We are delighted to report that the Scottish Government is taking positive steps to end the discrimination faced by home educated youmg people who were being denied optical vouchers after Schoolhouse highlighted the unfair anomaly earlier in the year.
The Health and Social Policy Department has now advised us as follows:
Having examined the relevant Scottish legislation and discussed this issue with our colleagues in the Directorate for Learning we agree that young people receiving home schooling should be regarded as receiving qualifying full time education at an educational establishment accepted as comparable by Scottish Ministers under paragraph 7 of Schedule 11 to the NHS (Scotland) Act 1978.
We are discussing the changes that will be required to the HCS 1 “Help with Health Costs” guidance booklet with our colleagues who are responsible for updating and maintaining this booklet. The required changes will be made as soon as possible and in the meantime we will advise Practitioner Services of NHS National Services that those who are home schooled are entitled to an optical voucher on the same basis as others attending a school, colleague or university.
This is an excellent result for home educated young people and their families. We thank the Scottish Government for responding positively to our concerns about this unfair anomaly which was being routinely imposed by practitioners and policy makers with tunnel vision, despite never being mandated by the relevant legislation.