De-registering and Home Educating Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Where a child is a registered pupil at a special school under arrangements made by the LA (excluding those who attend special school placements not funded or arranged by the Local Authority), Local Authority (LA) ‘consent’ is required to delete the child’s name from the register of the school.
This is not permission to home educate as such, it is more of an agreement for the process to follow. This restriction is meant to protect the interests of more vulnerable children by ensuring that their special needs are met.
Parents have the right to electively Home Educate (s7) and do not need permission to Home Educate.…..but will commit an offence for which they can be taken to court if the child’s name remains on the register of a school (or PRU) and absence with leave is not granted (irregular or non-attendance s444).
If the child is a registered pupil at a special school, the parent requires consent from the local authority before the child’s name can be removed from the school roll. Special school deregistration is covered by 8. -(2) of the Pupil Registration Regulations, NOT 8.1. Consent must not be unreasonably withheld. The regulations do not stipulate that the parent must seek consent or permission for home education. Nor do the regulations say that the child must continue to attend the school until Part 4 of the statement or section I of the Education Health and Care Plan (placement) is modified. Home Education in the 2015 SEN Code of Practice link.
If a child with a statement is attending a mainstream school, no permission is required.
Although regulation 8 (1) (d) effectively allows de-registration on demand, it does not apply to children who have been placed by the LA in special schools. Regulation 8(2) provided that in this situation a child cannot be de-registered without the LA’s consent. This restriction is meant to protect the interests of more vulnerable children by ensuring that their special needs are met. But using it to make it harder to home educate such children could be interpreted as discrimination and prejudice. Section 7 of the 1996 Act makes it clear that the right to “otherwise” educate extends to children with special needs.
If you need a sample SEN De-registration letter you can download one here
Even where a child attends a special school, having a statement of special educational needs is still not of itself reason to refuse to de-register that child. Any refusal to deregister from a special school cannot simply be that the child has a statement of special educational needs but must include valid well argued, reasonable, specific reasons. Any refusal to de-register can be challenged in court.
However, you should note that the law (Section 7, Education act 1996) says that you must provide an education appropriate to your child’s special needs.
Therefore, it is a good idea to examine what any SEN statement says so that you can deal with issues it highlights.
You do not need to meet your child’s needs in the way they are stated in part 4 of the statement, a statement of special needs cannot in any way obligate a parent to do anything in particular but the parents will nonetheless need to meet their child’s needs somehow.
For specialist information in this case look at HE Special UK.
3.17 Parents’ right to educate their child at home applies equally where a child has SEN. This right is irrespective of whether the child has a statement of special educational needs or not. Where a child has a statement of SEN and is home educated, it remains the local authority’s duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met.
3.18 Local authorities must have regard to the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice16. Although this document primarily covers special educational needs in the school and early years’ settings, it does give information about SEN in relation to home education (paragraphs 8.91 – 8.96 of the Code). The Code of Practice emphasises the importance of local authorities and other providers working in partnership with parents. The Code of Practice is statutory guidance and schools, local authorities and others to whom it applies must have regard to it. This means that, apart from the references to the law, these bodies do not have to follow the Code to the letter, but they must be able to justify any departure from its guidance. The foreword states that the Code is designed to help these bodies to “make effective decisions, but it does not – and could not – tell them what to do in each individual case”.
3.19 If the parents’ attempt to educate the child at home results in provision that falls short of meeting the child’s needs, then the parents are not making “suitable arrangements”, and the authority could not conclude that they were absolved of their responsibility to arrange the provision in the statement. Parents need only provide an efficient, full-time education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have as defined in Section 7 of the Education Act 1996. It is the authority’s duty to arrange the provision specified in the statement, unless the child’s parent has made suitable provision, for as long as a statement is maintained. In some cases, a combination of provision by parents and LA may best meet the child’s needs. Local authorities should consider, for example, providing access to additional resources or treatments where appropriate.
3.20 Even if the local authority is satisfied that parents are making suitable arrangements, it remains under a duty to maintain the statement and review it annually, following procedures set out in chapter 9 of the SEN Code of Practice. In some circumstances the child’s special educational needs identified in the statement will have been related to the school setting and the child’s needs may readily be met at home by the parents without LA supervision. It may be appropriate, once it is established that a child’s special needs are being met without any additional support from the LA, to consider ceasing to maintain the statement. This may be done at the annual review or at any other time. Where the statement is reviewed it should be made clear to parents that they are welcome to attend, but they are not obliged to do so.
3.21 Where the authority is satisfied that the child’s parents have made suitable arrangements it does not have to name a school in part 4 of the child’s statement. There should be discussion between the authority and the parents and rather than the name of the school, part 4 of the statement should mention the type of school the LA considers appropriate and that “parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996”.
