Autism concern over home schooling rise

The BBC the number of pupils being taken out of school to be taught at home has doubled in four years – with many of them believed to be autistic.

Some 1,906 pupils were removed in 2016-17, up from 864 in 2013-14, according to council data.

National Autistic Society Cymru said many were autistic children who were struggling to cope in school.

Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, said she was concerned some schools wanted autistic children removed to improve their results.

The council figures – received by BBC Wales by all but one council following a freedom of information request – found the highest number of pupils leaving school to be home educated was among older secondary school pupils.

In 2016-17 there were 332 children aged 15 taken out of school, compared to 156 children aged 11.

Meleri Thomas, from the National Autistic Society Cymru, said the school environment often proved too challenging for some autistic children.

She said: “Some parents have told me they have been encouraged to home educate because their child might be affecting the school or local authority’s performance data around exam results or attendance figures,” she added.

Read more Autism concern over home schooling rise 

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Categories: Homeschooling, Learning, Local authorities, SEN and Wales.


  1. Judith Wilson

    It is completely understandable that parents/carers of autistic children want to protect their children by removing them from school but this should not automatically be the case because current educational provision is simply not good enough. The education system should work for ALL children, regardless of ability – nobody should feel excluded or ostracized – and these parents/carers need to be able to rely on the system and trust it to fulfil its role of ‘in loco parentis’ without a shadow of doubt. These children are not monsters and must not be hidden away (as is probably what used to happen in the bad old days of asylums, where anyone who did not conveniently slot into an appropriate ‘normal’ box was stashed away) – they need to be able to learn and socialise as best they can with the appropriate support, but without making a big deal about it. Special schools do a magnificent job but they only exist because of the failings of mainstream schools. Some Local Authorities seem determined to pursue an ‘all inclusive’ approach and are closing special nurseries (or special needs units within ordinary nurseries) at a rate of knots, but this cannot be the answer unless we all accept that children with special needs are just ‘differently abled’ NOT disabled. We have to lose this negative attitude and start seeing all the pluses…it is GOOD for children of mixed ability to learn and socialise together but ONLY if alternatives are in place in ALL schools and nurseries for those occasions when a quieter environment is required and, let’s face it, we ALL have ‘off’ days whether we have ‘special needs’ or not! Perhaps it is time that society as a whole took the view that we ALL have ‘special needs’ from time to time for a huge variety of reasons. Perhaps, one day, we will start building new schools which incorporate a ‘special needs unit’ staffed by specialist staff who all get paid a decent salary which reflects their skills and invaluable experience (incidentally, this is where our army of amazing Teaching Assistants could play their already important role even more effectively)…ooh look, did anyone see that pig fly past the window?

  2. Please generally use the headline and tag Home Education rather than Home Schooling. The term Home Education is preferred and used by the community, who typically don’t try to recreate a school curriculum or setting.

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