Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Home education figures 'double'

Teachers often visit home-schooled children to check their progress

An investigation is being carried out by council officials in Lancashire into the rising number of children being educated at home.

Lancashire County Council said that about 467 children were being home-schooled, a figure which has doubled over the past eight years.

A task group has been set up to look at how the council can deal with the rise.

Teachers usually visit home-schooled children to check on them, even though there is no legal right to do so.

County Councillor Stephen Large, chairman of the task group on elective home education, said: "We have a responsibility not only to ensure these children receive a suitable education but that their emotional and social needs are being met."

Parental support

The group wants to hear from members of the public with experience of home education.

It will look at challenges facing the county council, including pressure on resources for home visits and support for parents.

No law guarantees teachers access to a child being taught at home.

Mr Large added: "While some parents feel their children will receive a better education at home, others choose to take their children out of school for medical reasons or because the child refuses to attend.

"We need to make sure we are doing as much as we can to ensure parents who educate their children at home feel able to return their children to school if they want to and receive all the support they need."

The number of home-educated children in Lancashire represents 0.3% of the total 165,000 school population.

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