How do authorities support children with EHCPs when parents have decided to electively home educate?
A head of service replies:
If the home educated child has an EHCP then you should act as per the requirements of the EHCP (especially section F), eg if the EHCP requires you to provide service and support following the NatSIP Eligibility Framework eg fortnightly visit, then that’s what you should do, same for equipment… follow as specified in the EHCP. As ever clear wording in the EHCP is helpful.
It gets more interesting if the home educated child does not have an EHCP. As far as I know you should support all under-fives in the normal way. For five year olds and above I used to think we did not need to provide service… we have a changed our view as a result of a recent parental request for service for a home educated child. The parent sent us various references to recent government/DfE docs and it’s clear that we ‘should’ provide the child with support in the same way as if they are at school. This is legal use of the word ‘should’… if you do not provide service when all the government docs all say you ‘should’ then you would have to provide a reason as to why you didn’t. …..and so we have decided to continue to provide support.
… this is an edited version what the parent sent to me:
- Home education is of equal status in law to school education (Education Act 1996, Section 7)
- According to the SEND code of practice section 10.30, ‘ Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 parents have the right to educate children, including children with SEN, at home. Home education must be suitable to the child’s age, ability, aptitude and SEN. Local authorities should work in partnership with, and support, parents to ensure that the SEN of these children are met where the local authority already knows the children have SEN or the parents have drawn the children’s special needs to the authority’s attention.’
- The elective home education guidance for local authorities, published by the government in April 2019, states: ‘ The high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant is intended to fund provision for all relevant children and young people in the authority’s area, including home-educated children.’
- Home educated children with EHCPs in our borough can access specialist services if these are specified in the EHCP. However, home educated children without an EHCP should still be provided with support as needed. The SEND code of practice section 10.37 says ‘Parents may also home educate children who have SEN but do not have EHC plans. As with children and young people with EHC plans, local authorities should work with parents and consider whether to provide support in the home to help the parents make suitable provision.’
- The revised funding guidance for local authorities on home educated children states ‘Local authorities’ responsibilities in respect of high needs extend to all pupils who are ordinarily resident in their area, including those who are home educated…. Children with SEN but without statements may also be educated at home. In these circumstances local authorities should consider whether they require support from the public purse. This provision can also be made under section 319 or section 19 of the Education Act 1996.’
Please note: If your service is not directly part of your LA, and provides support through a service level agreement, then the above applies as requirements on the Local Authority. Your service should continue to support children and young people with SI as agreed in the SLA. If elective home education is included in the SLA then you should provide service as agreed. If it is not in the SLA then support for elective home education is not your responsibility.