More Blackpool children are being taught at home now

More children are being educated at home
More children are being educated at home
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More parents in Blackpool are choosing to teach their children at home, new figures have revealed.

At the start of the current school year in September, 187 children were having home schooling compared to 121 two years ago.

Paul Turner, head of schools at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the Resilient Communities and Children's Scrutiny Committee, the figures were in line with the national picture.

He said some parents chose home education"due to disatisfaction with the quality of teaching" at schools.

Coun Michele Scott said she was concerned about the increase.

She said: "My concern is the lack of social interaction home schooling sometimes leads to, and the issues that can happen later on in life.

"It could be a means of getting a child off the radar, and that's also my concern."

The committee heard the council was legally unable to intervene in the way home education was carried out unless there was a safeguarding issue, while home-schooled children do not have to take any public exams.

Councillors also raised concerns at the meeting about the operation of the Langdale Free School on Warbreck Drive, which also operates outside any local authority control.

Staff at the school are currently taking part in a dispute over wages.

Coun David Collett asked if bosses at the school could be brought before the committee to be questioned about the situation there, but was told the council did not have the power to demand attendance before the committee.

The home schooling figures were part of the Educational Outcomes and Improvement Strategy report given to the committee.

Councillors also highlighted under-achievements in reading performance among Blackpool schools.

Only a third of schools have recorded better than average progress, while 10 of the town's better schools have also under-achieved in reading.

One reason suggested for this was that some parents were not able to read due to "a legacy" of poor educational attainment in Blackpool in the past.

Coun David Owen said: "It is so embarrassing to admit you cannot read and maybe having the responsibility of children can bring these adults into a situation where we can find some way of lifting attainment."

This could include encouraging more people to join the council's adult learning service which already supports 2,500 adults a year at 50 different venues.