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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 

A SEND child learning at home

Home education can be the right choice for many children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and about 40% of all home educated children in the UK are children with SEND. If you are considering home educating your SEND child, or have just decided to do so, the following frequently asked questions may be helpful.

Yes. Parents have a legal duty to provide suitable education either through school attendance or otherwise. Home education is a legal choice including for parents of children with an EHCP.

If a child with an EHCP attends a mainstream school, no consent is required to remove the child from the school roll. However, if the child attends a special school, by arrangement with the local authority, consent is required. Consent may not be unreasonably withheld or delayed. Parents can apply to the Secretary of State for Education if the local authority refuses consent to remove from the school roll.

Yes, a local authority can decide to assess a child for an EHCP and put one in place, without the parent’s consent. However, it is extremely unlikely to do so.

Yes, home educating parents can apply for an EHCP.

Application is usually through the local authority special needs department. The contact details will be found on each local authority web page. Some areas have a single point of access for services.

Yes, you can ask your local authority to cease an EHCP, but it is not obliged to do so on request.

An EHCP must be reviewed once a year and parents will be given an opportunity to contribute to the review. The meeting must focus on the child or young person’s progress toward achieving the outcomes specified in the EHCP and on what changes might need to be made in order to help the child to achieve those outcomes, or whether changes are needed to the outcomes themselves. The SEND Code of Practice para: 9.177 provides that parents or young people should be invited to reviews in cases when a child or young person does not attend a school or other institution.

An EHCP review should be completed within four weeks of the review meeting. If the plan needs to be amended, the local authority should start the process of amendment without delay.

If the child is in mainstream school, he or she may be withdrawn at any point and no consent is required. If a child is in a special school by arrangement with the local authority, that authority may wish to hold a review prior to giving consent to remove from the roll.

No, legal precedent has found that home education may not be specified in section I of an EHCP. Section I should state ‘mainstream school’ or ‘special school’. NN -v- Cheshire East Council (SEN) [2021] UKUT 220 (AAC) Home education should be recorded in section F of the EHCP (Derbyshire CC v EM and DM (SEN) [2019] UKUT 240 AAC).

Local authorities are not required to make any provision specified in the child’s EHCP if your home education is suitable. However, if the education is not suitable, the local authority will either require you to enrol the child in school or it should put provision in place for the child under the Education Act 1996 s19.

No. Local authorities must make arrangements for the child’s education where, for any reason, a child of compulsory school age would not otherwise receive suitable education. This is known as EOTAS. If a child cannot, for any reason, attend school the local authority must make EOTAS provision for that child. If the child has an EHCP then Section I should be left blank and the details about the provision should be described in Section F. Home education is when the parent or carer is providing suitable, full-time education for their child, not the Local Authority.

Unless the EHCP specifies that the child needs to be educated otherwise then at school or college (EOTAS), it is most unlikely that funding will be provided to support your child. However, you can apply for a personal budget and direct payments. Parents and carers are eligible to apply for funding for short breaks or grants from charities such as Family Fund. When completing forms to apply, ‘home education’ should be written in the ‘school’ section. Please note that the person supporting the application can usually be anyone who knows the child, such as a nurse, or occupational therapist. It is worth investigating local parent forums to find possible sources of support.

Just like any other unpaid carer, home educating parents may not be required to work, or to look for work, in order to qualify for benefits. When claiming Universal Credit (UC) parents of children with SEND may be assessed as unable to work due to their caring responsibilities for those children. In such cases, parents are not required to look for work nor to have an assigned work coach. Most usually, this will be when DLA or PIP are paid for the child, or the parent receives carers allowance.

Parents of home educated children with an EHCP are eligible to apply for a personal budget. This can in some cases, provide access to direct payments.

Local authorities are obliged to publish a list of the support available for all children with SEND in their local area. This is known as the Local Offer. The Local Offer should detail the support available to all children and young people with SEND from universal services such as schools and GP; targeted services for children and young people with SEND who require additional short-term support over and above that provided routinely as part of universal services and specialist services for children and young people with SEND who require specialised, longer term support.

Services to home educated children are usually accessed through the GP. Some regions have a single point of contact for services.

The code of practice can be found here:SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years

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