Home Education and Special Needs England

In January 2016 there were 1735 home educated children with a statement or EHCP (described as "other arrangements made by the parents").

Two thirds of home educated children with special needs DON'T have a statement or Plan.

The percentage of home educated children who have a statement of SEN (or EHCP) varies among local authorities between zero and 20%, averaging at around 5%.

More data on children with SEN outside school here

All SEN data on GOV.UK

Definition Special Educational Needs

A child has special educational needs if they have a "learning difficulty" which calls for "special educational provision" to be made for them. A "learning difficulty" is where a child has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of their age or has a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools

Several points arise from this:

  • Disability is not in itself a special educational need
  • Educational facilities generally provided in schools refers to mainstream state-funded school, so the fact that a child might be able to manage in home education or in a private school with very small classes is irrelevant
  • Giftedness is not regarded in law as a "special educational need" although a child may be gifted AND have a disability which prevents them from accessing mainstream education (More)

Reasons for Home Educating Child with SEN

If you have taken a child out of school to home educate them which of the following factors applied

  • You liked what you heard about home education = 27.0%
  • Child not making progress at school = 37.8%
  • Child unhappy at school = 68.2%
  • Child too anxious to attend school = 48.6%
  • Child being bullied 37.2%
  • Child being excluded (temporarily or permanently) = 14.9%
  • No suitable school in area = 12.8%
  • Disagreement over allocated school place = 6.1%
  • Someone suggested/recommended home education = 14.2%
  • Other = 20.3%
  • Source 2016 Parents Survey

    In my 2016 Parents' Survey over a third of respondents had been home educating for more than 2 years, and three quarters of children had previously attended mainstream school.

    The effect of problems at school can be devastating; school becomes impossible and parents feel they have no choice except to home educate. In some cases home education is perceived a stopgap, but even where a child returns to school, parents don't necessarily expect it to last.

    Support Groups

    There are various Facebook support groups for home educating parents of children with special needs, as well as a yahoo group and HE-Special.

    Taking Child Out Of School

    As explained in the Government Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities children with special educational needs - including those with a statement or Education Health and Care Plan - have an equal right to be educated at home. Parents do not need to ask for permission (although if the child is a pupil at a special school the rules are different)

    Registered Pupil

    The fact that a school is named in Part 4 of the statement or in Section I doesn't mean that the child is automatically registered. Nor does naming the school here mean that a child will be obliged to attend the named school in future rather than being home educated. Equally, a tribunal directing a particular school does NOT mean the child can't be home educated instead.

    The Local Authority's Role

    The local authority has a duty to review the statement or EHCP annually. More about LAs here.. If you disagree with what your local authority is saying about your child's special needs, you can make a formal complaint and/or appeal to the SEN Tribunal. (There is a new requirement to obtain a mediation certificate before going to tribunal) More

    Exams

    Having a statement or EHCP can be useful for getting Access Arrangements in exams, but you will still need to show the "normal way of working." More

    Law, SEN Regulations, SEND Code

    The law on special needs changed in England in 2014. All NEW assessments are now for Education Health and Care Plans but children who already have a statement of SEN will be transferred to the new system up to 2018. Statements will continue to be reviewed just as they have been in the past, until the statement becomes due for reassessment under the new rules. The statement isn't enforceable on the parent. This also applies to EHCPs. More about statements and EHCPs here

    The new law on special needs is contained in the Children and Families Act 2014, supplemented by the SEN Regulations. The information you need from the Regulations about EHCPs is here. Statutory guidance is contained in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (Read what the SEND Code says about home education here)

    2 Types of Home Education

    Where a child has a statement or an Education Health Care Plan and is educated otherwise than at school, EITHER the parent makes the special educational provision OR it is arranged and funded by the local authority. It is extremely rare for local authorities to provide therapies or support (including SALT or OT) once a child is home educated, as parents are deemed to have opted out.

    Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment

    You don't need a statement of SEN or an EHCP in order to claim Disability Living Allowance.. DLA is for children who need more help with daily living or with mobility than other children of the same age.

    Benefits and Work has useful guides for completing the DLA form and also for appealing DLA decisions. Support organisations for particular conditions or syndromes may also be very helpful eg Cerebra.

    Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help. Carer's Allowance can be claimed under certain conditions.

    DLA stops at 16 and the young person has to claim Personal Independence Payment which has different rules.