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Children Educated Outwith School, 2001/02

DescriptionResults of the 2001/02 survey of children educated outwith school
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateNovember 28, 2002


News Release

28 November 2002

A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication

This document is also available in pdf format (156k)

The results of the 2001/02 survey of children educated outwith school are published today by the Scottish Executive Education Department.

These results have been collated from returns made by Education Authorities in Autumn 2002. This was the second year the survey has been run.

The main points are:

  • In 2001/02, over 1,600 children were recorded by Education Authorities as having received education outwith school at some point during the year, a 23 per cent decrease from 2000/01. This decrease was mainly due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 2000/01.
  • There were 1,137 children who received education at home or in hospital due to prolonged ill health, compared with 1,016 in 2000/01, an increase of 12 per cent. This increase is possibly due to the new duty, arising from the Standards in Scotland 's Schools etc. Act 2000 on education authorities to make special arrangements for such children.
  • A further 40 children received education under 'other extraordinary circumstances'. Examples of 'extraordinary circumstances' include pupils unable to attend school because of geographical remoteness, travellers' children who may spend part of the school year outwith school and prolonged adverse weather affecting the ability of island children to attend school. This year's figure represented a significant decrease from the figure of 740 reported last year (a decrease of 95 per cent). This was mainly due to the high number of children who were receiving education outwith school in 2000/01 as a result of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.
  • As was the case last year, there were no children receiving home education through special arrangements put in place as a result of family illness.
  • In 2001/02, 451 children were known by Education Authorities to be receiving home education as a result of parental choice. This represented an increase of 102 from the 2000/01 figure of 349. It is recognised however that many more children may be home educated, but are not currently in contact with their Education Authority.
  • There was a large amount of variation between Education Authorities. Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire authorities educated the greatest numbers out of school due to prolonged ill health, while Fife and Perth and Kinross had the highest number of children receiving home education as a result of parental choice .


Table 1 - Children Educated Outwith School, Scotland 2000/01 and 2001/02.
Table 2 - Children Educated Outwith School, by Education Authority, 2001/02.


  1. This survey was run for the first time in Autumn 2001. Education Authorities (EAs) provided details of all children who were educated outwith school at any point during the school year, whether out of necessity (Section 14 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980) or by parental choice (Section 30). The survey replaces and extends the previous survey of pupils educated outwith school (SC4) which provided only a snapshot picture of Section 14 children during a given week in September. This year's results are therefore comparable with figures from 2000/01, but not comparable with earlier figures.
  2. Following the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 education authorities must make special arrangements for the education of children who are unable to attend school because of prolonged ill-health and exemptions caused by family illness. They may also make special arrangements for children who cannot attend because of extraordinary circumstances.
  3. Section 30 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 states that parents have a duty to provide efficient education for their school age children which is suited to their age, ability and aptitude. They may do this by ensuring that their child attends a public school regularly, or by other means, including the provision of education at home. Children who receive education at home under Section 30 do so as a result of parental choice, and are distinct from those who, due to illness or exceptional circumstances, are unable to attend school.
  4. Parents of children who have started to attend a public school must seek the EA's consent before withdrawing their child from school in order to educate them at home. EAs reported that they were aware of 331 such children who were educated at home in 2001/02. Parents of children who have never attended a public school are not required to seek the consent of their EA in order to educate them at home. EAs reported that they were aware of 120 such children, although the 'true' figure is likely to be much higher. Many home educating families are not in contact with the authorities, even though EAs have a responsibility, at least in principle, to ensure that an efficient education is being provided.
  5. The Scottish Executive is preparing guidance for local authorities on the circumstances in which parents may choose to educate their children at home. The purpose of this guidance is to promote a consistency of approach across Scotland by setting out the legislative position, providing advice on the roles and responsibilities of education authorities and parents, and giving examples of good practice. The draft guidance was issued for consultation on the 20th of December 2001 until 29th March 2002. A full analysis of the consultation responses has now been completed, and meetings with home education organisations and local authorities are being organised to discuss proposed revisions and any further concerns before the re-issuing of the guidance.
  6. This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
  7. Public enquiries (non-media) about the information contained in this News Release should be addressed to Neil White, Assistant Statistician, Scottish Executive Education Department, 1-A, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ. Telephone 0131 244 0300 or e-mail ea. stats@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Media enquiries about the information in this News Release should be addressed to:

Contact: 0131 244
28 November 2002