A recent report at telegraph.co.uk highlights that aside from the banks and shops having been affected by the recent economic crisis, the UK education system may also be suffering as a result. So when we weigh up the issues of admissions, lack in school-places, slipping standards, and exam confusion, is it time for parents to consider home schooling their children?
The problem with admissions and spaces for children stretches countrywide with one in five parents recently discovering that their children did not get a place at the school they had hoped for. However, in certain areas of the country, the situation is even worse. In Kent, for example, almost a third of parents were told they would have to settle for their second choice.
According to The Telegraph, the matter of numbers is not the only problem. A lack of consistency between the admission process of different types of schools is making the applying incredibly difficult, even causing some parents to lie about aspects of background or their home address to ensure their children have a chance. Of course there are factors that need to be proven for faith or specialist schools that might require your child to have attended church, or specific extra-curricular lessons. But even if you are considering sending your child to a specific comprehensive school, you may well need to live in a specific catchment area – or, at least, say you do.
Of course, if a parent is considering a home learning scheme for their children, such admissions problems tend not to arise. The inclusion of specialist subjects such as religious study, or extra sciences, are at the discretion of the parents – and lessons and study can all be achieved outside of the classroom. Yet, there are more benefits of home schooling to the 21st century parent.
The Telegraph also reports of slipping standards in UK schools. This is a problem that is exacerbated by lack of confidence in SATs, and the move by independent schools to get rid of government testing methods such as GCSEs. These are seen to be improving, but in reality are highlighting the overall dumb-down of the system in comparison to countries in the Far East, which are improving far more rapidly.
Home schooling, of course, can avoid any issues evident within a problematic testing system and an untrustworthy bureaucracy, and is considered by most advocates to provide a better academic education. In the UK, home-education.org.uk estimated 50,000 children were home schooled in 2005 (an increase from 10,000) since 1995. And in light of recent economic developments, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was to increase significantly over the next few years.
Sarah Maple is writing about online courses and how to get an online degree.