Funding Home Education

Funding for Elective Home Education (England) (checked May 2016) has a link to DfE Funding Guidance Home Educated Children This guidance has not been updated since 2013 but nor has it been replaced.

Elective home education is not a statutory service and the local authority receives no funding either to pay for staff to deal with home education or to provide services and support for home educating families. This may lead LAs to withdraw staff from this area of work. However, the rules do permit (but not require) local authorities to use High Needs Funding for home educated children.

GOV.UK High Needs Funding Web Page

GOV.UK web page last updated September 2015

Under-16s College Funding

Colleges now claim directly from the Education Funding Agency for home educated students under 16 More

New SEN and Disability Code of Practice

The new SEND Code of Practice encourages LAs to support home educated children with SEN More

Where Local Authorities Budget For Home Education

A number of local authorities make a budget return for elective home education in SEN support or Other Alternative Provision More but this is primarily for staffing.

Local Authorities Exams Support

A minority of local authorities offer support for home educators taking exams More

Department for Education Funding Guidance Issued 2013


Overall principles
2. It remains the case that when parents choose to electively home educate their children they assume financial responsibility for their children’s education. However, the Department continues to recommend that local authorities should take a flexible approach to support for home educating parents where appropriate. Particular issues are addressed below.

Special educational needs
3. In the previous funding system up to 2012-13, the Dedicated Schools Grant was calculated by totalling the number of pupils on various annual census forms and multiplying them by a guaranteed unit of funding. Home educated pupils for whom the local authority was providing significant financial support in respect of special needs could be entered on the Alternative Provision Census.

4. In the new funding system from 2013-14, special educational needs funding, other than in mainstream schools, comes from the local authority’s high needs block within the Dedicated Schools Grant. The high needs block is not based on pupil numbers but on the historic spend on high needs of each local authority: the Alternative Provision Census is no longer used for funding purposes. So while home educated pupils supported by the authority can still be entered on the census, this no longer triggers additional funding. Local authorities’ responsibilities in respect of high needs extend to all pupils who are ordinarily resident in their area, including those who are home educated. Local authorities have flexibility to move money between the other blocks of DSG and the high needs block in order to meet high needs in their area.

5. As regards children with statements of SEN which name schools as the appropriate placement for a child but parents decide to educate such a child at home, it remains the local authority’s duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met through the provision made by the parents. The local authority can support parents financially in these circumstances under section 319 or section 19 of the Education Act 1996 (this would fall under either paragraph 18 or paragraph 20 of Schedule 2 to the School and Early Years Finance(England) Regulations 2012). In deciding how much support is needed, the local authority should be aware that, unlike schools, parents do not receive base funding from the public purse in support of SEN, and should not therefore be expected to pay £10,000 before they receive any support. Where children have statements of SEN that set out home education as the appropriate provision under section 319 of the Education Act 1996, the local authority has a statutory duty to arrange the special educational support set out on the statement.

6. Children with SEN but without statements may also be educated at home. In these circumstances local authorities should consider whether they require support from the public purse. This provision can also be made under section 319 or section 19 of the Education Act 1996.

Attendance at FE Colleges
7 With effect from September 2013 FE and sixth form colleges can admit pupils aged 14 or 15 and receive funding for them direct from the Education Funding Agency. This includes not only specific provision for groups of pupils but also individual admissions of pupils who would otherwise be home educated, and who may well be educated with young people aged 16-18. We would therefore not expect local authorities to be paying fees to the colleges for these pupils.

8. The Department recognises that some local authorities will have been paying fees to colleges in respect of home educated children in 2012-13 in the expectation that they would be able to reclaim a unit of DSG in 2013-14, which will no longer happen under the new funding system. The Department will reimburse authorities for this expenditure as an addition to DSG. We are consulting a number of authorities about the simplest way of doing this and will shortly set out a procedure.

Other kinds of support
9 Some local authorities may be providing other kinds of financial support for home educators such as examination fees. These smaller elements of support were never associated with additions to DSG. Local authorities can continue to provide this kind of support under section 19 of the Education Act 1996.

Department for Education Funding FAQ Issued 2013


Q1 On October 4th [2012], Lisa Thom from the Independent Schools Partnerships and Strategy Team at the DfE wrote saying "As regards SEN, local authorities will have an identified High Needs Block within their DSG to enable them to fund children and young people with special educational needs or who require alternative provision to that in schools. We will be emphasising that this block is provided for all residents of the LA, and should be used where appropriate to assist home educated children." Could you outline the steps which the DfE is taking in this respect?
A1 The DfE is sending a revised note to local authorities covering this and other issues concerning home educated children, and placing it on the Department’s website.

