Table of Contents
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. Funding Guidance was clarified after a meeting in the House of Commons between home educators, local authorities and the Department for Education. DfE published Frequently Asked Questions on home education funding in November 2011. Councils wishing to claim funding for the academic year 2011-12 need to have entered into an arrangement to pay for Further Education Courses, SEN support, or a package of exam support costs by January 19th 2011. The child's details can then be entered on the Alternative Provision Census in the category Not A School and the Council will receive a unit of DSG funding worth around £4,000.
2011: What Local Authorities Say*We did not make a claim for funding in the Alternative Provision Census for the young people on the Elective Home Education Register. We made enquiries with the DfE but were advised that our elective home educators fell outside the remit of alternative provision.
**Our research indicates that two local authorities provided funding for college courses and both required registration at a Pupil Referral Unit.
***We have 1 home educated child who will be included on the AP census who is being funded for a part-time course at a FE College.
****The council has not previously claimed funding for college places or special needs support for home educated children through the Alternative Provision Census but we are currently looking at this in more detail for future years.
*****It is looking likely that we will be making a claim for financial support for Traveller children and for those vulnerable groups 14-16 who need support to either enter college or for alternative non-mainstream college education.
******We are not currently seeking funding as we are awaiting guidance from the DfE in respect of the Badman recommendations.[March 2011]
- Colleges may be far better suited to part-time attendance in order for home educated children to attend a stand-alone course in preparation for taking a particular exam.
- A young person may wish to access a vocational course which is currently only available to young people at risk of exclusion.
- The government's response to the Wolf Report (May 12th 2011)requires colleges to admit more 14-16s and to offer English and maths GCSEs
- Additional learning needs support might be available in college which could otherwise be extremely difficult or expensive to arrange as a private candidate outside the system.
- It can be very difficult for home educated children to take exams as private candidates and attending college between the ages of 14 and 16 may be the only way for some young people to achieve GCSEs.
- There may not be a local exam centre which will accept private candidates.
- GCSE controlled assessments require many hours of teacher's supervision over an extended period of time.
West Midlands And North West Most Likely To Claim Funding
The bar chart on the left shows the percentage of local authorities in each region who are claiming funding.
Home 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.
1 in 10 LAs in the North East and South East are claiming funding
Greater London, East Midlands, Yorkshire/Humberside, the South West and Eastern England all have between 20% and 30% of LAs claiming funding
4 in 10 LAs are claiming in the West Midlands and in the North West.
Larger Local Authorities Are Five Times More Likely To Claim Funding
63% of LAs in England have fewer than a hundred home educated children.
19% of LAs have between 100 and 250 home educated children.
8% of LAs have 251 to 500 home educated children.
4% of LAs have over 500 home educated children.
To find out how many home educated children are known in any particular local authority, simply put the name of the authority + number of home educated children into an internet search engine. Alternatively, all council websites have details on how to make a request for information.
The job of overseeing home education may be a full-time or part-time post or may simply be passed to someone who is already working in Education Welfare, Alternative Provision, Special Needs or Traveller Education Services. In some areas the job of overseeing home education may be carried out on a contract basis by a retired teacher who will be paid for each assessment or inspection.
Local authority employees or contractors who oversee home education do not generally have support as part of their job description. Redbridge council states that “the role of the Elective Home Education Support Officer is to advise the Head of Admissions and Awards that children who are educated at home are receiving an education that meets the statutory requirements.”
Local authority Home Education Officers may respond to requests for help from home educating families but this is not regarded by council employers as a core element of the job. The officer is primarily required to file reports on individual children's education at home. Following the general election in 2010, an increasing number of local authorities are in talks about sharing services to reduce costs. This could have an impact on the future administration of home education services.
- 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
Government Ruled Out 10% Funding for Exams
In 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.
"Proposals for the funding of elective home educated pupils will not be introduced in 2011-12."
Executive Summary of Government response to Pupil Premium consultation
Department for Education Web Page on the Dedicated Schools Grant December 2010
14-16s: Who Can Get A Place Funded At College?
