Ed Yourself News – September 2011

Using Alternative Provision Funding for Home Educated Children

The survey on home education funding published in May 2011 found that while a quarter of local authorities used Alternative Provision funding for college places or SEN support where children were home educated, a substantial number of LAs interpreted the badly-drafted Government Guidance as saying that they were not allowed to claim for children in elective home education.

Alternative Provision Funding for College Places 14-16s

I am very pleased to report that the Department for Education has provided answers to several questions which were raised by the Funding Report. Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb said recently in parliament:”The guidance for the alternative provision census is currently being reviewed. We will clarify the section on home education to make it clear that local authorities can include home-educated children where the authority is paying for their education in a further education college or elsewhere, and so receive funding for these children through the dedicated schools grant.”

Alternative Provision Funding for SEN Support

In addition, the Department for Education has recently answered some questions about paying for SEN support when children are home educated as follows: “Local authorities have the discretion to provide support for home educated children with SEN (whilst the child is of statutory school age). It is for the local authority to decide what provision it wishes to offer, and I can confirm that this can include such things as paying for additional learning support for the child, or the fees to enable a young person to attend college. They can exercise this discretion for any child with SEN, whether or not the child has a statement. Where the local authority is satisfied that the support being provided contributes to the overall education of the child and provides value for money, they can record the child on the Alternative Provision Census. By recording the child on the Census, the local authority is claiming a unit of funding from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). This is a standard amount of funding for the local authority based on each child entered on the Census, rather than being a claim on the actual cost of the support being provided for an individual child.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb to attend Meeting about Home Education Support, House of Commons September 6th

The Minister will be attending an Open Meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education on Tuesday September 6th which will focus on local authority support for home education and access to exams and further education. There will be an opportunity to hear the latest thoughts from the Department. At the event, I will give a brief introduction to local authority support and will outline the challenges faced by home educators taking exams outside the school system. Nick Duggan, Commissioning Director at Sheffield Council, will also give a short presentation on the Sheffield pilot launching this month which makes use of Alternative Provision Funding for home educated under 16s to attend college. Invitations have been sent to all MPs. A limited number of places are also available to the public and those outside parliament wishing to attend the meeting will need to confirm in advance with Roxanne at Graham Stuart’s Westminster office.

News Items of Interest to Home Education Professionals

The last update was sent out in June and featured the SEN Green Paper and the Flexischooling Conference hosted by CfBT. I also flagged up a couple of news items from local authorities including Surrey County Council’s current consultation on its new draft home education policy and Sheffield City Council’s pilot for improving home educated 14-16s access to Further Education.

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