Flexi-schooling to be investigated by Aberdeenshire Council

Cosla president Alison Evison
Cosla president Alison Evison

The potential introduction of flexi-schooling in Aberdeenshire is to be debated by councillors this week.

North Kincardine councillor Alison Evison formally sought a detailed analysis of flexi-schooling through the Member Promoted Issue (MPI) process.

The Scottish Labour councillor said that some parents had asked for the initiative to become an option in Aberdeenshire.

The authority’s Education and Children’s Service Committee will discuss a report from officers on Thursday next week.

In her MPI Councillor Evison states: “This would allow them (parents) to develop an individualised programme of education for their child in consultation with their local primary school and in the best interests of their child.”

She says that within the principles of GIRFEC – Getting It Right For Every Child – flexi-schooling would enable parents to opt for a “combination of provision”, which could involve a number of days each week in school and a day or two in alternative provision such as outdoor

learning or in home schooling.

She says: “This option would be a radical departure from current practice, but it is one which merits proper analysis and reasoned consideration of both the potential benefits and disadvantages.”

Councillors will be told by officers that there is “limited evidence” of a clear and definitive definition of what is understood by flexi-schooling.

Perceived advantages include the freedom of parents to spend more time with their children and providing children with an the opportunity to learn more in-depth than they might at school, with more out-of-school trips and individual adult attention.

However, among the disadvantages would be that some children who attend school on a full-time might “resent” the fact that their peers do not have to attend five days a week, and get to participate in other activities such as museum and zoo outings while they are in the classroom.

Officers say it may also become harder for flexi-schooled children to re-adjust to school and it could have an affect on the child’s attainment especially if they are not taught in the same way that the school teaches in preparation for assessments/exams.