The three main ways for young people to be funded at college are 1/ if the young person is on the roll of a school, where the school money can be transferred pro rata to the college or 2/ where the young person is NOT on the roll of a school, where the local authority has a responsibility to pay for some educational provision. A third possibility is where a young person is on the roll of a Pupil Referral Unit where the "PRU funding can be used to pay for a college place, as may be seen from one of the comments below in What Local Authorities Say. We are aware that all three of these mechanisms [ie placing child on school roll in order to transfer funding to college/ using Alternative Provision Funding/ placing the child on the roll of the "PRU in order to transfer the PRU funding to college] have been used to fund places for home educated 14-16s. We would like to stress that 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."
At present, the typical college offer for 14-16s consists of vocational courses at college one day a week. These young people will be on the roll of a school and the school will pay for the day at college. In addition, young people who are excluded or at risk of exclusion can be funded to attend college full-time. In these cases, the school funding may be transferred if the young person is still on the school roll. If the young person is NOT on a school roll, the local authority will pay the college fees. Young people who have been bullied at school and who are described as "school phobic" may also be funded to attend college part-time or full-time. Once again, if the young person remains on a school roll, the school funding can be transferred to the college. Where young people move to a new area during Key Stage 4 and a school place is not available, the local authority has a responsibility and may pay for a college place if no other suitable arrangements can be made.
Home educating families who approach FE colleges with a view to 14-16s taking GCSEs may find that the college does not currently offer GCSE courses as part of the standard daytime college programme. However, this looks set to change with the publication of the Wolf Report
More information about the current situation for 14-16s at college may be found on local FE college websites, which tend to emphasise the one-day a week vocational offer for 14-16s, although some colleges will also give information about full-time places. As Tameside College 14-16s explains: "Full-time attendance at the College for school aged young people is currently £3000 per annum. Additional fees may be charged for students with significant learning support needs. Funding is provided by the school (if a pupil is still on roll) or the Local Education Authority (LEA). Parents and carers who would like a young person to attend the College on a full-time basis must have funding agreed by the School or LEA." South Staffordshire College 14-16s says: "If you're aged between 14 and 16 and cannot continue in full-time education for some reason (for example you may have moved to a different area at a difficult time, be experiencing bullying, are struggling at school, are school-phobic, or have a medical problem) our alternative provision projects may offer a solution. You cannot apply directly to us – you will first need to talk to your school and an Education Welfare Officer from the local education authority."
Ofsted's Home Education Survey found that children with special needs or physical disabilities who are educated at home are often denied access to support services and equipment. The 2011 Home Education Funding Survey has also revealed that four out of five local authorities do not make services and support available to home educated children with special needs.
Children in school who are identified as having special educational needs may be provided with extra help in schools or with therapies such as speech and language therapy or physiotherapy. In addition schoolchildren who have a physical disability may be provided with extra equipment such as wheelchairs or braille readers/video magnifiers for visual impairment. School pupils taking exams may have access to the services of an educational psychologist who can make the appropriate assessment for extra time/scribe/typing instead of writing by hand and so on.
The Department for Education website currently states that "funding may be available where an LA provides significant financial support for a home-educated young person where the young person has SEN" http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/parents/involvement/homeeducation/a0073322/funding-current-position
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." Local authorities who fund special needs support or college places for the academic year 2011-12 will be able to reclaim the money in March 2012 via the Alternative Provision Census.
