Response by Dr Harriet Pattison

The Guidance sets out a clear and legally accurate framework through which families can clarify expectations regarding interactions with EA officials.   

As a specialist researcher into literacy and home education, I continue to be concerned that the Guidelines place insufficient emphasis on the many ways in which learning at home may diverge from learning in school.  There is repeated emphasis given in the guidelines to the legal requirement that education be suitable to a child’s age, ability and aptitude.   Whilst this is the case, it should be highlighted that the transposition of age related bench marks from school to home education is wholly inappropriate and should not be used as either a guidance or expectation.  This may be particularly the case with regards to literacy, reading and writing where the normative framework  imposed by school has frequently been used to inadequately assess the efficacy of home education provision.  Recognition that pedagogic approaches may be different (ie from structured to autonomous) needs to be matched with recognition that learning trajectories may also be very different – for example reading and writing succeeding rather than preceding  other aspects of literacy.”