Oliver Heald – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Oliver Heald on 2015-11-04.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether home educators are permitted under her Department’s guidance to receive help from education authorities (a) through the SEN budget and (b) for looked after children, through the pupil premium; and what financial help is available to guardians who wish to home educate children with SEN.

Edward Timpson

Local authorities can use the high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant to fund provision for home-educated children, where it is appropriate to do so. Guidance is available from the Department of Education on funding provision for home-educated children.

As set out in the ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice’[1], where local authorities and parents agree that home education is the right provision for a child or young person with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, then the local authority must arrange the special educational provision set out in the plan.

In cases where the EHC plan gives the name of a school or type of school where the child will be educated and the parents decide to educate him or her at home, the local authority is not under a duty to make the special educational provision set out in the plan, provided it is satisfied that the arrangements made by the parents are suitable.

Where parents choose to home educate children who have special educational needs but do not have 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 presumption is that looked-after children should access full-time learning in an education setting that best meets their needs. In the exceptional circumstances where a decision is made to home educate a looked-after child it would be for a local authority’s Virtual School Head, who is responsible for promoting the educational achievement of looked-after children, to decide how pupil premium funding should be used to support the young person.

Where a child’s carer has a special guardianship order, that person would have full parental rights over the child and would therefore be entitled to whatever home education support the local authority would normally provide to a parent, as described above.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elective-home-education.