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Elective home education and SEND

Home education

Information for children and young people, age 5 to 16, who are educated at home

If a child or young person has SEN Support – The elective home education process will begin and parents or carers being signposted to SENDIASS and Early Help, provided with info on Education Health and Care Assessment Requests. A referral to Compass Mental Health Support Team may be made if parents or carers would like this to happen.

If a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – If parents or carers make the decision to home educate, the Education, Health and Care Plan co-ordinator will support the education setting to call an emergency review. At this point school cannot take the learner off roll. One of the two options will apply.

Assessment Requests

If the child is in mainstream school and the parents notify the school in writing that they are receiving education otherwise than at school (for example Elective Home Education), the school must then remove the child’s name from the admission register.

It is only at special schools where the permission of the local authority is required. It is recommended that an emergency Assessment Request is done before this happens. However, this may not happen if parents give written notice to the school prior to an Assessment Requests being arranged. If this happens it would need to come to SEN Advisory Group on notice of the letter.

Option one

Following the emergency review the EHCP co-ordinator will take the request to SEN Advisory Group. If parents and the local authority, in this case the SEN Advisory Group, agree to Elective Home Education, the local authority remains responsible for provision in the Education, Health and Care Plan and associated costs. Education other than at school (EOTAS) may be thought to be the most appropriate cause of action.

Option two

Following the emergency annual review, the EHCP co-ordinator will take the request to SEN Advisory Group. If the advisory group do not agree to Elective Home Education, parents can still exercise their right to educate at home under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (see also 10.32 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015).

Annual reviews remain in place with the local authority having a distant oversight of the case. The local authority will not be responsible for provision or funding the costs of the EHCP provision.

At the annual reviews or at any time in the year, the local authority should satisfy itself that the education provided by is suitable for the age, aptitude and ability and the special educational needs of the child.

Where the local authority is satisfied that the provision is appropriate, the EHCP should name the type of setting that would be suitable, but then state that parents or carers have made their own arrangements under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

The local authority will always seek to work with parents or carers to offer guidance on how they can make improvements.

If the local authority still has concerns that a child with an EHCP is not receiving a suitable education, we will serve a notice under Section 437 of the Education Act 1996, requiring evidence that the child is receiving a suitable education. Suitable education means efficient full time education suitable to their age, ability, and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have.

If the local authority does not receive a response or is not satisfied from the response that the child is receiving a suitable education, we may decide to proceed with a School Attendance Order. SEN Advisory Group will need to ratify the choice of school that is named in any subsequent school attendance order.

What Elective Home Education includes and parent and carer legal duties

The responsibility for children’s education rests with their parents.

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause them to receive efficient full time education which is suitable to age, ability, aptitude, and to any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise (Section 7 of the Education Act 1996).

Schools, academies, and the Local Authority will not provide any lesson planning, paper-based work, electronic devices such as laptops or support from apps or other virtual means.

The child’s original school setting will not hold their place on roll open. Therefore, if a school is oversubscribed there is a very significant chance that should parents/carers choose to return their child to an education setting, the place in their old school may not be available.

Parents and carers are responsible for all associated costs of Elective Home Education including specialist resources, equipment, tutors, parent groups, part time alternative provision and examination costs.

Parents and carers will be responsible for the sourcing and costs of any specialist assessments.

Support for SEND will not speed up any assessments of Education Health and Care Assessment Requests.

Making the decision

Elective Home Education should always be a positive choice taken following a discussion between parents the school, and the LA about how the needs of the child might best be met. This is particularly important where vulnerable children, children in need, and those at greater risk of harm are involved.

More guidance for parents can be found on GOV.UK – Elective Home Education guidance for parents.