Decline in pupils opting out of school

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THE number of Doncaster youngsters opting out of schools to be educated at home has plunged by more than a third.

Figures released by Doncaster Council’s education officers show the figure has dropped from 260 in 2010 to 165 this year.

The figure has been revealed after a survey by officials to try to find why Doncaster has had a higher number in home education that other parts of the country.

After a debate on the issue, the borough’s Schools, Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel is now making recommendations on the subject.

They include offering support to families considering teaching their children at home to make sure parents are clear about the choice they are making, and changing the arrangements for managed moves between schools where behavioural issues may otherwise lead to them being taken out of the system.

The Panel has also proposed writing to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to ask him to consider a 20 day grace period between parents approaching schools with plans to educate their child at home and this being implemented, so the implications can be discussed with parents to make sure the change will be in child’s best interests.

Coun Chris Mills, chairwoman of the overview and scrutiny panel, said: “This is a really important issue for young people in Doncaster and it was great to hear their views on the subject, particularly young people who have chosen to return to mainstream education and found it to be a positive experience.

“They talked of gaining long term friendships and of ambitions to be doctors, actresses, teachers and mechanics. I’d like to thank them for taking the time to get involved and wish them all the best for the future.

“For some families home education is the right choice but we want to make sure young people are getting the best possible education and for most young people that means attending a mainstream school.”

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