Claims mainstream education has failed our kids
By Shannon Deery, Herald Sun May 9
Bullies are forcing Victorian students out of mainstream schools and into home schooling, amid claims the Education Department has failed our children. Authorities have been forced to step up their efforts with new initiatives aimed at stamping out bullying as home schooling figures hit an all-time high. It comes amid research that bullying of staff is rife in schools, with parents and students among the top perpetrators.
Some 95 per cent of educators claimed they had experienced at least one of 42 bullying behaviours identified by researchers.
The most common was personal confrontation or professional destabilisation, often resulting in a deterioration of mental and physical health.
In Victoria, the number of families registering for home schooling has almost tripled in the four years records have been kept.
Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority figures obtained by the Herald Sun show 2921 Victorian students are being home schooled, compared with 1042 in February 2008.
The number of families registered in home schooling has more than tripled in the same time from 586 to more than 1600. More than 50 students have been pulled out of Victorian schools since June.
Experts have reported a schoolyard bullying crisis, highlighted in January when bullied schoolgirl Sheniz Erkan, 14, took her own life.
Only weeks later, Katherine Bernard, 17, committed suicide in similar circumstances.
Education Department spokeswoman Helen Stevanovich said there was evidence that students were being forced out of schools because of bullies.
“There is some anecdotal evidence that this may be the case,” she said.
“The department would be concerned if there are families whose first choice may be the mainstream schooling system, but feel they have to turn to home schooling because this system is failing to meet their child’s particular needs.”
A spokesman for Education Minister Martin Dixon rejected the claims, saying parents often chose to home school for “philosophical reasons”.