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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 15:09 GMT
New guidelines on home education
A teenager doing homework
Home educators have said that they faced prejudice
Ministers have published new guidance on withdrawing pupils from school to be educated at home.

The Scottish Government recommends a six-week deadline for local authorities to decide whether a child can be taken out of mainstream education.

Parents who teach their children want the period to be shortened to two weeks.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) has expressed concerns about adequate monitoring of home education.

Home educators said they had faced prejudice and an entrenched lack of understanding from some of the local authorities.

They said children flourished as a result of a more flexible approach to teaching.

Some education directors, meanwhile, have been concerned a fast decision would amount to a rubber stamp - and lay them open to legal action from children who in later life feel their education has been lacking.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said the interests and safety of children was paramount.

He added: "That's why we issue guidance to help parents teaching at home develop trust, mutual respect and positive relationships with councils.

"Local authorities have powers to protect children's welfare, irrespective of where they are educated, and we would expect them to do so."

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