Home Education and Special Needs England

In 2021 there were 14,452 children educated elsewhere than at school/PRU/college and 2,225 whose placement was categorised as "other". See DfE link derived from SEN2 data and published in May 2021. For more detail, scroll down and click to expand "Number and percentage of EHC plans, by establishment type, 2018 to 2021"/p>

In 2016 I found that two thirds of home educated children with special needs DON'T have a statement or Plan.

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

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 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 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 Section I doesn't mean that the child is automatically registered. See Elective Home Education Guidance for Local Authorities 2019 "8.10 When a home-educated child’s EHC plan names a school, some local authorities instruct the school to add the child’s name to its admission register without the parent’s agreement, with the result that the parent is committing an offence if the child does not attend the school. It is not lawful for a school to do this, and local authorities should ensure that both schools and their own staff know that. It is up to the child’s parent whether to arrange for the child to be registered as a pupil at the school" .

    Equally, a tribunal directing a particular school to be named does NOT mean the child can't be home educated instead, as indicated by the following case law (which )was made under previous SEN legislation but Part VI of the Education Act 1996 is unaffected) "The provisions of Part VI of the 1996 Act are such that for there to be a successful prosecution, a parent will not only not be sending the child to the school named in the statement or plan, but will be failing to cause the child to be receiving a sufficient education by another route. There is no obligation on a parent to send a child to the school named in the statement but there is an obligation to secure that the child is properly educated." [my emphasis]

    The Local Authority's Role

    The local authority has a duty to review the EHCP at least 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 requirement to obtain a mediation certificate before going to tribunal More


    Having an 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. The EHCP isn't enforceable on the parent. More 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 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

    Financial support if you or your child has a disability link. Carer's Allowance can be claimed under certain conditions. You don't need a statement of SEN or an EHCP or specific medical diagnosis in order to claim Disability Living Allowance., since DLA is for children who need more help with daily living or with mobility (getting around) than other children of the same age.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/medical-guidance-for-dla-decision-makers-child-cases-staff-guide updated September 2021

    Benefits and Work has useful guides for completing various forms and also for appealing decisions. Support organisations for particular conditions or syndromes may also be very helpful (see eg Cerebra's DLA Guide). Contact (previously Contact-a-family) published https://contact.org.uk/help-for-families/information-advice-services/benefits-financial-help/benefits-and-tax-credits/disability-living-allowance/tips-on-completing-the-dla-form/ in June 2022. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help.

    DLA stops at 16 and the young person has to claim Personal Independence Payment which has different rules. Transfer from DLA to PIP is not automatic and the young person will become responsible for making a claim for PIP in their own right. However, it is possible for a parent/carer to oversee their claim as what is called an "appointee". This is arranged following a home visit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). More information from a parent about PIP and DLA Another parent advises "PUT EVERYTHING IN... don't assume 'they' know a single thing. Labour your points. If you're not sure if it's 'relevant' to the question you're answering PUT IT IN ANYWAY!". If you provide the appropriate information at the right stage in the process, the young person may be excused from the face to face assessment.

    http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2018/03/29/pip-payments-autism-overcoming-challenges-application-process/ "Short or monosyllabic answers could in the eyes of the autistic person be perfectly rational responses to a question, but they may have failed to understand that a wider explanation and exposition are necessary. Asking an autistic applicant whether they can do their laundry, for example, may elicit a “yes” as the person knows how to operate a washing machine. What this may disguise is the fact that someone is unable to organise their time to do their washing. For example, James* said yes, but he was dependent on his mother visiting at periodic intervals to do it for him, as he could not decide which of his clothes would be classed as clean. When she was ill he wore the same clothes for months. Alex* was asked about his social life and responded that he saw his friends “regularly”. Digging a little deeper revealed Alex would only see the same person about once a month, on their terms."

    Link Reference

    This article is http://ehe-sen.org.uk/index.php. The following links to other websites are contained in the article, displayed as citations to aid you in printing the document.

    1. DON'T have a statement or Plan http://edyourself.org/articles/SENsurvey.php
    2. not regarded in law http://ehe-sen.org.uk/appealscomplaints.php
    3. 2016 Parents Survey http://edyourself.org/articles/SENsurvey.php
    4. my 2016 Parents' Survey http://edyourself.org/articles/SENsurvey.php
    5. HE-Special http://www.he-special.org.uk/
    6. the rules are different http://edyourself.org/articles/guidelines.php
    7. More http://ehe-sen.org.uk/annreview.php
    8. More http://ehe-sen.org.uk/exams.php
    9. here http://ehe-sen.org.uk/statement.php
    10. here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/contents/enacted
    11. Disability Living Allowance. http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/carersallowanceinfo.aspx
    12. https://contact.org.uk/help-for-families/information-advice-services/benefits-financial-help/benefits-and-tax-credits/disability-living-allowance/tips-on-completing-the-dla-form/ http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/
    13. DLA http://edyourself.org/PIPclaimguidebyparent.pdf
    14. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2018/03/29/pip-payments-autism-overcoming-challenges-application-process/ http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2018/03/29/pip-payments-autism-overcoming-challenges-application-proc