Page last updated at 23:09 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 00:09 UK

Schooling 'does not work for us'

By Alison Smith
BBC News education reporter

Special needs, bullying, personal beliefs or dissatisfaction with a particular school offered are all reasons for families choosing to home educate their children.

Parents and children talk about why they have chosen this option.

'SCHOOL PAYS FOR ME TO BE TAUGHT AT HOME'
Jamie McDonald

Jamie McDonald's mother June founded a home education group in Bedford which was the first to obtain any form of state funding.

Six years ago, her group decided to collaborate with a local secondary school to use the resources of school but keep the autonomy of home education.

The only condition of joining the group is that the children sit national exams.

Her son, now 18, was one of the first to go through the project and describes how he found it.

BULLIED AT JUNIOR SCHOOL
Sheila and Callum

Callum enjoyed infant school, and his school successfully implemented a detailed plan to support him.

Asperger's Syndrome means he has some communication difficulties and cannot always see the relevance of what he is asked to do.

Once in primary school, his mother Sheila says, the bullying began and the school did not give Callum the support he needed.

She described the stress of watching her child crying and begging not to go to school, before deciding neither of them could take any more.

NO SUITABLE SCHOOL PLACE
Holly O' Toole

Holly O'Toole questioned how any child could learn in the school allocated to her son Harry.

A school where only 8% of children achieve five good GCSEs and almost half have some kind of special educational needs was not a school where her son would thrive, she said.

When no other school place could be found, she and other parents in the same situation decided to go it alone - and won compensation from their county council.



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