It’s a worrying time for many parents and children as they hear whether they’ve secured places in their chosen secondary school.

An article in the Guardian recently reported how many are going to miss out on the place of their choice in a crisis of shortages, particularly in inner cities.

Children and parents are understandably anxious that their child may have to take up a place in a secondary school where they feel less happy, or are split from their friendship group. And as a result some decide that it might be a time to reconsider home education.

Home educating older children can seem more daunting than with little ones where it’s a more natural progression after early years at home. So families with older children changing from school to home education find it takes a little more adjustment. But the home school community is growing, including those home educating teens. And there is increasing professional help available online through websites like this one, and instant access to most of the information a home learner would require. So it becomes a more realistic option than even a few years ago.

There are also a growing number of forums (Facebook is a good place to start) for parents who are home educating teenagers where resources are shared around. Parents can tap into the support and reassurance of knowing others also doing the same. Social networking makes it easy for teens to be in contact with others and for parents to find where group meetings take place. There are support groups for families taking their children through exams, what courses they use and which are best, how they achieve both the study and sit the exam as an independent candidate and how these are funded. Where once it seemed you’d have to home educate in isolation, this is no longer the case.

I’ve recently been talking to home schooling families who have chosen this route and done so very successfully. They take a range of approaches to achieve what they want to achieve, some more structured using guided courses or subject tutors, others work more autonomously finding that with a well written course (one parent referred to the NEC courses) their young person was able to achieve a good result virtually unaided, apart from occasional discussion of topics that were harder to understand. And the young people felt that it was a far less stressful environment in which to achieve and enjoyed working for themselves. Others decide not to do these qualifications yet still progress into work.

Another interesting point made was that children in schools are extremely pressured in taking a high number of GCSEs, yet most universities only require five. And although there is obviously competition for places at uni, having a huge number doesn’t guarantee a place. Those home educated children I know who applied with five, plus A Levels (often taken at FE colleges), were given interviews and gained places with their first choice. Having less of that pressure has the added benefit of allowing the young people time to develop a variety of other interests and skills making a more rounded education and personality.

So if your child missed the secondary school of their choice you might like to investigate this option further.


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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.