Elective Home Education Funding Report May 2011
Funding FOI June 2012 http://edyourself.org/articles/fundingreport2012.php
2011 Funding Report SummaryA survey of 143 local authorities in England revealed that in the academic year 2010-11, only 34 authorities claimed funding for special educational needs support or college places for under-16s where children were educated at home by parental choice. Large authorities were more likely to claim funding.
- Under 50 home educated children: 9% LAs claimed funding
- 51 to 100 home educated children: 20% LAs claimed funding
- 101 to 250 home educated children: 30% LAs claimed funding
- 251 to 500 home educated children: 53% LAs claimed funding
- Over 500 home educated children: 50% LAs claimed funding
19th January 2012 Deadline for Claiming FundingSee FAQ and Guidance.
Main Points from New Guidance and FAQ 2011-12
There are several categories where the LA may claim AP funding on behalf of a home educated child, namely where the LA pays for FE courses or where the LA pays for SEN support. See FAQ and Guidance. Where young people are undertaking a Further Education course funded by the LA, there is no minimum age for the student.
The FE course can be online (provided the total that the LA is paying amounts to substantial financial support)or in a neighbouring borough, or via another alternative provider in the area. "Courses" can include full-time courses, part-time courses, vocational programmes and GCSEs offered at evening classes as part of a Further Education programme. AP funding can also be used for a package of costs incurred in supporting a home educated young person to take examinations, as long as the total cost amounts to substantial financial support which justifies entry of the young person on the AP form.
SEN Support from the FAQWhere a young person has special needs and the LA is making a significant financial contribution to support costs, this money can be reclaimed via the Alternative Provision Census. It is not necessary for the child to have a statement of SEN. Read more here
Pupil Premium from the FAQWhere the child entered on the AP Census Form lives in a household which meets the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals, the Pupil Premium may be claimed, on condition that the LA or alternative provider has confirmed the necessary documentation. Read more here.
September 2011 Home Education APPG, House of CommonsIn September the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education held a meeting on Local Authority support + access to Further Education and exams chaired by MP Graham Stuart. Lisa Thom from the Department for Education spent several hours listening to a diverse range of views from from local authority representatives and home educating parents. The meeting agreed that future guidance on funding needed to be much clearer. An annotated list of points raised at the meeting can be found here.
November 2011 New Guidance and FAQThe issues were addressed in FAQ and Guidance. It is expected that many more local authorities will now use this funding for home educated children.
Extra Money Which Would Not Otherwise Be AvailableThis is extra money which would not otherwise be available to the Council; in other words it is not taken from the pot of money which is already committed for central services or for children educated outside the school system. Normally, when children are home educatedthe unit of funding is retained by central Government and not passed to the Council.
Introduction to Home Education FundingIt has always been the Government's position that there is no financial support for home educated children. Essentially this position has not changed. However, at the end of 2009 the Government stated that local authorities were able to claim for home educated children via the Alternative Provision Census where the authority was paying for special needs support or a place at college.
Home Education Funding Survey 2011The 2011 Funding Survey obtained answers from 143 out of 152 authorities. Some local authorities were prepared to claim funding; others preferred not to get involved with the paperwork or reported that they had never been asked for funding. Around a quarter of local authorities were adamant that home educated children were not eligible for any funding.
What Local Authorities Say About Funding For Home EducationClick here to read what local authorities said.
Wolf Report 2011 Implications for Home Ed 14-16 CollegeThe Wolf Report says that colleges must offer students a full 14-16 programme. Professor Wolf says the Government should make explicit the legal right of colleges to enrol students under 16 and should ensure that funding makes this possible. The Government confirmed that colleges should open up to 14-16s and should always offer Maths and English GCSEs. Read more here
Why Home Educators Might Choose CollegeClick here to read why home educators might choose college.
Regional Variations in Claiming Home Education FundingHome educated children in the West Midlands and the North West are 4 times more likely to be funded for special needs support or college places than children in the North and South East. Click here for more information about regional variations
Larger Local Authorities Claim More FundingLarger Local Authorities Are Five Times More Likely To Claim Funding and 2/3 of LAs in England have fewer than 100 home educated children. Click here for more details.
Home Educators Receive No Help With ExamsIn December 2010 the Government decided against giving home educators 10% of the individual school pupil allocation to assist with the cost of taking exams. The proposal to fund exams was first put forwards at the end of 2009.
