'Reasons for home education' survey report


Scottish Home Education Forum Survey (February 2018)

Reasons for school-age children being in home education

Download survey results


Reasons for families opting for home education are many and varied, from positive, proactive choice to ‘no choice’ due to insurmountable problems experienced by children in schools.
A significant, and concerning, finding is that the majority of families surveyed reported reasons around disability, ASD, chronic illness and, most especially, mental health issues, including severe school anxiety to the point of attempted suicide. Schools were said to be failing to meet the needs of children with disabilities and those in acute distress.

Nevertheless, the survey suggests that home education remains a popular choice for parents from the outset, and many have researched the options well before their children reach school age, which a significant number consider to be too young for formal education. Many are opposed to the factory-model schooling system and believe compulsory attendance is antithetical to children’s rights, pointing to the hypocrisy of seeking the views of home educated children on their education, while ignoring those of school pupils who vote with their feet.

Many respondents also believed schools are not fit for their stated purpose of educating all children according to their age, aptitude and ability, taking into account their additional support needs. Some have tried, and abandoned, school for home education, remaining respectful of their children's views, and have not looked back.

Several parents reported situations where schools were unable to guarantee pupils' safety or had contributed to children's distress by the inappropriate use of physical restraint or isolation. Despite parents being legally responsible for the care and education of their children, they had been threatened with prosecution or referral to the children’s reporter for removing them from an unsafe environment.

GIRFEC data mining, SHANARRI wellbeing ‘indoctrination’ and the CfE were also seen as contributing to the erosion of trust in professionals, the breakdown in home/school relationships and downward slide in academic standards.

“The system is broken” was the clear message from survey participants. As one four-year-old put it, “Why have you taken me away from my life?”