HUNDREDS of Barnsley children were educated at home in the last academic year, figures show.

Data suggests the number of home-schooled children has increased since the Covid-19 pandemic across England, although figures are incomplete.

Department for Education statistics show around 590 children were voluntarily taught at home in Barnsley in the 2022/23 summer term.

In Barnsley, most commonly parents opted to home-school their children for mental health reasons, with around 120 children doing so.

Olly Parker, head of external affairs at children’s charity Young Minds, said schools ‘can and should be supportive environments for young people’.

However, he warned anxiety, bullying, academic pressure, difficult relationships and a lack of support can lead to some children avoiding school.

Mr Parker added: “Young people should be able to access support for their mental health when they need it, including in schools.

“Currently, mental health support in schools is a postcode lottery and the government must commit to ensuring young people can access support in every school in the country.”

The data also shows older children are more likely to be taught at home across England – in Barnsley, 78 per cent were in secondary school, compared to 22 per cent in primary.

Across the country, around 97,000 children were home-schooled, up from 60,000 in March 2019.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “Home education is a big undertaking and parents should think very carefully before taking their child out of school. Schools have very robust policies on bullying and take the safeguarding of pupils extremely seriously.”