We receive a lot of emails regarding home education throughout the year but we usually see a steady rise during the months of July and August. The close of one school year and the onset of a new one seems to be the catalyst for many parents to question their educational options for their children. Currently I have several emails waiting for reply and if you are one of those who have contacted me I sincerely apologise for not having replied sooner. I’ll be working my way through them as soon as possible, I promise!
Not everybody who contacts us is looking to home educate their children. Home education undoubtedly takes a generous amount of commitment of time and of finances. Not everybody has these resources freely available to commit to home educating their children. Sometimes all they seek is advice on where to turn or what their options are without having to remove their children from the school system entirely. If you do want more information on home education you can find a selection of posts I put together a while ago that should answer most of the questions you have here. If, however, you wish to keep your child in school but you (or they) are feeling unhappy or unfulfilled and you need a little help, I may have found a resource that can help.
New website www.schoolreviewer.co.uk took more than two years of planning and creating by a father-of-three who wanted to provide parents with useful and up-to-date information that would help them make informed choices about their children’s education. My first thought given the URL was that it was purely for finding reviews about schools but I have taken a thorough look around and there is so much more advice and information.
When Mike and I first moved to Kent in 2002 we were extremely unfamiliar with the area. Having left our home in Surrey where we had been raised and schooled, we were under pressure to register our oldest two children into schools quickly. Whilst we were familiar with the good versus bad schools in the area we had moved from, we were naïve as to the performance and suitability of schools in this new place we had moved to. We also didn’t know anyone in the area that we could ask. As a result, it was more a case of getting Ben and Stephanie into any school we could, rather than one which we knew anything about.
School Reviewer provides access to an extensive library of detailed profiles, academic data and OFSTED reports for the majority of the 41,826 establishments on their records which include the following:
- 18,579 Nurseries
- 21,852 State Primary Schools
- 1,488 Independent Primary Schools
- 4,706 State Secondary Schools
- 1,010 Independent Secondary Schools
- 988 Further Education Colleges and Universities
This would have been invaluable for us given our situation and I am surprised that it has taken 14 years for someone to actually create it! I could have been onto something, couldn’t I?
Since the site’s recent launch it has also added a Parents Forum where parents themselves can offer support, advice and information to each other. Sometimes there is nothing quite like first-hand experiences from other parents to provide an insight into matters that official reports simply cannot provide.
A new Buy and Sell section has also been included which can be a valuable place for finding or selling on outgrown uniforms, supplies or, judging by the inclusions so far, pretty much any kid-friendly goods.
One thing I particularly liked which can be a useful resource for all parents however their children are educated is the Exam Papers page. Here you can find a collection of expert video and animation walk-throughs of a series of questions for Maths GCSE, SATs and soon to be launched 11+ papers. These provide clear instructions and easy to follow solutions to show your child how to get the best grades along with top tips and advice on the common errors to avoid. School Reviewer claims that this is the closest experience currently available online which replicates the home tutor experience, at a fraction of the price and I agree that this can be an exceptionally helpful page to bookmark – we certainly will be.
Okay, so it’s early days for this site yet and its databases and forums are yet to gain momentum. The database to enable you to find a home Tutor for example has yet to provide any listings as yet. However, it has been featured in several news features and is set to grow quickly. It shows great promise, I feel, and I hope can provide answers and support to those of you who are looking for a little extra advice and help with your child’s schooling.