More than 1,000 Oxfordshire children were educated at home in the last academic year, government figures show.

Data also suggests that the number of home-schooled children has increased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic across England, despite figures being incomplete.

Department for Education statistics reveal around 1,240 children were voluntarily taught at home in Oxfordshire in the 2022-23 summer term.

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Across the country, around 97,600 children were home-schooled. Separate figures from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator suggest there were 60,500 in March 2019.

But it appears Covid is not behind the rise – the largest reason for children being withdrawn from schools was for “philosophical” reasons, of which 15,800 parents had chosen to do so.

In Oxfordshire, most commonly parents opted to home-school their children for mental health reasons, with around 340 children doing so. The reasons for home schooling were not known in 26 per cent of cases however.

The same was true for many other parts of the country, with 12,200 children taught at home for their mental health across England.

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 Oxfordshire, 69 per cent were in secondary school, compared to 31 per cent in primary school.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said home education is a "big undertaking" and parents should think very carefully before taking their child out of school.

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He said schools have very robust policies on bullying and take the safeguarding of pupils extremely seriously, further encouraging parents to work through any issues they may with schools.

He added while home schooling seems to have increased, we do not know the definitive figures as the Government has not introduced a register.

The home schooling figures come less than a week after additional Department for Education data revealed that nearly two dozen Oxfordshire schools had been found to be operating at a deficit last academic year from 2022 to 2023.