No response to questions about SQA gradings

There has been no response so far from the cabinet secretary for education and skills, John Swinney MSP, to the joint letter we sent along with Home Education Forum Scotland in October urging him to ensure any new SQA exams and grading arrangements would take into account the needs of home educated candidates. You can read a full update about this on the HEFS website -- here.
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HE children should not miss out on winter payment

A winter support fund for families and children was announced by the Scottish Government on November 30. This included £16m to give low income parents and carers of an estimated 156,000 children (in receipt of free school meals) a one-off £100 payment by Christmas. After making inquiries, home education families in the low income group found they were ineligible to receive this payment. This is despite senior stage home educated children (16-19, in full-time education) in that group being entitled to Educational Maintenance Allowance from local authorities. HES members asked their LAs and MSPs why they were not being included in the payment and they received inconsistent and unsatisfactory replies. The view of HES is that this payment should be given to the families of HE children who meet the…
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Research shows some LAs not following govt guidance

Some of Scotland's local authorities are not following the Scottish Government legal guidance when they process requests from parents to withdraw their children from state school rolls in order to home educate, it has been revealed. The findings came after research was carried out by Scottish Home Education Forum (SHEF) within the home ed community, and these were published in an article in Times Education Supplement Scotland today. You can read the full article here.
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LA’s warm clothes scheme extended to HE families

Home educators are often overlooked when it comes to inclusion in local authority projects, and Dumfries and Galloway were no different - until HES challenged this. Poverty can hit at any time, and COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue, with many families juggling ever-tightening budgets. Dumfries and Galloway are running a Warm Winter Clothing scheme which was aimed initially at school children but has now been opened up to home educated children. Poverty doesn’t just affect school children after all. If your home educated child is in need of warm clothes this winter and lives in Dumfries and Galloway, you can use the link below to place a request. https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk/article/21523/Warm-Winter-Clothes-and-Free-School-Uniform-Project
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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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