Some parents are choosing to educate their children at home for one day a week as part of an experiment called “flexi-schooling”. For the other four days the children have normal lessons at school.
Six families at Shacklewell Primary School, East London, are involved in the flexi-schooling experiment. The parents withdraw their children every Friday to minimise class disruption. Sometimes they work together on a lesson but most of the time they tutor their children on a one-to-one basis before taking on an education trip.
“We spend the first couple of hours at home, doing one-to-one reading and maths, similar to what the school is able to do but more focused and tailored,” said dad Matt Anstee, a lawyer who tutors his son Satch, 5.
“Then we go to something like the Natural History Museum, following up interests he has. He’s interested in things like evolution or the body, so it’s allowing that to develop,” Matt added.
It’s believed that flexi-schooling could become more popular in the coming years because of the rising demand from employees for flexible working and a baby boom putting pressure on primary schools.
By the end of this decade, there will be 21% more primary-age children than there were in 2010 while many more very young children are already being taught in supersized primary schools, reports The Guardian.
While Matt doesn’t believe the children are losing out by missing a day of school a week, he accepts that the Shaklewell families will have to work hard to make sure the children have caught up with the curriculum in later years.
The six families say they like Shaklewell, which is rated “satisfactory” by Ofsted, for its sense of community and diversity. But, Satch’s mum Ally Scott says that the school’s social and racial mix was one of the reasons why she chose flex-schooling.
“How can one teacher service the needs of the individual when each child is one of 30 very different – linguistically, culturally, emotionally – other children?”
The parents claim that this new learning approach to teaching their kids is intended to be complementary and not an alternative.