On Wednesday, the LGSCO, Michael King, reminded LAs of how their duty to secure suitable, full-time alternative education under s.19 Education Act 1996 works. This duty can arise in circumstances other than exclusion or illness.

IPSEA’s volunteers regularly advise and support parents and carers whose school aged children are unable to access education because of anxiety or similar difficulties – very often associated with the child’s SEN.  It can be increasingly difficult for parents and carers to find GPs who feel able to provide evidence of medical reasons for absence (certainly without a charge) or to access CAMHS support where thresholds for referrals are high.

Case law has established that LAs need to consider whether there is evidence that it’s not reasonably practicable for a child to attend school.  This is because s.19 Education Act 1996 refers to children who are unable to attend because of illness, exclusion or otherwise.

Parents and carers should also consider whether the SEN Support or the provision made under an EHC plan is adequate to meet the child’s SEN.  IPSEA can provide advice about EHC needs assessments and changing an EHC plan as well as advice about supporting children with SEN who are unable to attend school.

IPSEA December 2018