Bridging payments win for home educators in Dumfries & Galloway

We would like to congratulate the Dumfries and Galloway home education group on persuading local councillors to overturn a previous decision and embrace inclusion by making bridging payments available to eligible home educating families in the area.

Local parents had refused to accept differential treatment based purely on their children’s home educated status, which is equal in law to schooling, and embarked on a year-long campaign in which they demanded equity for eligible home educating families. 

Made up of local parents, all bringing different and much-needed strengths to rise to the challenge, the group kept fellow home educators informed via our national forum as their campaign progressed.  They explained that they had received “a flat ‘no’” from both the education department and the community department, the latter ironically signed off by the lead officer for tackling inequalities and poverty, and were deeply concerned by the council’s intransigence and misrepresentation of eligibility. 

Their meticulous research – an example of home education in action and a lesson in democracy for all our children and young people –  included carrying out a local survey, submitting FOIs and collating data, requesting Scottish Government communications with all LAs regarding bridging payments, and seeking legal opinion. They were relentless in lobbying their elected members via emails and in-person meetings. 

On 14 September 2023, the group spokesparent reported on the forum:

“Today, our wee working group and members of our wider group of home educators made our presence known as we sat in the Education Committee meeting to listen and support our councillors support us. Our councillors came up trumps, there was a motion to agree to make payments equivalent to the bridging payments to eligible home educators and it was voted through unanimously. They weren’t happy and want to ensure something like this never happens again and that they are involved in decisions. They were brilliant! “

What an impressive result! And just as impressive was the fact that every one of the attendees – councillors and officers – used correct ‘home education’ terminology after years of being wedded to ‘home schooling’. Although we are told the accompanying papers referenced ‘home schooling’, the right message appeared to have sunk in with those present.
We noted a couple of minor errors in understanding of who is responsible for providing education (it is always parents unless children are subject to compulsory measures or LAC) and a nervousness about lack of ‘monitoring’ (which is not provided for in law or guidance, a fact recognised by the reporting officer); however, Dumfries and Galloway home educators have essentially re-educated both councillors and officers and have done us all proud. Thank you!

Watch the meeting from 56 mins onwards, ends at 1.24.


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