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Surge in homeschooling in Scotland amid rising classroom violence and falling standards

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Published Time: 14.05.2024 - 20:40:14 Modified Time: 14.05.2024 - 20:40:14

Council figures reveal increase of 40pc in the number of children being educated by parents in just two years The number of parents homeschooling their children has surged in Scotland amid claims of declining educational standards and an epidemic of classroom violence

Council figures reveal increase of 40pc in the number of children being educated by parents in just two years

The number of parents homeschooling their children has surged in Scotland amid claims of declining educational standards and an epidemic of classroom violence.

Figures released by Scottish councils show that over 2,200 children are currently being educated at home, an increase of 40 per cent in just two years. The total has more than doubled in seven years.

While a rise in the number of pupils being homeschooled has risen across the UK since the pandemic, critics claimed the steeper increase in Scotland pointed to a loss of confidence in state education.

Scotland has tumbled down international league tables assessing reading, maths and science skills among 15-year-olds, while concern has also been raised over physical attacks on pupils and teachers.

The new figures, from 30 of Scotland’s 32 councils, show that the number of pupils being homeschooled stood at 2,222 in the current academic year, up from 1,880 in 2022-23 and 1,591 in 2021-22.

“It is of course the right of any family to choose to homeschool their child,” said Liam Kerr, the education spokesman for the Scottish Tories. “But the rise in numbers here hardly reflects well on the SNP’s running of our schooling system.

“We know in recent years that violence has increased, that standards have fallen, and that teaching career prospects are increasingly bleak.

“Those factors will undoubtedly lead some parents to decide their child is better off at home than in school. With the SNP’s stewardship of education so utterly shambolic, it’s no wonder these figures are rising.”

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A recent survey by the NASUWT teaching union found that four in ten teachers had encountered violence or physical abuse from pupils over the past 12 months and almost all of them said the problem was getting worse.

Teachers in Aberdeen also recently urged the local council to intervene over claims that some schools had become “completely lawless”, with half saying violent pupil behaviour had become a daily occurrence.

Edinburgh, Scotland’s second-largest local authority, and Shetland were the two councils yet to provide figures about homeschooling following Freedom of Information requests.

The figures show that in Aberdeenshire the number of homeschooled pupils increased from 15 to 60 over two years.

In North Ayrshire, the number of pupils being educated at home rose from 74 to 143, while in Dumfries and Galloway it almost tripled, from 53 to 151.

Of the 30 councils that provided figures, all but four recorded an increase in homeschooled pupils since 2021-22.

In 2016-17, a total of 969 children were registered in Scotland as being homeschooled, meaning the national figure has more than doubled in under a decade.

While in England proportionally more children are homeschooled, the rise over the past year has been far higher in Scotland, UK Government figures suggest.

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