PARENTS claim local children are dropping out of Worcestershire schools due to a range of factors, including bullying, and not just because of a lack of special educational needs (SEN) support.

The Advertiser recently reported that 712 children are being taught at home in the county.

163 of these youngsters have special educational needs, although one parent thinks the actual figure may be far higher.

Only 287 children were being home schooled in Worcestershire in 2014.

Serena Wood wrote on the Worcester News Facebook page: “Not all home schooled children come under the SEN umbrella.

“Some may not be in school due to long term health conditions, bullying, teenage pregnancy or even being a looked after child, all of which has an impact on a child and their ability to cope in mainstream school.

“I’ve tutored students that were home schooled due to severe bullying and it’s sad to think that not all schools have the provision or wish to deal with the real problems within their school.”

Another parent claimed their son dropped out because he was 'bullied to the edge'.

One reader added: "There is not the SEN funding that there should be for kids with special needs in this county, therefore the schools do not have the resources to cope.

"The result is that schools either expel these children or 'off-roll' them. My own son has autism and I hold a degree in biology and a Higher National Certificate in engineering, but I would baulk at the idea of home education, because I know that I cannot do justice to subjects that I am not qualified in."

Carys Thurlby, the owner of Worcester Learning Zone, said her tutoring service supports lots of home educated children.

She added: “Whilst it is a lifestyle choice for some parents and children, for others it is a last resort after years of trying to find the right provision for their child.

“Home educating can be very successful both academically and for the child’s overall wellbeing.”

However, Rebekah Whitby, from Kidderminster, said home schooling is not always in a child’s best interest.

She wrote: “I was home educated. As a child I thought it was great, but now as an adult I wish I stayed in school and had more discipline.

“My daughter was bullied for years, we taught her to stand up for herself and to fight back when needed. She's no longer getting bullied.

“My son has Tourette’s and has difficulty sitting still to concentrate in class. He loves school and I would never pull him out! He knows he has to work hard.

"He's been bullied for his tics, but he stands up for himself, tells them they're being bullies and has had to hit back once.

"My third child is very naughty and the school helps give her motivation to work harder.”