Table of Contents
Letter to local authorities here http://edyourself.org/14-16collegeletter1.pdf
Letter to FE colleges here http://edyourself.org/14-16collegeletter2.pdf
More details are expected by the end of April but meanwhile please direct further questions to 14-16inFE.EFA@education.gsi.gov.uk or to regional EFA contacts, details here http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/executiveagencies/efa/b00199952/educationfundingagency/contacts
Scroll down or click here for more explanation.
All Party Group Home Education Meeting 19th March: Access to FE College 14-16s
The APPG looked at under-16s applying directly to college. Speakers: Matthew Coffey, Learning and Skills Ofsted, Helen Eaton, Assistant Principal Myerscough College Lancashire, Tony Medhurst, AoC, Principal Harrow College, 14-16s Colleges Implementation Group, Ajay Sethi, 14-19 Strategy Manager Lancashire County Council, Malcolm Trobe, Education Funding Agency, ASCL. Chaired by Lord Lucas. DfE was on hand to answer questions and was surprised to learn that most people believed there was no funding for 14-16s unless the learner went on day release from a school (with delegated schools funding) or the college formally joined the new Government initiative and became a fully-fledged 14-16s Centre. This is a matter of particular concern to home educators as it seems most colleges will not be taking up the full 14-16s scheme until September 2014 at the earliest. Andrew Wye from DfE Funding Unit was quite clear that where individual 14-16s begin a college course in September 2013 (part-time or full-time, and whether the course was "continuing" or starting from scratch) the college would be able to claim the course fees directly from the Government, irrespective of whether the college signs up to the whole new 14-16s direct admission scheme this year or not.
POSTSCRIPT TO MARCH 2013 APPG At the time of writing in April 2013 DfE is still working on full clarification over what is termed "infill to the college's post-16 provision" but the good news is that interim letters were sent out by the Education Funding Agency on April 19th telling colleges that courses WOULD be funded outside the 14-16 programme. The letters can be read here http://edyourself.org/14-16collegeletter1.pdf and here http://edyourself.org/14-16collegeletter2.pdf
Background to 14-16s College Access APPG
http://edyourself.org/articles/WolfReport.php#14-16scollege and http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/youngpeople/qandlearning/a00218365/14-16-enrolment-in-colleges-faqs updated March 12th 2013
The All Party Group for Home Education decided to look in more depth at flexible access to provision for 14-16s because many families were initially encouraged by the Minister's announcement at the Education Committee last Autumn that "from September 2013 further education colleges will be able to admit 14 to 15 year olds on their own sayso rather than via local authorities." The Minister added "that will make life easier, I think, for home educators..."
However, just before February half term a local authority officer wrote to us to say "I have now met with the colleges in my area and discovered that there are a number of caveats to this funding – so much so that the LA cannot offer this 14 – 16 provision at any college at this time due to the restrictions imposed on colleges accessing this funding." As a result of this and other feedback, we contacted FE colleges and asked whether they would be admitting 14-16s directly in September. Here are some of the answers, which were also sent to speakers and guests prior to the APPG event.
