Frankly, we had expected a much better effort than the illogical, partial document that was eventually published, with its loaded questions and omission of key issues that have been repeatedly raised by home educators.
As we observed in our introductory comments,
Having responded in detail to the Review of Home Education Guidance discussion paper in 2019 and maintained ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government’s home education team (and its ever-changing personnel) over several years, it is deeply disappointing that our members’ concerns and research evidence have not been engaged with, or even referenced, in this consultation. The promised analysis of responses to the discussion paper has either not happened or not been shared with stakeholders, which is disrespectful to those who spent many hours engaging in good faith, especially those who work in a voluntary capacity. This submission should therefore be considered along with our response to the 2019 discussion paper.
One of the greatest frustrations we have been highlighting for many years is the wilful misrepresentation of Article 12 of the UNCRC in order to coerce a child’s views on his or her home education, and the application of a discriminatory double standard whereby schooled children are never asked for their opinion of their parents’ preferred means of providing education. It should be understood that a child’s views can be invited but not compelled, and unwillingness or inability to provide them does not constitute grounds for withholding or delaying consent for their withdrawal from school.
“Article 12 doesn’t mean children and young people have to express an opinion if they don’t want to. They can refuse to give their opinion for any reason, and Article 12 shouldn’t be used to pressure them into giving it.” ~ CYPCS website
It remains to be seen whether or not any of the 16 evidence-based recommendations in our comprehensive Home Truths report will be adopted in revised guidance, but what we can guarantee is that we will continue to defend families’ rights to exercise the equal status option of educating their children outside school without arbitrary interference by the state.