“Once parents chose to educate their child at home, various forms of support were reduced or stopped. The only consistent contact that families had with the local authority was the annual review of the statement of special educational needs. In one authority, for example, a parent said that the authority had agreed to provide speech therapy for her child, but this did not happen in practice; there was a shortage of speech therapists and the authority’s priority was the children who attended school. In another instance, in an initial exploration with the authority about educating her child at home, a parent was told that she would not be able to access any services such as physiotherapy. It was, she said: ‘either school and services or home education and nothing’. One authority had 29 home-educated pupils with a statement of special educational needs, of whom 16 were identified as being on the autistic spectrum. No child had additional resources allocated by the statement and the parents had to manage as best they could within the limitations of their personal finances and ability to find and commission support.” Ofsted Report on Home Education 2010
Many parents of children with SEN have said that they felt they had no choice but to home educate because of problems in schools. A small-scale study of families home educating a child with special needs found that over two-thirds identified 'push' factors away from the school as their main reasons for educating their children at home, such as bad experiences with formal provision and the perceived failure of schools to meet their child's needs adequately. Home Education Children Special Needs: Birmingham University study 2009
Special Needs Green Paper March 2011
"Many parents, and particularly the parents of children with SEN, turn to home education because they feel that the school system has failed to meet their child’s needs. Where home educated children have a statement, local authorities have a duty to ensure that the child’s SEN are being met and the local authorities have to review the children’s statements annually. In some cases, parents on their own may not be able to make suitable provision for their children but could do so with some support from the local authority. 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. We also expect local authorities to consider whether home educated children who had been in receipt of support at School Action Plus at school should continue to receive that support through local authorities using their power under the 1996 Act to make provision out of school." Paragraph 2.54SEN Green Paper March 2011
Department for Education explanation of SEN statement
Disabled Children's Legal Handbook, free download
Bullying 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.” As a consequence, parents in these cases may feel extremely let down by the system and believe it is very unfair that their children receive no support once they are out of the school system. A recent survey indicated that bullying was an issue for half of all children in school. 38% of disabled young people worried about bullying and disabled children were much more likely to have suffered recent bullying. TellUs4 Report 2010
60% of parents of children with Aspergers said their children had been bullied at school. National Autistic Society: B is for Bullied found that many children with Aspergers syndrome were excluded from school after reacting violently to bullying or to being teased. During the build-up to exclusion, some families will be encouraged to take their child out of school. Alternatively the families themselves may consider that they have no option but to home educate. A study of Elective Home Education/Traveller families in Hampshire 2009 also found that school bullying was the main reason Traveller families gave for home education.
Does The Local Authority Structure Make A Difference?
Some 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. By contrast, home educated children in the "shire" counties are much more likely to be funded for special needs or college places. However, another way of looking at the same statistic is that there will also be "shire" counties where the home education officer does not agree with funding or the council refuses to consider the issue and this will have an impact on a large number of families.*** If viewing in browser, click on image to enlarge***
Most councils are Unitary Authorities. Unitary Authorities - in common with most other types of local authority - tend to have fewer than 100 home educated children. Authorities with fewer home educated children are less likely to claim funding. However, Unitary Authorities claim less funding for special needs support or college places than other local authorities with similar numbers of home educated children.
The largest councils are Non Metropolitan "shire" counties. ALL the shire counties have more than 100 home educated children and a handful of shire counties have over 500 home educated children. Over 40% of shire counties claimed funding for home educated children, which probably reflects the fact that the larger authorities are more likely to claim funding.As can be seen from the diagrams below, some types of local authority have bars on the left hand side of the bar chart, showing a small number of home educated children ie in tens rather than hundreds, whereas other types of local authority only have bars on the right hand side of the bar chart, indicating a much larger cohort of home educated children.
The most common LA structure is the Unitary Authority which is to be found in over a third of local authorities.
A typical Unitary Authority tends to be a large city or town within a more rural county which has its own separate council, as is the case with Derby and Derbyshire.
2 out of 3 Unitary Authorities have fewer than 100 home educated children.
Only 12% of Unitary Authorities claimed funding for home educated children.
A quarter of LAs are Metropolitan District or Metropolitan Borough Councils.
These are found in larger regional areas of the North of England including Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Tyne and Wear with a further 7 in the West Midlands region.
3 out of 4 Metropolitan Districts have fewer than 100 home educated children.
31% of Metropolitan Districts claimed funding for home educated children. Metropolitan Districts are notable for having a relatively small EHE cohort but being more likely to claim funding than other local authorities with a similar size EHE population.
A fifth of LAs are London Boroughs.
The combined area of all 32 LBs put together would fit into a quarter of North Yorkshire.
9 out of 10 LBs have fewer than 100 home educated children.
20% of London Boroughs claimed funding for home educated children.
Non-Metropolitan Shire Counties
One in six LAs are Non-Metropolitan "shire" Counties. These are the larger councils.
All the "shire" Counties have more than 100 home educated children.
60% of "shire" Counties have between 250 and 500 home educated children and 20% have more than 500.
All the LAs with more than 500 home educated children are "shire" Counties
44% of Non-Metropolitan "shire" Counties claimed funding for home educated children. These larger "shire" Counties are the most likely to claim funding.