Bullied kids leaving school in droves

Bullying has become so serious a problem in NSW that students are opting out of school altogether, a new report by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) NSW shows.

New figures have shown a “steady increase” in registrations for home education over the past five years, with 3,343 children from 1,964 families approved as of December 2013. In 2010-11 there were just 2,631 children registered­.

In a statement before a parliamentary inquiry this week, the Home Education Association (HEA) cautioned there was “considerable evidence that schools are not a safe place for many children”.

Recurring issues such as verbal and physical abuse, threats, drug use and self- harm in the mainstream schooling system are among the reasons many parents are choosing home education for their child.

And in NSW the trend is on the rise. In the past four years, the state has seen the number of home schooled students spike by 40%.

Currently, more than 3,300 children are registered for home schooling in NSW, however that number could be much higher as the movement of students across states and school systems is not monitored­.

BOSTES states it is a legal requirement to register students aged 6-16 for home education if they are not enrolled in distance education or at a school. NSW is the most regulated state when it comes to home schooling, followed by Queensland.

Last year, experts said close to 85% of Queensland children being taught at home had not been registered with the state’s Department of Education.