Home education guidance: consultation analysis

Summary and analysis of the responses received to the home education guidance consultation.

2. Introduction

2.1 Background to the consultation

The home education guidance consultation[1] sought views on updated home education guidance, which was published in 2007.[2]

The guidance is published under section 14 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, and local authorities must have regard to the guidance.

The consultation sought views on draft guidance, which is a revision of the existing guidance published in 2007. The current guidance sets out the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and parents in relation to home education. The guidance provides information on the relevant law and the process for withdrawing a child from school. The draft guidance under consultation also offers information and guidance for local authorities and parents on developing positive relationships based on mutual trust that function in the best interests of the child or young person.

2.2 Format of the consultation

The consultation ran from 22 March 2022 to 13 July, with an extension until 31 August 2022. This was to allow additional time for engagement and take into account the summer holiday period. Views were invited on 11 questions in relation to the draft home education guidance. The questions are summarised as follows:

  • Is the purpose of the guidance clear in the introduction?
  • Flexi-schooling is not the same as home education, is this clear in the guidance?
  • How can local authorities hear the individual and collective voices of home educated learners?
  • Examples of collaboration and involvement in the delivery of support and guidance for home educating families?
  • Do you have any comments on Section 3, paragraphs 3.1 - 3.11? ('Withdrawing a child from school')
  • Is it helpful for a local authority to provide a structure for parents' education plans?
  • Does 6 weeks provide sufficient time for a local authority to issue a decision regarding consent to withdraw a child from school?
  • Do you consider in-person contact between a local authority and a home educating family to be important?
  • How can local authorities best keep general data on the numbers of home educating children and young people in their area?
  • What is your opinion of a national approach to data management, for example a national register?
  • What factors can facilitate access to qualifications, and what might be the barriers or solutions?

2.3 Respondents to the consultation

In total 98 consultation responses were received either by email or through Citizen Space consultation portal. An additional exchange of correspondence to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, received during the consultation period directly related to the consultation, has also been included in the qualitative analysis.[3]

A breakdown of the respondent categories can be found in section 3.1 and a full list of organisations that have responded can be found in Annex A.

In addition to gathering written responses to the consultation, Scottish Government offered opportunities for participation through direct engagement activities. A limited number of activities took place, and these were in the format of online meetings with individual stakeholders or their representatives. Further details of the engagement activities can be found at Annex D.

2.4 Format of this consultation report

This consultation analysis report presents analysis of the responses in two parts: a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the consultation responses in section 3, and a discussion of the main themes that arise from the consultation responses in section 4. This section will also include Scottish Government comments on the key themes identified in the consultation. Comments are offered where this was possible to bring clarity to the issues raised. Key themes raised in the consultation are still being considered and further Scottish Government response will be published in due course.

Please note that the discussion in section 3.2 does not include consideration of each individual comment made rather the most relevant themes mentioned by multiple respondents are included.

2.5 Data protection and the consultation

To provide an illustrative picture of the consultation undertaken some quotations have been provided from consultation responses received.

To ensure compliance with data protection requirements, respondents were asked by the Scottish Government if their responses could be published online. The appropriate data redactions have been implemented dependent upon respondents' answers to this question. Where respondents have given permission to publish their response without name, quotations have been provided with the appropriate identifying data redacted. To provide context to the response, we have provided the details of the general category to which the respondent has been identified as belonging.

No quotations have been provided from respondents who provided an answer "do not publish response". However, these responses formed part of our overall consideration and analysis of the consultation responses.


Email: homeeducation@gov.scot

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