Ed Yourself – January 2012

With great thanks to Fiona Nicholson for news from the Home Education world.

Ongoing:Local Authority Support with Finding Exam Centre

exam hall

85% of local authorities have now sent information about home educated children taking exams.

Click here for an overview of what local authorities are doinghttp://edyourself.org/articles/examcentresurvey2011.php#overview

State schools do not generally accept young people to sit exams who are not registered pupils at the school and an increasing number of secondaries are converting to Academies. Controlled assessments make GCSEs virtually impossible for external candidates. A few Councils help home educators to think about alternatives such as IGCSEs.

Councils may signpost home educating families to information for private candidates held by exam boards such as AQA and Edexcel.

Only 1 in 5 Councils currently support and encourage local schools/PRUs/FE Colleges to accept private candidates. A minority of LAs keep an up-to-date list of local centres which will let home educators sit exams. A third of Councils give support on a one to one basis at the request of individual families.

A few Councils hold regular meetings with the local home education community and work in partnership to improve access to services and a good example of this can be seen in the case studies below. Some LAs are now using Alternative Provision Funding to pay for FE courses and SEN support. Several Councils offers taught courses (in Maths/English/ICT) leading to GCSE qualifications taken by home educated young people at a local centre.

You can read all the responses here http://edyourself.org/articles/examcentresurvey2011.php#responses

Useful Links on Exams

Click here for useful links on exams http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php#links including AQA, Edexcel and OCR Guidance to Private Candidates (+ list of centres used by private candidates, regulator’s directions on controlled assessments, past papers and mark schemes); and home educators’ peer support network.

The introductory web page about home education and exams can be found here http://edyourself..org/articles/exams.php

6 Case Studies: Home Educators Talk About Taking Exams

Some home educators start taking exams early (eg around age 12) and it is quite common to take just 1 or 2 exams at a time. Increasingly home educators opt for IGCSEs because of the problem of controlled assessment for GCSEs. Many children take the exam in a single year rather than spread over two years.

One mum tried 189 schools before finding somewhere to sit exams. Another parent says “We’ve never had a very good relationship with the LEA because we felt they were only ever checking up on us, not that they were interested in helping.” Read more case studies herehttp://edyourself..org/articles/examshomeedexp.php#whathomeedsay

Upcoming:Survey of Number of Home Educated Children

LA Map

At the end of 2011 I sent a Freedom of Information request to all local authorities in England asking for the numbers of home educated children recorded in 2010 and in 2011. I will be sending out an email update in February with the full results.

The first 14 responses indicate that in total the number is up 10% since 2009, though the picture is extremely mixed and most LAs are reporting fewer home educated children.

 Received wisdom says home education numbers are rising all the time but my hunch – based on statistics from 60 local authorities between 2005 and 2009 shown on graphs here http://edyourself.org/articles/lalinegraph.php– is that while some LAs have seen a continuing increase year on year, overall the rising trend may have peaked around 2007.

Click on the map to see relative numbers of home educated children in different LAs throughout the country.

Reminder Imminent Deadline:Thursday January 19th Alternative Provision Census Date

The 2011 survey revealed that only 34 out of 143 local authorities in England used Alternative Provision Funding for home education. At a meeting in the House of Commons in September 2011, local authorities told DfE that the rules needed to be much clearer. (You can read a report of the meeting here http://edyourself.org/articles/APPGfeedback.php.) These issues were addressed in revised Guidance and FAQ.

The 2012 deadline for claiming is Thursday January 19th. Where a local authority opts to make a significant financial contribution to further education courses or SEN support on behalf of a home educated child, then the child’s details can be entered on the Census and a unit of funding can be claimed. Please get in touch as soon as possible if you have any questions and I will do my best to help.

There is no minimum age for the student (ie this is not simply for Y10s and Y11s.) The course can be online or in a neighbouring borough, or via another alternative provider in the area. AP funding can also be used for a package of costs incurred in supporting a home educated young person to take examinations, as long as the total cost amounts to substantial financial support. Where a young person has special needs and the LA is making a significant financial contribution, this money can be reclaimed. It is not necessary for the child to have a statement of SEN.

See latest Government Guidance http://edyourself.org/articles/APguidance2011-12.php and FAQ http://edyourself.org/articles/AltprovFAQ.php
http://edyourself.org/report.pdf (pdf to download) and http://edyourself.org/articles/FundingReport.php (web page)

This update goes out to everyone who has participated in surveys on home education issues over the past year. It is also sent to home educators and local authority representatives who have asked to be put on the mailing list. The next update will be in February and will include the latest information about numbers of home educated children recorded by local authorities in 2010 and 2011.

Kind regards 

Fiona Nicholson
Home Education Consultant – http://edyourself.org

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