3.22 The statement should also specify any provision that the local authority has agreed to make under section 319 of the Education Act 1996 to help parents to provide suitable education for their child at home. If the child who is to be withdrawn from the school is a pupil at a special school, the school must inform the local authority before the child’s name can be deleted from the school roll and the authority will need to consider whether the elective home education is suitable before amending part 4 of the child’s statement.
3.23 A parent who is educating their child at home may ask the local authority to carry out a statutory assessment or reassessment of their child’s special educational needs and the local authority must consider the request within the same statutory timescales and in the same way as for all other requests. Local authorities should provide information to home educators detailing the process of assessment and both local authorities’ and home educators’ responsibilities with regard to provision should the child be given a statement. The views of the designated medical officer for SEN should be sought by the local authority where a child with a statement is educated at home because of difficulties related to health needs or a disability.
The following is taken from the Elective Home Education Departmental guidance for local authorities: draft for consultation April 2018
- Home-educated children with special educational needs (SEN)
8.1 The parents’ right to educate their child at home applies equally where a child has SEN. This right is irrespective of whether the child has a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC plan), or neither. References here to EHC plans include statements of SEN unless otherwise stated.
8.2 Local authorities must have regard to the statutory guidance in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice when carrying out SEN functions. The Code provides information about SEN in relation to home education (paragraphs 10.30 – 10.38). The Code emphasises the importance of local authorities and other providers working in partnership with parents. They must fulfil their statutory duties towards children and young people with SEN or disabilities in the light of the guidance set out in it.
8.3 Local authorities have a duty under s.22 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to identify all children in their areas that have SEN. This includes home-educated children.
8.4 When a child has an EHC plan, it is the local authority’s duty to ensure that the educational provision specified in the plan is made available to the child – but only if the child’s parents have not arranged for the child to receive a suitable education in some other way. Therefore, if the home education is suitable, the local authority has no duty to arrange any special educational provision for the child; the plan should simply set out the type of special educational provision that the authority thinks the child requires but state in a suitable place that parents have made their own arrangements under s.7 of the Education Act 1996. The authority will of course continue to check the suitability of the home education as required by sections 436A and 437 of the 1996 Act, and if at any point it considers that the home education is no longer suitable, it must ensure that the special educational provision specified in the EHC plan is made available.
8.5 Under s.19 of the Children and Families Act 2014, a local authority must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child and parents when exercising its SEN functions. Where parents feel strongly that their child with SEN (with or without an EHC plan) should be educated at home but cannot undertake this themselves, and the local authority agrees that it would be inappropriate for the child to receive the necessary special educational provision in a school, post-16 institution, or state-funded early years setting, the authority have the power, under s.61 of the 2014 Act, to arrange for the special educational provision that the child requires to be provided in the child’s home. If a local authority does this for a child with an EHC plan, the plan should clearly explain the arrangements, and the authority will have a duty under s.42(2) to ensure that the education specified in the plan is provided. It is important to distinguish between a situation like this, in which a local authority itself arranges special educational provision in a child’s home because it considers education in a school or other institution inappropriate, and a situation in which a child’s parents arrange their own home education as described in the paragraph above. Draft 22
8.6 If a school already attended by a child is a special school and the child is attending it under arrangements made by the local authority, the local authority’s consent12 is necessary for the child’s name to be removed from the admission register, but this should not be a lengthy or complex process and consent must not be withheld unreasonably. If the child is to be withdrawn to be educated at home then the local authority, in deciding whether to give consent, should consider whether the home education to be provided would meet the special educational needs of the child, and if it would, should give consent. The Call for Evidence which is being published alongside this draft guidance asks a question about the future of this provision.
8.7 As with other children educated at home, local authorities do not have a right of entry to the family home to check that the provision being made by the parents is appropriate and may only enter the home at the invitation of the parents. However, parents should be encouraged to see a process of engagement with the child as part of the authority’s overall approach to home education of pupils with SEN, including the provision of appropriate support, rather than an attempt to undermine the parents’ right to home educate. Local authorities should not assume that because the provision being made by parents is different from that which was being made or would have been made in school that the provision is necessarily unsuitable.
8.8 As described in paragraph 8.5 above, local authorities have power under s.61 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to arrange for parents to make the special educational provision that it considers necessary for a child with special educational needs in the form of suitable home education, if the parents’ commitment to home education (or other circumstances) makes it inappropriate for their child to attend school. There is no specific duty to provide additional funding in consequence of this, but the existence of the power means that any request for such assistance must be reasonably considered. 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. However, this relates only to costs incurred by parents as a result of the special needs. Costs which would be incurred anyway by the parents in providing home education even if there were no special needs (for example the cost of heating), should not be funded, in line with the general position that parents who choose to educate children at home bear the financial responsibility for doing so, since a state school place (or state-funded place) is available for the child.
