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40 % increase in numbers opting for home schooling in Pembrokeshire

HOME schooling has risen around 40 per cent in Pembrokeshire during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy chief education officer James White said that there were 272 children being taught using elective home education in response to questions from Cllr Alison Tudor at Thursday’s (Nov 26) schools and learning overview and scrutiny committee.

The committee heard that this was an increase in those opting out of school based learning of around 90 this year.

Cllr Tudor raised concerns about the safeguarding of these children especially in light of covid restrictions and a reduction of opportunities to visit homes, highlighting the Children’s Commissioner’s recent plan to review how Welsh Government deals with home education monitoring.

Mr White said that there was one officer with responsibility with contacting, and where possible visiting, home educated pupils but parents were not obliged to engage with the local authority if they did not want to.

“We do know who that are and contact them and offer support but it’s not something they have to engage with,” he added.

Cabinet member for education Cllr Guy Woodham added that there had been discussions and concerns about home schooling “across the board” and its management, for a number of years with the latest review of guidance planned by Welsh Government delayed by Covid-19.

Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, plans to review the Welsh Government actions pre-pandemic, as concerns remain about the time taken to issue guidance, a move also welcomed by Cllr Woodham.

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