THE number of children opting to be taught from home is continuing to rise in Blaenau Gwent.

But education chiefs say that they are trying to persuade those being taught at home to come back to school.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s People scrutiny committee on Tuesday, October 18, figures revealed that 132 children were calssed as “Effectively Home Educated” (EHE) as of the last school census figures from January.

This figure has gone up from 89 in January 2021 and 70 in January 2020.

Further data analysis showed that, across four of the county borough’s secondary schools, during the summer term a total of 12 pupils had left to be taught from home.

No EHE pupils had returned to school over the same period.

All the data was included in a report on the council’s safeguarding performance from April to the end of June.

Cllr Keith Chaplin said: “I wonder why there’s an increase. It’s quite large, is there a reason?”

Director of education Lynn Phillips said: “There has been an increase in number across most local authority areas in Wales.

“It’s felt that it’s largely linked to Covid-19, however in Blaenau Gwent this is a priority for our work.”

While the decision of where to educate youngsters is a legal right for parents, concerns have been expressed across Wales that child welfare issues can go undetected if they don’t attend a school.

Calls have been made that a home education register is needed as well as allowing for more visits taking place to ensure that all is well with the child.

In Blaenau Gwent work is being done to visit home schooled children to offer, support, advice, and guidance to these families.

Mr Phillips said: “We now have a dedicated officer in the education welfare team to work with those families and where we can, to advocate that EHE learners are phased back into school where appropriate.”

“I does come down to parental choice.

“It’s a work of influence and negotiations as parents have the statutory responsibility to deciding if they want their child to be educated in school.”