Homeschooling in the UK: Why are students leaving mainstream education?

Rosie is a tutor with Owl Tutors


Owl Tutor

November 21st, 2019

Homeschooling in the UK: Why are students leaving mainstream education?

With a sharp rise in the number of students being homeschooled in the UK, this blog sets out some of the reasons why parents might make the decision to take their children out of the classroom. Rosie, a qualified teacher and professional tutor, specialises in developing programmes for homeschooling.

Research recently conducted by Ofsted has highlighted a sharp spike in the number of students being homeschooled at Secondary School level. Whilst sometimes the decision is down to a family’s personal preference, all too often homeschooling seems to be taken as a last resort. We are often contacted by parents who are considering taking their children out of mainstream schooling (or have done so already), and find the reasons behind this decision can be grouped as follows:

The student’s needs are not met at school

In an increasing number of cases, parents are taking their children out of mainstream school because they feel their needs are not being met.  This is more so the case for students with Special Educational Needs. With funding cuts continuing to put pressure on mainstream and SEND state schools, students with SEN (be they working significantly above or below the expected level) are failing to get the full support they need to make progress. 

Being homeschooled (by a parent or tutor) can provide that extra one-to-one support and lead to progress being made more rapidly.  It can also allow for flexibility if, for example, the student has regular appointments with clinicians or therapists. This can be difficult in mainstream schooling when the student would be expected to follow a set timetable, and miss classes each time they needed to be taken out of school.  

The student is moving to the UK from overseas

When a student moves to the UK from a non-UK education system, a period of homeschooling can help with the transition. If, for example, the student relocates mid-school-term, it can be beneficial to arrange homeschooling with a UK qualified teacher until the start of the following term.  This gives them time to familiarise themselves with the UK curriculum and join the school at a “natural” point in the year.

A student is relocating for a short time

Sometimes, because of a parent’s work commitments, a student may need to relocate for a short-time only. In cases such as these, enrolling at a new school may be an unnecessary upheaval.  Building a short-term programme of home schooling can ensure that students stay on track academically, whilst giving them the freedom to explore a new part of the world. Centering projects around a local art gallery or historical site can be a great way to tie the two together! 

In a similar vein, students who have commitments outside of school life (for example budding actors or those pursuing sporting careers) may find themselves missing a lot of school.  Homeschooling can provide both the flexibility and consistent support that would be needed to ensure that academic progress is not hindered  

The student suffers from mental health problems

More so for secondary students, homeschooling may be necessary because they are struggling with mental health problems, experiencing confidence issues or are generally unhappy. Leaving school (even on a short term basis) can help to refocus the mind, and mitigate against any issues which may be aggravated in the school environment. 

Opting for home schooling can be a big decision to make.  Our tutors, all of whom are qualified teachers, are well-positioned to advise and build a well-balanced programme for homeschooled students.

Rosie is a tutor with Owl Tutors

More about Rosie

Rosie qualified as a teacher in Primary education in 2016, and now works as a tutor with Owl Tutors.