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COSLA regrets the negative and unhelpful approach adopted by the Scottish Consumer Council in publicising its repor...
COSLA regrets the negative and unhelpful approach adopted by the Scottish Consumer Council in publicising its report on home education, Danny McCafferty COSLA's spokesperson for education and children's issues has said.

Councillor McCafferty said: 'It is a pity that the Scottish Consumer Council did not take the trouble to speak to COSLA in compiling its report. That might have helped to ensure it took a more balanced perspective. While it is difficult to comment in detail in advance of seeing the report, I would make two key observations.

'First, it appears that the SCC have ignored the rights of children by focusing on the views of parents. Children are also consumers.

'COSLA has consistently sought an integrated agenda for children and young people with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at its centre.

'We also believe that children should have the right to be consulted about key issues which affect them and to have their views taken into account. But it is parents who decide on home education, not children. Councils will seek to meet parents' wishes but must also ensure that the outcome is right for the child's best interests.

'Second, both central and local government policy is focused on social inclusion. Local authorities are being encouraged, for example, to ensure that as many children and young people as possible with special educational needs receive their school education in mainstream settings.'

Councillor McCafferty continued: 'Yet home education is about educating children away from their peers. Here too, local authorities must think about what is best for the child in light of social inclusion.

'If children are having difficulties at school, the important task is to sort out those difficulties. Is taking children out of school - and in so doing imposing a sort of social exclusion - the best way to prepare children for the pressures and problems they will face in adult life?

'In seeking to deliver education, local authorities have a duty to take a balanced approach that meets not only the wishes of parents but also the needs of children. The SCC of course is under no such pressure.

'As a result, it appears to have taken a one-sided view which is not only unfortunate, regrettable and unhelpful but based on a flawed perspective of the issues.'

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