Flexi-schooling move blocked by council

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Aberdeenshire Council has vetoed a move to develop a policy on flexi-schooling for the region’s children.

Members of the local authority’s education and children services committee voted last Thursday against a motion to have the option developed.

Instead, the council will continue to review its home education policy which will be brought back before councillors for discussion at a later date.

The flexi-schooling motion had been proposed by Labour councillor Alison Evison, and seconded by the SNP’s Charles Buchan.

But committee chair, Councillor Gillian Owen, stressed that the discussion was not about making a decision on adopting or encouraging the practice of flexi-schooling.

Instead, she said, it was an opportunity to discuss the wider context.

Afterwards, Councillor Evison admitted it was disappointing that an agreement could not be reached with the Conservative/LibDem-led Administration to include the words ‘flexi-schooling’ in the process.

She said: “This would have given a clearer indication that the needs of each individual child will be given priority.

“However, we can take comfort in the fact that Aberdeenshire’s home-schooling policy will now be updated and we will work to ensure that flexi-schooling is clearly addressed within this.”

The councillor added: “There is no record of detailed analysis of flexi-schooling having been carried out previously in Aberdeenshire.

“Given increasing demand, it remains appropriate that this analysis is carried out.”

Councillor Owen said: “I must stress the discussion was not about making a decision on adopting or encouraging the practice of flexi-schooling.

“It was simply an opportunity to discuss the national context, to understand the advantages and disadvantages of it, and to decide whether we should progress with a stand alone policy on flexi-schooling.”

She added: “Committee agreed an amendment to the motion, acknowledging that the home education policy is currently being reviewed by officers and that this should be brought back for discussion at a later date.”