Dispute over county's home taught figures

THERE could be up to 3,000 children in Somerset being taught at home as a result of bullying or unsatisfactory schools, it has been claimed

THERE could be up to 3,000 children in Somerset being taught at home as a result of bullying or unsatisfactory schools, it has been claimed.Latest Somerset County Council figures show there are 333 LEA-registered children receiving home schooling. But one of the founding members of a home schooling support group, Sally Lever, believes the figure is inaccurate. She said: "The figures the council gives are those they are aware of. If it says there are 333, the figure is more likely to be 3,000."According to a council paper the top four reasons parents gave for elective home schooling were:* 23 per cent said they were dissatisfied with school environments. This could be an individual school or a more general dissatisfaction with the educational system or curriculum. * 20 per cent said the reason was philosophy - the belief in the principles of home schooling rather than formal state schooling. * 11 per cent stated religious beliefs.* nine per cent said bullying was the reason for home schooling. This includes those children who were withdrawn from school because they had been bullied and the parents were not satisfied with the way in which the school managed the situation or they did not believe it could be resolved.Author of the report, Peter Newman, a senior advisor on equalities and diversity at the council, said: "It is worrying that a large number of families cite dissatisfaction with the school environment but only a small proportion had concerns about individual schools. "However, a higher proportion of families gave dissatisfaction with schools as a reason in Somerset than in any other South West authority." Additional resources for home schooling are expected to be made available in April. This should allow parents to improve the education they provide and the council hopes it will address the equality of educational opportunities.


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