Q2 I understand that the total amount of funding for 2013 has been determined by reference to the spending figures supplied in Autumn 2012. An issue arises where a local authority has not previously been paying for SEN support where children are home educated. If the LA were to start using the High Needs Block to pay for SEN support for home educated children in 2013, this would mean taking money from children who had been included in the calculations in order to spend it on children who had not been included. Is there any mechanism for in-year adjustment and if not, how would this expenditure be included for subsequent years?
A2 The High Needs Block in 2013-14 is not based at all on pupil numbers but rather on what each local authority returned as its planned spending on high needs in 2012- 13. The various blocks with DSG are not ring-fenced. Each local authority needs to plan what it intends to spend on high needs in 2013-14, including the effect of any changes in numbers of high needs children and any changes in policy such as extending services to home educated children, and then set its high needs budget accordingly from within the total DSG resource that it has received from the Government.

Q3 Can a local authority add an amount for the number of home educated children with a statement of SEN to the amount claimed for SEN support outside school within the High Needs Block?
A3 As explained under Q2, there is no longer any system of “claiming” for children, or for anything else, in respect of the High Needs Block.

Q4 Will the Department consider giving guidance to local authorities on how to include support for home education in their section 251 return?
A4 Yes. We do not have a separate line for support for home education but are including in the guidance for the relevant lines that they can include support for home education.

Q5 Is assistance to home educated children an allowable item of expenditure in the section 251 return?
A5 Yes. It might fall under other Alternative Provision, or it might fall under SEN support services. As indicated under Q4, we have informed local authorities of where on the form to include planned spending on home educated children.

Q6 In December 2012, the Education Committee urged local authorities to comply with statutory guidance and ensure that home-educated young people with SEN or medical conditions are not being discriminated against. Has the Department considered adding any questions to the Funding FAQ to deal with this, or will it be up to home educators and other interested parties to send in questions as appropriate?
A6 The Department will cover this issue in responding to the Education Select Committee.

Q7 Do the Schools Finance Regulations published in December 2012 address the question of assistance to home educated children with SEN?
A7 The regulations provide maximum flexibility for local authorities to make use of the High Needs Block, in Part 4 of Schedule 2 to the Regulations. Specifically, paragraph 18 of this Schedule allows local authorities to fund support services for pupils with special educational needs, regardless of where they are being educated and regardless of whether they have a statement.

Q8 Where a local authority does decide to make use of the High Needs Block Funding to pay for SEN support to assist a home educated child with SEN, are there minimum and maximum amounts which can be spent on behalf of an individual child?
A8 No, the local authority has total flexibility in this matter.

Q9 Where a child with SEN is a registered pupil at school, the local authority is only required to top up the funding from the High Needs Block where the required spend is over the £10K already received for the child. However, where a child is home educated, none of the £10K is received. To take the example of a home educated child whose support needs as per the statement of SEN amount to £8K. How much of this support a/would be paid out of the High Needs Block and b/would it be discretionary as to whether or not the authority paid for this support at all? Would the answer differ depending on the amount of SEN support required by the statement of SEN?
A9 It is only in mainstream provision that funding below £10k comes from the schools block. In special schools and special units it comes from the High Needs Blockalong with the top-up funding. Where a specialist provider does not form part of the new place plus funding system – as is the case in 2013-14 for independent schools and independent Alternative Provision providers – the local authority will provide all the funding from the High Needs Block. The same would apply for home education. Where children have SEN statements that set out home education as the appropriate provision under the provisions of section 319 of the Education Act 1996, local authorities have a statutory duty to arrange the special educational support that is set out on the statement. Where the statement names a type of school as the appropriate placement for the child but the parents have decided to home educate, local authorities do not have to arrange the special educational provision set out on the statement provided that the provision the parents are making meets the child’s needs. In these circumstances, local authorities may provide support to help parents make provision that meets the child’s needs.

Q10 Could local authorities count the number of home educated children with a statement of SEN and express this as an additional percentage of funding required for SEN support?
A10 As indicated in answers to Q2 and Q3, the High Needs Block is no longer based on pupil numbers of any kind.

Q11 If local authorities wished to use the High Needs Block on SEN support for home educated children, would these children need to have a statement of SEN before the High Needs Block Funding could be used?
A11 No. As indicated in answer to Q7, services can be provided for children with or without statements of SEN.

Q12 Could the High Needs Block Funding be used for low level SEN support such as exam access arrangements for home educated children?
A12 Yes. This could count as provision otherwise than at school under section 19 of the Education Act 1996.

Q13 If the local offer is school-based, how would home educated children access this offer? Would access to schools services be a matter for the individual school to decide?
A13 The local offer is intended to set out the full range of services normally available for children with SEN in the local area (including services located outside the area but available for children within it), not just those available in schools. It will be for local authorities with their partners to agree the content of the local offer, though regulations will set out what services the offer should include and how parents, children and young people should be involved in the development of the offer. We will be developing more detailed content for the local offer in the light of experience with the pathfinders.

Q14 Is the local offer for registered pupils or for all children in the area including children who are not registered as pupils at any school, college, Early Years or alternative provider?
A14For all children in the area.

