Suffolk: Rise in number of children de-registered

Rise in the number of children being de-registered

Rise in the number of children being de-registered - Credit: PA

THE NUMBER of children that have been withdrawn from Suffolk state schools has more than doubled over the last five years, it can be revealed.

Union bosses have said they believe more parents are choosing to de-register and teach their child from home rather than expose them to a regime of tests and league tables that labels some pupils failures from an early age.

Although the numbers of children being withdrawn from local authority education remain small in terms of school population, there have now been calls to investigate the reasons behind them.

According to information released under the Freedom of Information Act, 77 children were de-registered in Suffolk during the 2007 to 2008 academic year. In 2011 to 2012, 188 children were de-registered.

The disclosure of the figures comes after Suffolk slumped to joint third from bottom in the national SATs table and the controversial school organisation review (SOR) that will see the county change to a two tier system.

Graham White, Suffolk NUT branch secretary, said there could be a number of factors behind the increase in de-registered children.

He added: “My feeling is that this is part of the whole league table and testing regime. A number of parents may feel that pupils being labelled as failures from an early age is not terribly helpful. For that reason they are going into a home tuition environment.

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“They also might not think that the academic curriculum being offered by schools is not appropriate for their particular child and therefore they want a different type of education. There are always parents that don’t agree with the education system and that’s entirely reasonable. What we need to look at is why those parents have decided to go from the school. It could be that their particular child doesn’t like school, they’re school phobic and they don’t think the provision from the authority is good enough. That may be a factor and they feel they can provide a better or broader education, it’s difficult to know.

Mr White said it was important that the reasons behind the “significant increase” were investigated.

He added: “My feeling is that it is not something Suffolk has done specifically to cause this. If it was the case. I don’t think the divestment programme has helped, but I wouldn’t say that has been behind the increase, I don’t think SOR has helped, but I don’t think parents have felt so strongtly in the three tier system that they need to educate their child at home. They’re certainly unhappy, but I don’t think it would be a reason to take them out, a I don’t think it’s a significant factor.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “Education is a fundamental right for every child and one which supports them to become active and successful members of the community.

“Parents have the right to choose to educate their child at home; they may choose this route for various different reasons including religious or cultural beliefs, philosophical or idealogical views or personal family circumstances. When a child is home educated, parents are actively encouraged to engage with their local education authority to ensure the quality and range of the child’s education experience is appropriate.”

According to Home Education UK, about 60,000 children are home educated in the UK.