Taking Child Out Of Special School

Parents wishing to remove their child from a special school for elective home education should be aware that the school is not able to take the child’s name off the roll automatically.

The law is set out in the Pupil Registration Regulations (England) 2006 as amended which says at Regulation 8. (2) “the name of a child who has under arrangements made by a local education authority become a registered pupil at a special school shall not be removed from the admission register of that school without the consent of that authority, or if that authority refuse to give consent, without a direction of the Secretary of State.”

This is not the same as needing approval to home educate from the school or from the local authority. Parents do not have to prove that home education is better than school or that school has failed (as would normally be required if they were requesting a different school) because home is just where the child lives, it is not a placement, and funding is not going to be transferred to a different placement. There is no funding for home education because parents are treated as having opted out. Read my page about home educating with an EHCP here.

Once parents have made a decision to home educate they should send a letter to the school. Since the consent of the local authority is required before the child’s name can be removed from roll, parents can also write to the LA enclosing a copy of the school letter. The letter should make it clear that parents have made a firm decision to proceed with home education once the necessary steps have been completed. Read more here about the difference between considering home education and deciding to home educate.

The local authority may say that the EHCP has to be reviewed in order to remove the name of the school and parents may be asked for information about how home education will meet the child’s special needs.

The law also allows for amendment without a review; see Regulation 28 of the SEN Regulations 2014 which is headed “Amending an EHC plan without a review or reassessment” and says “If, at any time, a local authority proposes to amend an EHC plan, it shall proceed as if the proposed amendment were an amendment proposed after a review” ie parents must be notified of their right to appeal to tribunal.

It can be helpful to go through Sections B and E of the EHCP and set out how education at home will cater for the child’s special needs in Section B eg for a certain type of environment, for 1 to 1 support etc,  and how the provision at home will support the Outcomes and aspirations in Section E. 

Parents cannot be required to make the provision set out in Section F since home is not a setting and parents are not “providers.” Home education may look quite different from education at school; what matters is that the education is suitable to the child’s age,ability, aptitude and any special educational needs. Read more here

If the local authority stipulates that the EHCP must be reviewed, then this should be arranged without delay. It may be that school convenes the review meeting because the child will still be on roll. Parents must be invited to any review meeting and can also provide information in writing about Section B and Section E as above. My page about annual reviews is here.

If parents focus too much on problems or failings at school as a reason why they are forced to home educate, then this can be seen as home educating for a negative reason and that parents are unwilling and possibly less likely to be successful. Parents don’t have to prove that the placement has broken down; they simply need to show how home education will be suitable.

Notes from the review meeting must be passed to the local authority within 2 weeks of the meeting and within 4 weeks of the meeting the local authority must confirm whether it intends to amend the EHCP to remove the school’s name. If the decision is to amend the Plan then this must be done within 8 weeks. Read more about timescales here

There are several points to bear in mind during this limbo period while the child is still on roll. Firstly the normal systems for reporting absence may still apply and secondly the parent is not responsible for providing the child’s education while they are still on roll and ultimately the duty to secure the provision falls to the local authority. Read my page on EOTAS and alternative provision here.

If the child is to be electively home educated, then there is no funding and when the Plan is amended it should still say type of school = special school in Section I but just not have the name of a school.

Parents wishing to secure funding for home tuition or an EOTAS package or personal budget will have to follow a completely different route and the local authority will have to agree (or be directed by tribunal) that school is not possible. This is rare. Read more here.

There are local and national support groups for home educating parents of children with special needs and these are mostly on Facebook.