July 2018

A growing number of parents and carers are home educating their children, and there are a variety of reasons for doing so. However, there is evidence to suggest that a significant proportion of parents are home educating due to pressure to take their child out of school, from the school or the local authority, often because the child’s special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are not being adequately supported.

IPSEA has responded to the Department for Education’s call for evidence into home education. We have highlighted the recurring problems we see in our casework:

  • too many children and young people with SEND are excluded unlawfully
  • children being coerced into leaving their current school, either to move to another school or to be educated at home, under threat of permanent exclusion which results in some parents deregistering children
  • parents deregistering children from school, on the school’s advice, to prevent prosecution for non-attendance in situations where the school is not meeting the child’s needs and/or where the child is being subjected to repeated exclusion from school.

Our response calls for amendments to be made to the government’s draft guidance issued by the Department for Education for local authorities and separate guidance for parents. In our view, it is in places inaccurate and misleading. The guidance for parents should make clear that all children with SEND are entitled to suitable education which meets their needs, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice. Schools should support pupils with SEND, and parents should be informed that they are entitled to request an EHC needs assessment where their child’s needs are not being met. For pupils with an EHC plan, parents should be informed that they could ask the local authority to consider an early review of the EHC plan, with a view to seeking amendments to the plan or identifying an alternative school placement.

IPSEA’s full response is available here.