Banbury ‘highest level of homeschooling in Oxfordshire’

Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall in Oxford NNL-180920-115911001
Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall in Oxford NNL-180920-115911001

Banbury has the highest percentage of children being homeschooled in Oxfordshire, according to a council report.

An Oxfordshire County Council report says 112 pupils out of the school-age population of 8,865 in Banbury, or 1.26 per cent, were ‘electively home educated’ (EHE) in 2016/17.

While the report says homeschooling is concentrated in urban areas, ‘Chipping Norton and Woodstock’ was the second-highest locality, with 1.23 per cent.

Banbury Academy, now Wykham Park Academy, had the highest percentage of EHE pupils in the county (2.7 per cent), with The Warriner School in third (1.55 per cent).

The report comes from the Education Scrutiny Committee’s ‘short’ investigation into the reasons for a 21 per cent increase in homeschooling in Oxfordshire in 16/17.

The findings were discussed at the county council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday where members agreed to a further investigation and a raft of other recommendations.

Cllr Michael Waine, who was part of the working group involved, said: “Further investigation is needed as to why some areas have higher uptakes than others, such as Banbury.”

Concerns were raised by councillors about those students who had been to school but were then taken out and home-educated, either through the parent’s choice or the school’s.

Cllr Yvonne Constance insisted that any further work should look into EHE pupils who have been suspended or excluded from schools, especially from years five to nine.

While council leader Ian Hudspeth said is main worry was about making sure homeschooled children are in a safe environment.

Among the agreed recommendations were plans to ask schools to include EHE data in governor reports, changes to the home-education questionnaire and suggesting a two-week ‘cooling off’ period before a pupil is excluded.

Are your children homeschooled in the Banbury area? We would like to speak to people about their experiences. If you are interested, email jack.duggan@jpress.co.uk or call 01295 817674.