- When we take 14 year-olds now, we do it for local schools who keep the children on their roll and send them to us for, say, a day each week
- We are not planning to recruit full-time 14-16 learners until September 2014
- As a Vocational College, we have offered for some years formal qualifications to 14-16s sent from schools for around one day a week. Last year we set up a Studio School in partnership with a local school to cater for vocational training in this age group
- This is something that we are going to explore further. We have approx 70 full time year 11's with us who cannot find school places. Currently for a young person to be referred the referral needs to come through either an LA, School or parent who will pay/ be responsible for the young person
- I have spoken to the head of this department who will be dealing with 14-16 year olds, and he has assured me that we will be doing this starting in September 2013
- We are unlikely to have the resources to be able to offer this from September 2013
- The College is not planning to enrol any 14-16 year olds in September 2013 but will look at this in the future
- The College will not be taking on 14-16 year olds this September. We work very closely on collaborative courses. We have no plans to change what we already offer and certainly no plans to compete with our local schools
- The college is currently considering enrolling at 14 but as yet no firm decision has been made about whether to enrol direct at 14, and if so, when it might start
- At present the college works collaboratively with a number of local schools to provide education for 14-16 year olds. We are currently assessing the benefits of enrolling direct over our existing successful partnership model
- We concluded a few weeks ago that there was insufficient time to properly market our offer, or provide the appropriate level of information to local parents. The announcement itself was low-key and therefore not many people are aware of that potential choice at 14. We will therefore begin direct recruitment from September 2014 and begin the information and marketing campaigns this September
- The college will not be enrolling full time 14 to 16 year old students in September 2013. We have for a number of years successfully worked with local schools to offer pupils the opportunity of studying vocational qualifications and have students who spend two half days a week with us studying for BTecs. This pre -16 programme has enabled us to develop good relationships with schools and it is our intention to continue these courses in 2012/13 in preference to the full time enrolment of 14-16 year olds
All Party Group Home Education Meeting 27th November 2012: SEN and Disability
A meeting was held at Portcullis House, Westminster, on Tuesday 27th November 2012 to discuss Special Educational Needs and Disability with an opportunity to talk to Stephen Kingdom, Deputy Director SEN and Disability at DfE. The aim of the event was to raise awareness and to identify key issues with the new SEN legislation and funding which will impact on home educating families. Contributors identified positives and negatives in the Draft SEN Bill which was being scrutinised by the Education Committee and was set to be introduced to parliament in the New Year. The meeting also heard how families with SEN and disabled children find that services and support are immediately removed once a child starts to be home educated. There was an explanation from Ipsea of how the current statement system should work; section 3 of statement is for the authority to provide and LAs shouldn't evade their duty to make provision by saying that the child is out of school. Whilst welcoming the clarification concerning access to services, home educating parents at the meeting wanted to make it clear that some/many families preferred to find their own ways of meeting their child's needs without input from the council. Local authorities at the meeting asked DfE for a clear exposition from the Government of how the High Needs Block could be used for children in elective home education. It was pointed out that local authorities still have time to use Alternative Provision Funding For SEN Support (deadline January 2013). The general view was that Personal Budgets were not going to be an answer for many families. Click here to read the notes from the meeting.
Follow-up to the November SEN Meeting
Click here to read more about the SEN clauses in the final Children and Families Bill published February 2013 http://edyourself.org/articles/seninchildrenfamiliesbill.php Click here for updated Guidance and FAQ on Home Education Funding (especially for SEN) published by DfE February 2013 http://edyourself.org/articles/funding.php Read my memo to Bill Committee The Education Committee published its report on Support For Home Education on December 18th which included recommendations for greater support to children with SEN who are home educated. The Press Notice comments on "some worrying evidence that provisions were not being fully met as they would be for schooled children". Mr Stuart explained, "Local authorities have a duty to see that provisions in Statements are met regardless of whether or not the young person attends school. They should seek to support families in meeting their children's needs, not withdraw altogether. We urge the DfE to investigate these issues and to make the responsibilities of local authorities very clear in this and other areas concerning home education." Read more about the Education Committee Home Education Report here On December 19th the Committee published its Pre-legislative Scrutiny of the Draft SEN Bill which recommended "that the Department for Education examine with close attention the written