Parents/guardians are within their rights to seek consent to withdraw from the roll of a Highland school for home education rather than having them taught at one of the local authority schools.
Who is entitled to home education?
Any parent/guardian can choose to do this as long as they provide an efficient education that is suitable for the age, ability and aptitude of the child.
Parents/guardians have a responsibility to seek consent from the Highland Council to withdraw from the school roll for home education (if in attendance at a Highland Council school).
In line with the Scottish Government guidance, we aim to issue a decision within 6 weeks of the receipt of the original request. Until consent is granted the young person remains on the school roll and should attend school.
If a family have moved into the Highland Council area from another local authority area in Scotland or another nation, the parents/guardians do not require the consent of the authority for home education. However, we do encourage families to contact us as the advice we can provide and the information about services for school aged children provided by the NHS, further education providers and Skills Development Scotland is found to be very helpful by families home educating. This is a signposting service of information in the public domain.
What kind of education do parents need to provide?
Parents/guardians who choose home education do not have to follow the traditional school curriculum and do not have to use a fixed timetable that keeps to school hours and terms. They need to demonstrate that they are providing an education that is suitable for the child, with appropriate variety, resources and access to other children. The Scottish Government state in section 6.3 of their guidance that education authorities may reasonably expect that parents/guardians provision of home education includes the following characteristics –
- Consistent involvement of parents or other significant carers.
- Presence of a philosophy or ethos (not necessarily a recognised philosophy), with parents showing commitment, enthusiasm, and recognition of the child's needs, attitudes and aspirations.
- The opportunity for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences.
- Involvement in a broad spectrum of activities appropriate to the child's stage of development.
- Access to appropriate resources and materials.
- The opportunity for an appropriate level of physical activity.
- The opportunity to interact with other children and adults.
It is the parent's/guardian's responsibility to meet any costs associated with the above.
What about formal qualifications?
There is no legal requirement for young people to take a particular set of qualifications.
Parents/guardians home educating can make arrangements for their children to sit formal exams (for example, through their local college).
Parents/guardians are responsible for any costs associated with this.
What happens next?
An Education Officer will contact the family to discuss the request.
Parents/guardians are given an opportunity to outline their provision of home education.
Parents/guardians can choose whether to outline written provision of education or have a meeting.
Parents/guardians will receive a letter informing them whether the request is granted or whether further information will be required.
If consent is granted, the child's name will be removed from the school roll. From this time the parents/guardians are responsible for providing their child with an efficient and suitable education.
We will seek at all stages to allow a child to have the opportunity to express their view if they wish.
If consent is not granted, the Council must be clear about why the request has been refused. The parents/guardians will be given the opportunity to address the grounds on which it has been refused and resubmit their request if they wish.
What level of contact is there between us and home educating families?
An Education Officer will make contact with the family by email or letter on at least an annual basis to update education provision and offer advice if requested. If there are concerns about the educational provision, more frequent contact may be requested.
Parents can choose whether to provide a written update or have a meeting. The young person’s views are also welcomed.
In situations where concerns have been identified and the parent/guardian has subsequently failed to improve matters, the Council can make an attendance order. This allows the parent/guardian up to 14 days to provide the Council with information to satisfy them about the quality of education on offer. If this is not done, the child will be expected to return to school.
Occasionally parents/guardians request a flexi schooling arrangement, e.g. for the child to attend school only on certain days, or for certain subjects. The feasibility of each request should be considered on its own merit, while taking into consideration that under Section 28 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 ' so far as is compatible with the provision of suitable instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
We would advise parents/guardians to initially discuss a Flexi Schooling approach with the school before making a request. Ultimately, however, it is a decision for the Highland Council and each school as to whether they can support such an arrangement.
What if the child has additional support needs?
A parent's/guardian's right to home education is not changed if their child has additional support needs. However, it is reasonable for the Council to ask parents/guardians how they plan to cater for their child's needs at home.
We have no obligation to provide financial or other support for children with additional support needs who are home educated.
Guidance / Related Links
- Home Education Guidance
- Scottish Government Home Education Guidance
- Scottish Home Education Forum
- Home Education Scotland
Area ASN Managers:
North: Roger Bamfield
South: Veronica McKay
Email: Veronica.McKay@highland.gov.uk Telephone: 01463 702045
West: Fiona Wallace
Mid: Bill Couston