Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England recently produced a report and featured in a documentary on home education.
We discuss the report from the Children’s Commissioner on home education and the related Dispatches documentary
Children's Commissioner report and documentary on home education sparks debate
Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England, recently produced a report on home education. The report – “Skipping School: Invisible Children – How children disappear from England’s schools” – has received a lot of press. Channel 4 then aired a documentary, with Longfield, which featured some families with children in home education. The documentary has angered many homeschooling parents.
What are the report's key findings?
The report featured a sympathetic introduction from Longfield. She empathised with parents who find themselves having to remove their children from “an unforgiving school system”. She shared the anecdote of a parent likening her daughter’s school to the Hunger Games. She is clearly passionate about children receiving a good education.
The report discusses the growth of home education, citing research from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ACDS). ACDS indicates that the number of children in home education has doubled over the last 4 years. The report also discusses reasons for this sharp growth, including:
While the report did conclude that many parents are devoted to providing their children with high quality education, it also cautioned about parents struggling to cope. It also discusses the need to improve the well-being of children being home educated.
What are the report's key recommendations?
What has caused unhappiness amongst homeschooling parents?
The Children’s Commissioner report would have been better received, presumably, if not for the Dispatches documentary. Dispatches is Channel 4’s investigative current affairs program.
Dispatches showed a series of case studies, which featured Anne Longfield spending time with different families with children in home education. It also featured the distressing case of Dylan Seabridge, a neglected eight year old boy who died of scurvy in 2011.
We understand why homeschooling parents might feel angry after watching the documentary:
Some thoughts on home education
Most parents do not make the decision to home educate their children lightly. Under-resourced schools, additional learning needs and mental health and anxiety can all play their part (see our previous blog on the subject). Homeschooling often requires a parent to stay at home, impacting on their career and personal time. Parents may also need to spend money on hiring tutors to help fill gaps in their own knowledge. It is therefore a journey that requires commitment and dedication.
Responding to the report on home education:
What do you think?
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