Is there a middle way between home education and full-time school?
We, the Dumfries and Galloway Parenting Science Gang, know that many parents in Scotland choose for their children to attend school part-time and spend the rest of the week with their family (known as flexischooling), but we’ve not be able to find much research looking into it. It is actually allowed? Why do parents choose this model? Do the kids benefit? And how do the schools feel about it? No-one seems to have tried to answer these questions!
With the help from University of the West of Scotland researcher Dr Tara Jones, we put together a research plan to find out more.
We started from basics and used Freedom of Information requests to find out about the policies that are in place in the 32 Scottish councils defining how a flexischooling arrangement may be made. We also asked how many children in each area were registered as flexischooling and how these numbers have changed over the last few years.
So far we’ve received 30 replies and discovered little known information such as that Fife has 156 flexischoolers registered (most councils only admit to very low numbers), and that in the Shetlands there is a HomeLink teacher who supports families who flexischool and home educate and even runs get togethers! As we look in the data in more detail we should find out how common flexischooling is in Scotland and how well it is supported.
Closer to home, we have sent surveys to Dumfries and Galloway parents asking them more about why they have chosen to flexischool and what their experiences have been.
Finally we have been speaking to local teachers, interviewing them about their experiences of teaching children who are flexischooled. We have been trying to find out what impact this has on the classroom environment and how the teachers feel about this practice.
At present we are analysing all the information that we have gathered, but we hope that soon we will be able to provide interested parents with information that will help them decide if flexischooling is a good choice for their family, and show that this is a model that is valued and desired in Scotland. Maybe this will kickstart more research into the area……
Watch this space for more details of our findings. In the meantime you might be interested in the conversations that we have had about flexischooling with researchers;
- Exploring Flexischooling with Centre for Personalised Learning Trustees Dr Harriet Pattison, Alison Saur and Fiona Bevan.
- What’s the Alternative? with Dr Helen Lees
- Lighting Up Passion with Flexi-learning with Julia Black of Explorium