Home education and the law

25th July 2003 at 01:00
I was more than a little bemused by the tone of the article and your related editorial concerning the revised draft guidance on home education (TESS, July 18).

The revised draft guidance is not a "cave-in" by the Scottish Executive, nor is it full of concessions to the HE community in Scotland. It may be a "U-turn" as you suggest, but merely in so much as it now reflects the law.

Had the Executive pushed ahead with the previous guidance, and education authorities followed that guidance, they would have left the education authorities open to legal actions which they would have had no hope of winning.

The previous guidance ex-ceeded the underlying education law to which it was meant to be a guide and promoted breaches of data protection and human rights legislation.

The revised guidance is fortunately not blighted in these regards. It forms a basis on which discussion can now be entered into and hopefully some of the remaining flaws removed. As it is not a change to the law it still leaves potential Scottish home educators' rights lagging behind those in England and Wales.

Of course, there are some - the Scottish Parent Teacher Council being a prime example - who do not care about the law or truth and therefore are happy to mislead and smear the HE community as an expression of their enmity against those who do not unquestioningly support the system on which their existence depends.

One day, hopefully home educators will not have to face the innuendo of references to the family of Fred West, Victoria Climbie or Danielle Reid, all of whom, like many others, suffered despite being part of the school system and had absolutely no connection with home education.

Alan Tait


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