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Number of children homeschooled in Kent growing according to Kent County Council report

More than 2,500 children have been registered for homeschooling in Kent this year.

A total of 2,615 youngsters are currently taught in their homes, which has increased by almost 13% since April last year, a report written by Kent County Council (KCC) reveals.

This comes just three months after a Freedom of Information request by KentOnline showed the number of homeschooled children had doubled in seven years.

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The council says service demands continue to grow at an alarming rate.

The education authority fears families feel forced into conducting homeschooling due to 'strained relationships' with their child’s previous school.

The report reads: "The rate of increase in families choosing home education is a worrying trend and we continue to build relationships with families choosing this path to better understand the drivers."

KCC formalised its Elective Home Education (EHE) policy in 2015.

It says it has helped ensure thousands of children, who are not in school, are brought to the local authority's attention to ensure they receive the education they are entitled to.

Explaining the council's role, the report says: "Where officers identify families who make every effort to home educate, but do not have the resources available to them and require support, the local authority will provide licenses for online learning packages for Key Stages 1 and 2.

More than 2,500 children have been registered for homeschooling in Kent this year
More than 2,500 children have been registered for homeschooling in Kent this year

"The local authority will also provide financial support for core GCSE’s for those who have been registered with KCC for more than 12 months and who, if in school, would meet the criteria for free school meals."

The programme currently operates on a budget of £444,000 but the council says it is likely to increase by 20% through support from the Department of Education.

The report does not make it clear when this increase would take place.

Ahead of a committee meeting, the education authority has called for an expansion of the EHE team who provide support to the most vulnerable families who feel the need to homeschool.

The issue will be discussed by county councillors during the Children's, Young Person and Education cabinet at Maidstone County Hall this Friday.

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