8.9 In some cases a local authority will conclude that, the home education provision that is being made for a child with an EHC plan does not meet the child’s needs. In such cases the procedure to be followed in s.437 of the Education Act 1996 is the same as for other children who are educated at home but are not receiving a suitable education, although the consideration of suitability may well be more complex and need to draw on a wider variety of information, for example educational psychologist reports. Furthermore, the naming of a school in the order must conform with the provisions of s.441. 12 Regulation 8(2) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 Draft 23
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. It is up to the child’s parent whether to arrange for the child to be registered as a pupil at the school.
8.11 Information about the right to request an EHC needs assessment and the right to appeal should be available to all parents including those who are considering home education because they feel that the special educational support being provided in the school is insufficient to meet the child’s needs.
8.12 Young people may also be educated at home in order to meet the requirements to participate in education or training until the age of 18. Local authorities should involve parents, as appropriate, in the reviews of EHC plans of home educated young people who are over compulsory school age.
Pupil Referral Unit
A Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) is not a special school (despite what some LA’s might tell you. s19(2) of the Education Act 1996 states:
“any school … maintained by an LA which (a) is specially organized to provide education for [children of csa who by reason of illness or exclusion from school or other similar reason] and (b) is NOT a county school or A SPECIAL SCHOOL, shall be known as a “PRU”
Therefore, a PRU cannot be a special school as the 1996 act gives them exclusive definitions and therefore you do not require consent to deregister your child from a PRU. However, sometimes attendance at a PRU is the result of a Statutory Attendance Order (SAO) which must be considered when deregistering.
Home Education as mentioned in 2015 SEN Code of Practice
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 special educational needs 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. Local authorities do not have a duty under section 22 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to assess every home educated child to see whether or not they have SEN. 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. Local authorities should fund the SEN needs of home educated children where it is appropriate to do so. Guidance is available to local authorities from the Department for Education on funding provision for home educated children.
10.31 In cases where local authorities and parents agree that home education is the right provision for a child or young person with an EHC plan, the plan should make clear that the child or young person will be educated at home. If it does then the local authority, under Section 42(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014, must arrange the special educational provision set out in the plan, working with the parents. Under Section 19 of the Act, a local authority must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parents, or the young person.
10.32 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 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. The local authority must review the plan annually to assure itself that the provision set out in it continues to be appropriate and that the child’s SEN continue to be met (see Chapter 9). Where the local authority has decided that the provision is appropriate, it should amend the plan to name the type of school that would be suitable but state that parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.
10.33 Where a child or young person is a registered pupil and the parent decides to home educate, the parent must notify the school in writing that the child or young person is receiving education otherwise than at school and the school must then remove the pupil’s name from the admission register. If the school is a special school, the local authority must give consent for the child’s name to be removed, but this should not be a lengthy or complex process. There is no provision in law for a ‘trial period’ of home education.
10.34 Local authorities do not have the right of entry to the family home to check that the provision being made by the parents is appropriate and may only enter the home at the invitation of the parents. Parents should be encouraged to see this process as part of the authority’s overall approach to home education of pupils with SEN, including the provision of appropriate support, rather than an attempt to undermine the parents’ right to home educate.
10.35 Local authorities should not assume that because the provision being made by parents is different from that which was being made or would have been made in school that the provision is necessarily unsuitable. Local authorities should also consider using their power to help parents make suitable provision.
10.36 In some cases a local authority will conclude that, even after considering its power to provide support to home educating parents, the provision that is or could be made for a child or young person with an EHC plan does not meet the child or young person’s needs. The local authority is required to intervene through the school attendance order framework ‘if it appears…that a child of compulsory school age is not receiving suitable education’. The serving of a school attendance order is a last resort if all attempts to improve provision are unsuccessful. ‘Suitable education’ means efficient full-time education suitable to the child or young person’s age, ability and aptitude and to any SEN he or she may have.
10.37 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. Information about the right to request an EHC assessment and the right to appeal should be available to all parents including those who are considering home education because they feel that the special educational support being provided in the school is insufficient to meet the child or young person’s needs.
10.38 Young people may also be educated at home in order to meet the requirement to participate in education and training until the age of 18. Local authorities should involve parents, as appropriate, in the reviews of EHC plans of home-educated young people who are over compulsory school age.
Information about Annual Reviews of EHCPs can be found in Chapter 9 of the 2015 SEND Code of Practice Parents and children/young people must be invited to the review but are not obliged to attend.