Q15 Should the High Needs Block be used to fund non-delegated centrally retained specialist SEN support services such as services for visual, hearing and physical impairment, specific learning difficulties, speech, language and communication, profound and severe learning difficulties, and autism for home educated children?
A15 The High Needs Block can be used for this purpose under paragraph 18 of Schedule 2 to the regulations. Decisions on how to run such services are for the local authority to take.

Q16 Where a local authority opts not to use the High Needs Block funding for SEN support services to home educated children, are there any alternative funding streams which can or should be used instead?
A16 Funding outside the DSG is not ring-fenced and can therefore be used for any service that the local authority wishes to provide.

Q17 How will home education services and SEN support be considered in any new formula for calculating the High Needs Block in future?
A17 We would expect that any new formula for high needs, like the previous formula that ceased to operate after 2005-06, would be based on the local authority’s responsibility towards all young people living in its area, rather than on counting numbers in schools as we would for the schools block.

Q18 Can the notional high needs block be used to provide additional funding to SEN support for home educated children where this is not adequately reflected in the local formula? In such cases, how should the LA ensure that sufficient funding is available?
A18 The local formula applies to the funding of schools and is therefore not relevant to providing support for home educated children.

Q19 For school pupils, the Operational Guidance directs that low cost high incidence SEN is determined by reference to prior attainment. For home educated children there will be no equivalent records. Should a proxy measure be used, such as applying the school pupil data to the cohort not on a school roll? What is proposed for calculating the funding for low cost high incidence SEN amongst home educated children in the future?
A19Since the High Needs Block is not based on pupil numbers, the factors such as prior attainment that apply to the schools block do not apply to it and there is no need for such a calculation as envisaged in this question. It is for local authorities to decide case by case on what funding they will make available to support home educated children.

The Education Committee published its report on Support For Home Education in December 2012. Read more here


Home Education Funding Claims by Local Authorities 2012-13 ARCHIVE

Bar Chart All Councils Claiming Funding

The bar chart on the left shows percentages of local authorities in England who will be claiming Alternative Provision funding on behalf of home educated children in the academic year 2012-13

The 3 broad categories are:

  • YES will be claiming funding
  • NO won't be claiming funding
  • NDY Not Yet Decided (which includes those who may claim or who are looking into it)

Overall, 31 out of 150 authorities in England (21%) have told me that they will be using the funding for the academic year 2012-13. Nearly twice as many authorities (41%) have not yet made a decision, and 30 authorities have told me that they won't be using the funding for home educated children. Of the remainder, 6% will decide on a case by case basis and a further 7% are looking into claiming.


Where a local authority is already paying for SEN support or FE courses by mid January 2013 (ie for the academic year 2012-13), an entry can be made on the annual Alternative Provision Census. The Government refers to education at home by parents as "elective home education", abbreviated to EHE. In principle there is no funding for elective home education. Individual families do not receive any of the money which is otherwise paid to schools for each registered pupil. Parents bear full financial responsibility when their children are outside the state school system. Local authorities receive no funding for home education services. However, since 2009 the Government has pointed out that funding IS available for elective home education in certain circumstances namely FE Courses and SEN Support.

March 9th 2011: SEN Green Paper says LAs should help home educating families with SEN children

"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 2.54 of the SEN Green Paper

Related Reading on Home Education Funding (Historical)

No 10% Schools Grant for Exams Funding

DfE December 2010 "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 December 2010 available via archived site here

February 2010 DCSF statement on the cost of registration and monitoring home education

(Home education costs are outlined on page 90)

It should be noted that the registration and monitoring arrangements proposed in the Children Schools and Families Bill did not ultimately pass into law, saving tens of millions of pounds a year on inspectors' fees, travel costs and associated paperwork.

Costs One-off costs
FIRST YEAR maximum 20,000 40,000 80,000
costs of Option C,
Registration and Monitoring
Total maximum costs in
FIRST YEAR £26,353,000 £53,059,000 £106,019,000
Ongoing annual costs
Ongoing maximum costs of 20,000 40,000 80,000
Option C, Registration and Monitoring
Total maximum ongoing
costs £14,653,000 £29,986,000 £60,652,000

This IA does not include the estimated costs of the support package in the overall costs because we don’t currently have enough evidence to assess the true number of home educators that may access the support or about the levels of support each individual family will require."

Impact Assessment on Children Schools and Families Bill February 2010

Link Reference

This article is The following links to other websites are contained in the article, displayed as citations to aid you in printing the document.

  1. More
  2. More
  3. More
  4. More
  5. Link
  6. here
  8. SEN Green Paper
  9. DfE December 2010
  10. here
  11. Impact Assessment on Children Schools and Families Bill February 2010
  12. Minister Diana Johnson statement on DSG House of Commons November 2009
  13. Money for Badman Recommendations?