West Dunbartonshire Council


If you have you any comments or updates on West Dunbartonshire Council's home education policy and/or practice, please post in this thread.

West Dunbartonshire Council home education policy

Home education is a key aspect of parental choice and the Council respects the wish of parents who choose to educate their child at home.

Home education is a right conditional upon parents providing an efficient education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of the child.

The council will support parents who choose to home educate by providing advice and information. Parents are advised that the Council is required by law to make sure the education provided at home is appropriate for the child.(1)

Taking a child out of school

If your child has attended a council run school in West Dunbartonshire you must ask our permission(2) before taking your child out of school. A request to home educate should be made in writing to the Executive Director of Educational Services.

Any request should include the following information:

your child's name and date of birth
your home address
your child's present school and class
the main providers of education input
the range of curriculum areas planned
any provision of physical activity
the main resources to be used
an indication of the provision of social activities
the reasons for wishing to home educate (there is no obligation to provide this information).

We may ask you for further information and we may gather information from other agencies.(3) A part of this process will include asking your child how they feel about home education.(4)

You will receive a response in writing from the Council to inform you if we have granted our consent for you to home educate.(5)

Guidance on a suitable home education

When you have started to home educate your child we will maintain contact with you on a regular basis. We will make contact with you at least once a year in order that we can satisfy the requirement that the education being provided is efficient and suitable.(6)

We would expect your child's education to include:

recognition of your child's needs, aptitude and aspiration
a range of learning experiences
a broad spectrum of activities appropriate to your child's stage of development
access to appropriate resources
appropriate levels of physical activity
the opportunity to interact with other children and adults.

Where we have concerns with the education you are providing we will give details of the concerns and the reasons for them. You will also be given the opportunity to improve the education being provided.

We respect your right to educate your child at home and will make every effort to resolve issues.


Denise McKinnon, Quality Improvement Officer


(1) Rather, the council is required to take action if it is not satisfied that children are being educated, for which evidence of parental failure is required. It is a negative duty, which does not extend to breaching Article 8 of the ECHR.

(2) The correct terminology is consent (to withdraw a child from a council school). The council does not run a licensing scheme whereby it issues permits to parents!

(3) It is unlawful to share personal and sensitive personal data between agencies without consent unless it meets one of the necessity tests within the Data Protecion Act and ECHR Article 8(2). Any attempt t make withdrawl from school conditional upon consent to share information would not survive a legal challenge according to data protection lawyers. the Supreme Court has upheld the threshold for non-colnsensual data processing as 'risk of significant harm' and the provision of education is a parental responsibility.

(4) Children may make their views known if they so wish but may not be compelled to do so (Article 12, UNCRC) and must be treated equally to schooled children whose views on their parents' choice of education are never sought.

(5) The consent applies only to withdrawl from a council school and no consent is required to home educate per se.

(6) See previous note (1) on the nature of the negative duty and refer to national guidance.