The heartbreaking reason homeschooling numbers have surged

Australian parents are turning to homeschooling more than ever before in a bid to protect children from bullying in the classroom.

Nationally, homeschooling numbers have almost doubled in recent years and it is still growing as parents look to protect vulnerable children.

Experts are claiming Australia, and Queensland in particular, is facing a bullying crisis in schools which is being cited as the main reason for homeschooling.

Bullying in Australian schools has been highlighted by tragic cases such as that of Northern Territory schoolgirl Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, who took her own life on January 3 after she was being bullied online.

Parents are turning to homeschooling more than ever before with bullying a major cause. Source: Getty, file.
Parents are turning to homeschooling more than ever before with bullying a major cause. Source: Getty, file.
An anti-bullying campaign has been started following the death of Amy 'Dolly' Everett. Source: Facebook/AkubraHats
An anti-bullying campaign has been started following the death of Amy 'Dolly' Everett. Source: Facebook/AkubraHats

The parents of other children including 13-year-old Libby Bell and 14-year-old Amanda Grennan have also spoken of their heartbreak after their daughters took their own lives following bullying.

More than 2500 Queensland children are educated at home, a figure which has doubled compared to five years ago.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show there were 14,500 homeschooled students out of 3,730,000 enrolled students across Australia in 2015.

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David Roy, a University of Newcastle lecturer in education, says government statistics are difficult to collate due to parents not registering and believes the figure today is nearer 30,000, the ABC reported.

Homeschooling figures have doubled in recent years. Source: Getty, file.
Homeschooling figures have doubled in recent years. Source: Getty, file.

“Bullying is now the most common reason given to start education at home,” Stuart Chapman, from Accelerate Christian Home Schooling, told News Corp.

Queensland University of Technology education expert, Rebecca English, echoed Mr Chapman, saying bullying arose mainly with children with disorders such as ADHD and autism.

“Families often report bullying in their reasons for choosing home education," she said.

Libby is believed to have been bullied before taking her own life. Source: Facebook
Libby is believed to have been bullied before taking her own life. Source: Facebook
Deb Langshaw recently spoke out about her 14-year-old daughter Amanda Grennan being bullied before she took her own life. Source: Sunrise
Deb Langshaw recently spoke out about her 14-year-old daughter Amanda Grennan being bullied before she took her own life. Source: Sunrise

But commentator Jane Caro told Sunrise she believes it's the wrong move to take regarding the development of children.

"I can understand why if you really have a child who is feeling very isolated and frightened of school why you would be tempted to home school, but I think in the long run we need to make sure our kids learn to get on with one another," she said.

She believes schools need to improve their relationship with parents to alleviate the growing problem.


PM writes to every school to help stop bullying

Malcolm Turnbull has taken action to stop the increasing levels of bullying. Source: AAP
Malcolm Turnbull has taken action to stop the increasing levels of bullying. Source: AAP

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has moved to stamp out bullying in schools by writing to every school principal across the country.

The government is calling on schools to sign up to the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on March 16 and will announce on Thursday it is pumping $1.37 million into programs over the next three years to counter bullying.

"This is our chance to stand together. Together we can reduce the incidence of bullying, whether inside the school gate or online, and eliminate it wherever we can," Mr Turnbull said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in January she will be doing everything she can to tackle bullying and in particular cyberbullying.

"I firmly believe that we are just skimming the ocean of a big issue, where bullying and harassment is now following young children into the family home," Palaszczuk said.

A Department of Education and Training spokesperson told Yahoo7 News that they are committed to providing the best education for all.

"The Australia Government believes that all children should have access to high quality education that is engaging and relevant," they said.

"We also acknowledge some parents feel that mainstream schooling may not be an appropriate environment that best suits the needs of their children.

"The Government believes that all students have the right to be safe at school and that bullying and violence of any nature, including cyberbullying, is unacceptable."

They also said that bullying has no place within Australian schools.

"The Government believes that all students have the right to be safe at school and that bullying and violence of any nature, including cyberbullying, is unacceptable.

"In line with the recent COAG commitment, the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham will work with his state and territory counterparts at the next meeting of the COAG Education Council to bring forward best-practice initiatives to help combat bullying and cyberbullying and establish a work program to be led by the Council."

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