HES urges fair treatment for external exam candidates

Home Education Scotland and Scottish Home Education Forums have sent a joint letter to Education Secretary John Swinney urging him to take action after home educated and independent entrants for SQA exams suffered unequal treatment compared to school and college candidates during the 2020 pandemic, losing out on being awarded exam grades and suffering financially. The letter is set out below: 27th October 2020 Dear Mr Swinney                                                                                                                      Ref: Call for review of SQA cancelling exams excluding the needs of home educated children and external candidates, including those with additional support needs. We understand that this is a difficult time in creating guidance and practice during the Covid-19 pandemic and we would like to bring to your attention that there has been a disproportionate effect on the home educating community…
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LAs’ data protection policies come under the spotlight

We have published new research in collaboration with The Scottish Home Education Forum examining local authorities’ data protection policies and practices in relation to the withdrawal of children from school for elective home education. Taking Local Authorities to Task was undertaken to expand on one of 16 recommendations in a previous report, Home Truths, which we published jointly in March 2020. That report highlighted intrusive and unnecessary data collection and sharing by councils when parents elect to withdraw their children from state schools in order to home educate.  You can read the latest full report here:  Taking Local Authorities to Task: An investigation and critique of Local Authorities’ data protection policies and practices in relation to the withdrawal of children from school for elective home education in Scotland
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Factchecking official home ed sites

In the first of an irregular series of posts entitled "When official websites get home education wrong", vice-convener Mark Nixon highlights legal inaccuracies on mygov.scot, Scotland's online public services portal. This website has been wrong for a long time, and despite repeated requests from home educators and home education organisations to correct the errors, they have failed to do so. In just seven substantive sentences, we can find a litany of errors, misinformation, and incorrect terminology. 1. “You have a right to teach your child at home rather than sending them to school.” PARTIALLY CORRECT You have a right to educate your child at home. Teaching is not mentioned in the law and guidance relating to home education. That’s what they do in schools. 2. “If you choose to do…
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HES corrects misleading council info

Our attention was drawn to a newspaper report on July 24 in which the Falkirk Herald newspaper repeated inaccurate and misleading information provided to parents by David Mackay, Head of Education at Falkirk Council. HES Deputy Convenor Mark Nixon wrote to the Herald’s editor, offering a corrective.The report has now been removed from the Falkirk Herald’s website.We would like to encourage HES members and supporters to let us know about any inaccurate reporting on home education matters in Scotland’s press and broadcast media, so that we can submit corrections where necessary in order to help Scottish media outlets improve their coverage of home education and offer clear and accurate advice to their readers.The full text of Mark’s letter: Dear madam/sirIt is a shame that the Herald did not consult with…
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Boys help with LA website

Two of the boys working with a graphic artist. Three home educated sons of one of our trustees were invited by their local authority to visit its graphics department to help create and produce a home education resource webpage for their local council area. This turned out to be an interesting and fun experience. The boys enjoyed learning how individual computer screens could be connected to give double on-screen workspace for one document. Helping with punctuation and flow, they seemed in their element. The graphics staff were patient when the boys were comparing and choosing colours for icons. Keen that none of the resources they had gathered for the site were missed out, the boys reminded their mum and the education officer that one had been forgotten.The boys said it…
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Home ed has changed too

Millie enjoying drawing. By convener Ally MacDonald ‘Home educators aren’t affected by lockdown,’ and ‘you do this already, you’ll be fine.’ I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard these statements in the past few weeks. The answer is, as I explained on Radio Scotland last week, we are all in this together. Home education, as people regularly need reminded, does not look like hours spent at home ‘at the kitchen table’. The only thing that makes this easier for us is that we are used to spending the majority of our time with our children, and many of us don’t need childcare, though many home educators work, fitting it in while children are at activities, or using grandparents, both of which are now largely unavailable. So how…
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HES presents at adoption conference

By vice-convener Mark Nixon In December 2019, Ally MacDonald (HES convener) and I attended Adoption UK in Scotland’s annual conference, which had the theme of ‘Thinking Differently About Education’. We were there at the invitation of AUK in Scotland to deliver a workshop for delegates – including adoption and fostering professionals, education professionals, and parents – on home education. There was a great deal of interest in home education among the delegates, many of whom admitted that they knew very little about its practice or the law around home education in Scotland. Many told us that they see home education as a viable option for their children or the children that they work with but wouldn’t even know where to start or how to advise adopting or fostering parents.It is…
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Home educating in lockdown

Mark Nixon home educating his daughter. Vice-convener Mark Nixon gave his views to the Courier newspaper on how parents can cope with educating their children at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read the story here.
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