14-16s: Who Can Get a Place Funded at College?Click here to read about the three main ways for young people to be funded at college. It is not necessary for young people to be placed artificially on the roll of a school or "PRU, since the local authority can legitimately reclaim funding for home educated young people under the category "Not a School."
Special Educational Needs FundingMany parents of children with SEN have said that they felt they had no choice but to home educate because of problems in schools. In the recent SEN Green Paper published March 2011 the Government said "We expect that when local authorities are considering whether parents are making suitable provision that they also consider whether to use their power under the Education Act 1996 to make special educational provision out of school to help the parents make their provision suitable for their child’s SEN." Read more about home education and SEN support here Click here for SEN funding answers.
Law On Home Education
Parents have a duty to cause children to receive education suitable to age, ability, aptitude and special educational needs. Children with a statement of special needs can legally be educated at home. The Government has no legal power to direct how the child is educated, though the local authority has a duty to act if it appears that the child is not receiving education.
What Happens When Children Are Out Of School SystemApproximately 20,000 home educated children are known to be home educated in England. The Government pays around £4,000 per child to the school every year for each registered pupil via the Dedicated Schools Grant Guaranteed Unit of Funding (DSG/GUF) Where children are in elective home education central Government retains the money which would otherwise have been paid to a school. In other words, the money does not follow the child. Parents who home educate their children pay for all educational resources themselves and local authorities receive no funding for home education services.
What Do Home Educators Say About SupportThe National Foundation for Educational Research Study on Home Education Support found that home educators tended to obtain support from national and local home education support groups; family and friends; the wider home education community; the library and the internet rather than from the local council.
School Is Not Compulsory
The law begins by making a simple distinction between education "by regular attendance at school" and "otherwise". "Otherwise" includes children whose education is arranged outside the school environment by the local council and children whose education is arranged outside school by their parents. The local authority has a duty to provide Education Otherwise Than At School or EOTAS for children who are unable to attend school but there is no obligation to offer anything to children whose parents have removed them from school.
Local authorities have an obligation to provide sufficient school places but the authority has no legal responsibility to assist a family when a school place has been declined because the "right to education" is phrased negatively. (More here about the limitations of a "right to education" http://edyourself.org/articles/childsrighteducation.php)
Children Home Educated As Result Of BullyingBullying is often cited as the reason why children are home educated. Where children are bullied, parents may ultimately feel that they have no choice but to home educate. Because parents have taken the initiative and asked for the child's name to be removed from the school roll, this will be categorised as "education at home by parental choice." Read more here
Local Authority StructureSome authorities are single towns or cities, other authorities cover an entire county. To an extent the structure of the local authority does make a difference as to whether or not the LA claims funding. Unitary Authorities, which are typically single towns or cities within a larger rural "shire" county, rarely claim funding. Most councils are Unitary Authorities. Read more here
Historical Position on Funding
Over the years, when home educating parents have been to see their MP to ask for help with special needs support or with taking exams, the official line from the Government has been that home education is not funded. Most local schools and local authorities inform parents that they will receive no further support once they take children out of school.
Baroness Morgan: Family opts out of receiving funding
MP Graham Stuart: Funding rules are contradictory
Schools Minister Nick Gibb to Annette Brooke MP 2010
Schools Minister Jim Knight to Mark Oaten MP 2006
Education Secretary David Milliband 2004
John Randall MP 2003
This basic position has not changed. Individual families receive no financial support once children are home educated. Schools have no duties towards children who are not registered pupils as can be seen from the fact that very few schools will allow home educated children to go into the school to take exams, even where families offer to pay.
Policy Change From 2009
In October 2009 the Government made the surprising announcement that local authorities could claim for home educated children via the Alternative Provision Return, but the official guidance continued to state explicitly that home educated children could not be entered on the funding census.
Department for Education Announcement June 2010Funding may be available where a local authority provides significant financial support for a home educated young person in two specific circumstances. These are, first, where the young person has SEN and secondly where the young person attends further education college to take GCSEs or other courses. Where significant financial support is being provided, the LA can claim funding from the Department through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG)
Of course, this made no difference to funding for the academic year 2009-10 since no-one knew whether it would also apply in the future. With news of further cuts in every department at every level, local council employees would be unlikely to gamble on paying for home educated children in the hope that they would be able to reclaim the money later. However, the June 2010 position was also reiterated in the Government Guidance published later in the year.