripled in Staffordshire from 258 in 2006 to 887 in 2016-17, but they could face greater regulation in the future.

A new national register for all home educated children is being proposed and the county councillor responsible for education, Philip White, has said he backs the idea of "proper checks and balances there, to make sure everything is ok".

Home schooling

Mr White added that he thought parents also had a responsibility "to let people know what they are doing".

We do think that it would be sensible for us to have awareness and for all other local authorities to have awareness of where children are being educated."

Councillor Philip WhiteStaffordshire County Council