Shropshire Council has reported that 658 children were being electively home educated (EHE) during the 2020/21 school year – but said the number had now settled back down to its pre-pandemic level.
The rise represented a significant jump from the 509 EHE children registered with the authority in 2019/20, which was itself a slight increase on the 478 registered the year before.
It was a similar picture across the country.
A survey by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ACDS) estimated an increase in the number of EHE pupils of around 34 per cent in 20/21, citing Covid fears and mental health concerns as the top reasons parents were choosing to keep youngsters out of school.
A Shropshire Council spokesperson said: “As seen across England, Shropshire saw an increase of children being electively home educated during 2020, although the percentage was lower than the national figure.
“Since schools have returned to face-to-face teaching, children have been re-enrolled, which has brought the numbers back in line with pre-pandemic levels in Shropshire.
“The council continues to work closely with families and schools to ensure that all children are able to access their right to education in a state school and have the confidence to do so.”