evidence provided to our inquiry on issues not covered in our report and give careful consideration to the points raised by witnesses in drafting the Bill which is to be presented to Parliament." A Working Group set up after the APG meeting sent a memo to the Education Committee which can be read here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/631/631vw137.htm and also met with the SEN Division, Funding, and Legal team at DfE on the day the Committee Report was published to discuss the issues raised. On December 20th Graham Stuart MP held a live web chat where Tricia asked: "The Bill claims to make parents more central yet parents are hardly mentioned. In fact, if anything, the Bill erodes the position of parents. Will you be encouraging the DfE to remove any wording which appears to conflict with S.7 of the Education Act, after all it is the parents' responsibility to ensure their child's SEN are met, the LA should just be enabling them to do so, not being made responsible themselves?" Graham Stuart replied: "The Minister told us that nothing in the Bill will aim to reduce the centrality of parents in making decisions for their children. I am particularly concerned to ensure that, for instance, home educators don't find LAs using the legislation to seek to change the balance in relationships and will maintain a dialogue with the Government to try to head off inadvertent changes." "Clause 3 gives LAs the excuse they've been looking for to see all home educated children to check if they may have SEN. Is that really the intention, if not, how will you ensure LAs will be prevented from doing so. We know they'll be likely to ignore any clarification in guidance?" Graham Stuart replied "I'm determined to ensure that this doesn't happen. Obviously it is Ministers, not the Committee, who decide but I have already spoken to Ed Timpson and he agrees that nothing like this should be allowed to happen. Stay watchful, however, because, as you know, these things have a way of creeping in"
POSTSCRIPT TO NOVEMBER 2012 APPG In March 2013 a new website and online support group were set up as a place to find answers about home education and special needs. February 2013 DfE published http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/parents/involvement/homeeducation/a0073322/funding-for-home-education with information about High Needs Block Funding from 2013 and transitional arrangements for the Alternative Provision Census from Andrew Wye at DfE Funding Unit. See http://edyourself.org/articles/funding.php In March 2013 DfE said "the Department is writing to local authorities with an updated explanation of how funding works in relation to home educated pupils" DfE also saidit was "working with home education representatives to make sure that the statutory guidance in a new SEN Code of Practice, which will reflect the provisions of the new Bill, will promote appropriate support for children with SEN, whether they have EHC plans or not". Click here to read the latest news on forthcoming SEN legislation and developing the new SEN Code of Practice
Inviting MPs to APG Meetings
Chair Graham Stuart; Vice Chair Andrew Griffiths; Treasurer David Anderson; Secretary Tim Farron. The Home Education Advisory Service acts as secretariat for the All Party Group on Home Education. The APG secretariat sends invitations to all MPs before each event, but we know from experience that MPs are more likely to respond if a constituent asks them to attend. If you aren't sure who is your MP, you can find out by putting your postcode in the search box here http://www.writetothem.com/ This site can also be used to send an email to your MP. Please do telephone or email your MP's constituency office and ask your MP to attend the All Party Group meetings. Explain briefly why it is important to you. Click here to see which MPs are in each local authority area http://edyourself.org/articles/MPsLAs.php NB when emailing, be sure to include your full postal address so that your MP knows you are a constituent. If you are unsure what to say to your MP or you want to check whether your MP has already responded, please get in touch. If your MP has a prior engagement, you can try asking for a researcher or assistant from the MP's office to attend. See the drop-down list here for MPs arranged by political party/constituency/MP's name, including contact details for the MP's constituency office http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ Further details about the All Party Group for Home Education can be found here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/home-education.htm
Membership of All Party Groups must be open to all Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, and the group must include at least 20 Members (each of whom must be a Member of the House of Commons or House of Lords) comprising: at least 10 Members who are from the same political party as the government, and at least 10 who are not from the government party (of whom at least 6 must be from the main opposition party), and includes at least one officer (Secretary, Treasurer) who is a Member of the House of Commons. APGs are classified on the Register either as subject groups (relating to a particular topic eg. forestry) or country groups (relating to a particular country or region). Rules and procedures for All Party Parliamentary Groups can be found here http://www.parliament.uk/documents/pcfs/all-party-groups/guide-to-the-rules-on-apgs.pdf via this page http://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/
Home Education APG 2010-11http://edyourself.org/articles/APPGfeedback.php 2011 meeting
http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/All_Party_Parliamentary_Group_on_Home_Education 2010 meeting