FAQ home education and special needs http://www.ehe-sen.org.uk/
Special Needs Green Paper 2011 SUPERSEDED
Statements of Special Needs to be Replaced by Single "Education, Health and Care Plans"
Click here for more information on changes to the SEN system announced by Minister Sarah Teather in May 2012, including the single education, health and care plan and Personal Budgets.
One of the key points in the SEN Green Paper is the proposed abolition of SEN statements, to be replaced by the Single Assessment across education, health and social care. In the short term, the statement process is to be reduced by 6 weeks from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. One of the reasons for a Single Assessment is to reduce what the Government calls "over-identification of special needs" but the new definition has not yet been published. ‘School Action' and ‘School Action Plus' are to be scrapped altogether. In future, statements of SEN will be replaced by a new category for ‘children whose needs exceed what is normally available in school'. Questions have been raised over how the new system could work for children with dyslexia, Aspergers Syndrome, Downs Syndrome and Visual Impairment and Hearing Impairment who may not meet the revised Single Assessment criteria.
Changes to Health System and State Benefits System also have an Impact on Children with Special Needs and DisabilitiesThe Council for Disabled Children points out that the Green Paper is being discussed at a time when policy developments in other Government departments such as Health, Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government could potentially undermine its core intentions. For example, the Government is proposing to cut the rate of Disability Living Allowance
Pathfinder Areas and Personal Budgets
At the time of writing in June 2012, Pathfinder Areas are beginning to test elements of the new proposals, so in some local authorities the situation may start to change very soon. Optional personal budgets will be introduced to allow parents to make direct payments for services where children meet the revised Single Assessment criteria. The National Autistic Society believes that "bureaucracy can be reduced to enable professionals to spend more time with families, but rights and key guidance should not be diminished. To help professionals and parents navigate the system, there must be a strong Code of Practice which sets out clearly what schools and local authorities should do to support children with SEN and how they can be held accountable."
Read more about the Pathfinders here http://edyourself.org/articles/sengpfoi.php
What Can Be Taken to Tribunal and Will Mediation be Compulsory?Education departments will have to work with health services. IPSEA has made the point that "to be effective the existing legal right that children have to receive the special educational provision specified in their Statement must be extended also to cover both the health and social care provisions" and adds that "the Tribunal should, in future, be able to make orders across all three areas of provision: education, health and social care." IPSEA is also critical of the Government's proposal that there should be compulsory mediation before a case is taken to tribunal [See question 16] and the National Autistic Society has commented that "mediation can be effective, but it must not lengthen the time parents have to wait to go to Tribunal in cases when mediation doesn’t work." NB It had been suggested that legal aid would not be available for SEN Tribunals but this proposal has recently been withdrawn.
Home Education in the Green PaperThe Green Paper specifically mentions home education in paragraph 2.54:
"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."
What Currently Happens to Home Educated Children with a Statement of Special NeedsWhere a child has a statement of SEN, the local authority has a duty to review the statement annually to establish whether the child's needs are being met and whether the statement should remain in force. The family does not have to make the provisions specified in the statement. In some cases, the home educating family will be able to make the case that the statement is irrelevant and should cease to remain in place but it is up to the local authority to make the final decision. Many home educating parents say that there is no benefit to having a statement when a child is home educated. Firstly, the statement does not usually bring any support or access to services. Additionally, in the worst local authorities, the parent will regularly be summoned to give evidence and may live under the continual threat of a School Attendance Order. In other cases social services are routinely brought in where the child has a statement of SEN and the family is obliged to deal with social care professionals who have no experience of home education.
Law on Home Education and Special Educational Needs
Funding for Home Educated Children with Special Needs
Information about Local Authorities Claiming Funding for Home Educated Children
LinksThe Legal Position Regarding Home Educated Children with Special Educational Needs
Funding for Home Educated Children with Special Needs
4 page Green Paper Consultation Guide from the National Autistic Society:
IPSEA's Guide to the Green Paper Consultation (12 pages):
Useful Summary of Responses from Northants Parents Group ():
Community Care: Green Paper Would Require Radical Changes to the Law:
Transition Information Network: Useful Links for the Consultation
SENCO Update: Green Paper at at Glance Teaching Times Briefing on Timescales for SEN Green Paper Proposals SEN Legal Response to the SEN Green Paper
Council for Disabled Children SEN Green Paper consultation response The Green Paper (120 pages)
DfE Green Paper Executive Summary (8 pages) Association Directors Children's Services July 2011: Councils Lack Funding for SEN and Disabilities