A Message From Fiona Nicholson at EdYourself September 9th 2011
NB if your email system distorts this message you can read this email as a web page.
I am emailing this September update to everyone who responded to my survey on local authorities paying for college places and SEN Support where children are home educated. It is also being sent out to home educators and local authority representatives who have asked to be put on the mailing list for updates.
Using Alternative Provision Funding for Home Educated ChildrenThe survey on home education funding published in May 2011 found that while a quarter of local authorities used Alternative Provision funding for college places or SEN support where children were home educated, a substantial number of LAs interpreted the badly-drafted Government Guidance as saying that they were not allowed to claim for children in elective home education.
Alternative Provision Funding for College Places 14-16sI am very pleased to report that the Department for Education has provided answers to several questions which were raised by the Funding Report. Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb said recently in parliament:"The guidance for the alternative provision census is currently being reviewed. We will clarify the section on home education to make it clear that local authorities can include home-educated children where the authority is paying for their education in a further education college or elsewhere, and so receive funding for these children through the dedicated schools grant."
Alternative Provision Funding for SEN SupportIn addition, the Department for Education has recently answered some questions about paying for SEN support when children are home educated as follows: "Local authorities have the discretion to provide support for home educated children with SEN (whilst the child is of statutory school age). It is for the local authority to decide what provision it wishes to offer, and I can confirm that this can include such things as paying for additional learning support for the child, or the fees to enable a young person to attend college. They can exercise this discretion for any child with SEN, whether or not the child has a statement. Where the local authority is satisfied that the support being provided contributes to the overall education of the child and provides value for money, they can record the child on the Alternative Provision Census. By recording the child on the Census, the local authority is claiming a unit of funding from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). This is a standard amount of funding for the local authority based on each child entered on the Census, rather than being a claim on the actual cost of the support being provided for an individual child."
Schools Minister Nick Gibb expected to attend Meeting about Home Education Support, House of Commons September 6thSadly the Schools Minister was unable to attend the Open Meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education on Tuesday September 6th which focused on local authority support for home education and access to exams and further education. However, Lisa Thom from the Department for Education stayed at the meeting for several hours and took back many points and questions from those present at the meeting. We learned that the revised Alternative Provision Guidance will be published by the beginning of October. I gave an introduction to local authority support and outlined the challenges faced by home educators taking exams outside the school system. Nick Duggan, Commissioning Director at Sheffield Council, gave a presentation on the Sheffield pilot launching this month which makes use of Alternative Provision Funding for home educated under 16s to attend college. Invitations were sent to all MPs and a limited number of places were also available to the public. For more information about the meeting, see the link to Feedback below.
News Items of Interest to Home Education Professionals
The last update was sent out in June and featured the SEN Green Paper and the Flexischooling Conference hosted by CfBT. I also flagged up a couple of news items from local authorities including Surrey County Council's current consultation on its new draft home education policy and Sheffield City Council's pilot for improving home educated 14-16s access to Further Education.
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