A reader from the U.K., who has engaged in the discussion about the role of parents, comments on the relative infrequency of home-schooling in the U.K.:

Home-schooling is legal in the UK but it isn’t common. Most parents in the UK that have the time to homeschool either lack the required level of education/intelligence to do so successfully or have enough money to send their children to private school.

Most parents send their children to a local state school. The way the system works means that it is difficult to get children into schools unless you live near the school. This raises the prices of properties near outstanding schools. Affluent, educated people tend to be better at picking out good schools and gaming the system (buying a house next to a good school, using a family members address rather than their own, pretending to be of a certain faith to get their kids into a faith school etc). This means that those that might want to home school can generally get their kids into a “good” school and so do not need to.

The exceptions to this are those who cannot get their children into a faith school that matches their beliefs. This is rare as there are catholic schools, church of england schools, jewish schools and islamic schools in growing numbers. Some Jehovah’s witnesses homeschool for example…

In the UK the worst schools sadly tend to be in the poorest areas. The parents in these areas are either working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet and so cannot home school or are not capable of home schooling for reasons of language, education, intelliegence, motivation or a combination thereof. That doesn’t stop some of them from trying but it is rarely a success. More often than not we have to rectify the situation in a short space of time so these pupils have a shot at exam success.

Often home schooling is a necessity rather than a choice here. When a child gets permanently excluded from a school they can have problems finding a new school place. This is especially true when they were excluded for violence, sex offending or drug related incidents. The special schools for excluded pupils (called Pupil referral units) are full to brimming and very difficult to get pupils into. It is equally difficult to get pupils places in special schools for those with behavioural, emotional or social difficulties.

i suspect that home schooling may become more prevalent in areas where there is significant demand for school places. This is because there are not enough new schools being built. Central government think that local government should pay for them. Local government are faced with swinging cuts and simply cannot afford to do so. They think that if they wait for the situation to get bad enough central government will be forced to pay for it. In the meantime the pupils, parents and teachers suffer.

Unfortunately the government is more concerned with making education cheaper rather than better.